What’s on TV Tuesday: ‘The Catcher Was a Spy’ and ‘Foster’
A biopic about an athlete who became a secret agent is on Showtime. And a documentary on the child welfare system debuts on HBO.
What’s on TV
THE CATCHER WAS A SPY (2018) 8:15 p.m. on Showtime. This espionage thriller, based on Nicholas Dawidoff’s biography of the same name, tells the true story of Moe Berg, a Jewish professional baseball player who became a spy for the United States during World War II. (How? He spoke several languages, was incredibly smart and knew how to keep a secret.) He’s ordered to fly to Nazi Germany and find out whether the physicist Werner Heisenberg is developing a fission bomb; if so, Berg (played by Paul Rudd) must kill him. The story is fascinating, and Rudd is joined by an all-star cast that includes Paul Giamatti and Mark Strong. The film failed to impress critics: Some found it surprisingly dull while others said Berg comes off as one-dimensional, leaving much to be explored.
FOSTER (2019) 8 p.m. on HBO; stream on HBO platforms. This sobering documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the shortcomings of the foster care system. The Oscar-winning filmmakers Deborah Oppenheimer and Mark Jonathan Harris weave the stories of a handful of workers, parents and children who navigate the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. We learn that the child welfare system lacks resources, leaving many in need of help. But there is a sign of hope: One foster mother interviewed here has helped more than 100 children.
TEXICANAS 10 p.m. on Bravo. Six Mexican women in San Antonio invite cameras into their lives in this new reality series. (At the center of the pack is Penny, a chatty mother and co-owner of a real estate company.) Each has her own personality, but all of them share the struggle of holding onto their roots and traditions in Texas.
TRUMP’S TRADE WAR (2019) 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Journalists from Frontline and NPR team up in this new investigative documentary, an inside look at the trade war between the United States and China.
DAZED AND CONFUSED (1993) Stream on Hulu; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu or YouTube. The coming teenage comedy “Booksmart” — about two friends who try to pack four years of fun into one night before high school graduation — calls to mind this classic by Richard Linklater. It follows a group of junior high and high school students in Texas on the last day of school in 1976. There’s the football star (Jason London) who isn’t sure he can give up drugs and booze for sports; the freshman (Wiley Wiggins) who evades a hazing campaign and winds up hanging with the seniors; and the 20-something slacker (Matthew McConaughey) who still hangs around high school students to meet younger girls. The story could be summed up as a journey to get Aerosmith tickets, or a melancholy take on the fear of growing up.