What’s on TV
2020 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES DEBATE 9 p.m. on MSNBC, NBC and Telemundo. Maybe they’ll blow off steam with a game of baseball afterward. After all, each night of the first presidential debates of the 2020 Democratic primary race carry nine candidates, enough to fill a team. The highest-polling candidate appearing Wednesday, the first night, is Senator Elizabeth Warren. Her opponents in the debate, held in Miami, will include Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey; former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas; and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York. The second debate will air Thursday, also at 9 p.m., on the same networks. It has perhaps the more starry showdown, with a pool that includes former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. Three female candidates will appear each night, more than have ever before been on the debate stage at once (the third on Wednesday is Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii).
TRUE JUSTICE: BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY (2019) 8 p.m. on HBO. The human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson is known for representing death-row inmates, and for his recent work in bringing both a national monument to victims of lynching and an accompanying museum of slavery and mass incarceration to Montgomery, Ala. Stevenson’s work to eliminate racial discrimination from the criminal justice system is the subject of this documentary, which profiles him and his career. “When you look at the 13th Amendment, which talks about ending forced labor, it says nothing about ending this narrative of racial differences,” Stevenson said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine this year. “Slavery didn’t end in 1865; it just evolved.”
HAMLET Rent on Globe Player. Michelle Terry plays Hamlet in this production of the great tragedy, which ran at Shakespeare’s Globe in London last year and makes the dramatic pursuit of power you’ll see at the presidential debates this week look cordial. You couldn’t ask for a more qualified candidate to play the avenging Danish prince than Terry, a veteran Shakespearean actress and the current artistic director of the Globe. “It’s difficult to imagine a sparkier, more deeply felt Hamlet than she is here,” Matt Wolf wrote in The Times, “her withdrawn, black-clad presence at the start giving way to a jaunty, clownish demeanor that never for a second loses sight of the grieving character’s ‘noble heart.’” “Ophelia,” a riff on Shakespeare with Daisy Ridley that hits movie theaters on Friday, makes this an especially good time for a refresher.
BEATS (2019) Stream on Netflix. A talented teenage producer (Khalil Everage) makes music with a high school security guard played by the “black-ish” star Anthony Anderson in this drama set on Chicago’s South Side. It’s a coming-of-age story with wisdom.