What’s on TV Thursday: ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Circus of Books’

What’s on TV Thursday: ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Circus of Books’


A PARKS AND RECREATION SPECIAL 8:30 p.m. on NBC. What does “Parks and Recreation” look like with social distancing in place? Can Amy Poehler and the rest of the cast recreate the show’s distinctive energy remotely? And what’s the status of Nick Offerman’s ever-changing facial hair? Get answers to these questions and more in this half-hour special, a benefit to raise money for the national food-bank network Feeding America. In addition to Poehler and Offerman, the program is set to include appearances from Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Retta, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe and Jim O’Heir.

WE’RE HERE 9 p.m. on HBO. In last week’s debut episode of this new reality show, the hosts — Shangela Laquifa Wadley, Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka O’Hara, all of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fame — helped locals in Gettysburg, Pa., put on a drag show. It involved lipstick, glitter and “I Will Survive.” This week, they’ll do the same in Twin Falls, Idaho. Expect more glitter and lipstick (no guarantee of more “I Will Survive,” though).

LONDON HAS FALLEN (2016) 10 p.m. on TNT. In a trailer for this thriller, the vice president of the United States (played by Morgan Freeman) delivers a televised warning to the bad guys threatening democracy. “Make no mistake,” he says. “We will find you, and we will destroy you.” If you hear in those words an echo of the Liam Neeson line “I will find you, and I will kill you” from “Taken” — well, maybe be generous. Consider labeling it a homage, instead of an imitation. Indeed, the very setup of “London Has Fallen,” a sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen” (2013), borrows heavily from its own predecessor: Just like the first film, the sequel casts Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent charged with protecting the American president (Aaron Eckhart), who gets captured by terrorists. “Will this hard-luck president again defy death while his stoic sidekick vanquishes the nasty, uncivilized terrorists?” Neil Genzlinger asked in his review for The Times. “It’s hard to care when a movie is this formulaic and moronic.”

CIRCUS OF BOOKS (2020) Stream on Netflix. Family secrets and gay pornography commingle in “Circus of Books,” a documentary that charts the history of a porn shop and sex-toy store that operated for decades in West Hollywood. The store was run by a couple, Karen and Barry Mason, who kept their work a secret from their family and others. For a while, at least: The couple’s daughter, Rachel Mason, directs this documentary. Mason places her parents’ voices alongside interviews with the store’s employees and customers. Those members of the community “reflect on a bygone era with wit and warmth, and the film supports their memories with golden-lit archival footage of the neighborhood in the 1980s,” Teo Bugbee wrote in her review for The Times. “It also grounds the store in its political history,” she added, “including the devastation of the AIDS crisis.”


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