Saturday, September 18, 2021
Sept. 18, 2021

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Tips for what to watch (and avoid) on TV this weekend

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‘American Rust’: Jeff Daniels has built a solid career as a movie actor. But it wasn’t until he focused on TV that he became one of our most compelling leading men. His latest series isn’t as strong as “The Newsroom.” It seems more interested in trashing rural Pennsylvania than the murder-mystery. But Daniels is terrific as a small-town police chief willing to bend the law to protect the main suspect, the son of the woman he loves. 10 p.m. ET tonight, Showtime

‘Come From Away’: This taped version of the show that returns to Broadway later this month is a decent record of the musical about how folks in Gander, Newfoundland, welcomed people whose flights were diverted by the Sept. 11 attacks. It has the usual issues, starting with close-ups that do no favors to actors who are playing to the back of a theater rather than the thing in front of their faces. Still, the songs are rousing and the actors (led by Joel Hatch) are terrific. Apple TV+

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: A good rule of thumb for this movie is to watch it anytime you have a chance. You’ll have lots of them this month as it shifts to streaming services. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are ferocious warriors, struggling to survive in an apocalyptic future. But the real star is writer/director George Miller, who has created one astonishing action set piece after another. HBO Max

‘Scenes From a Marriage’: You may have never seen Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 miniseries of the same name, but it’s influenced a host of movies from “Before Midnight” to “Marriage Story.” This faithful adaptation is full of long takes and wordy conversations. It would induce catnaps if it weren’t for the top-notch cast led by Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, playing a couple trying to survive past their 10th anniversary. It’s fascinating to see what high-powered stars can do with such a simple premise. 9 p.m. tonight, HBO

‘Desert One’: Walter Mondale calls the botched attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages the “worst moment” of the Jimmy Carter administration. The late vice president is among the key players interviewed in Barbara Kopple’s revealing documentary about how the American government got into the mess — and how they struggled to get out of it. 8 p.m. tonight, History Channel

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