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What’s on TV Thursday: ‘The Good Fight’ and ‘Shoplifters’

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

“The Good Fight” returns on CBS All Access. And Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” hits Hulu.

THE GOOD FIGHT on CBS All Access. If you’re looking for escapist fantasy, look elsewhere. But if you want an uncommonly topical legal drama with a great title sequence, look here. The previous season of this spinoff of “The Good Wife” went all in with its fictional portrayal of America under President Trump, incorporating into its plot talk of a relationship between the president and a porn star and whispers of Democrat-led impeachment proceedings. The show follows Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), a high-powered, white Chicago lawyer at a chiefly African-American firm. The second season ended with a birth. The new season introduces a corrupt, fact-averse lawyer played by Michael Sheen.

SHOPLIFTERS (2018) Stream on Hulu; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. “I don’t portray people or make movies where viewers can easily find hope,” the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda told The New York Times. That audacious hopelessness is on full display in this, his most recent feature, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. The story revolves around a family of shoplifters who take in a girl (Miyu Sasaki), saving her from abusive parents. It is the first of many morally complex scenes this movie delivers. Our questioning of the family’s morals increases as we get a fuller picture: Midway through the film, the plot “no longer seems to hold much mystery,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The Times. “But it’s at this point where other mysteries take over and where ‘Shoplifters’ deepens, opening up a story about a family with a declaration of moral principles and lifting what had been a good movie into greatness.”

WILL SMITH’S BUCKET LIST Stream on Facebook Watch. It’s easy to see why Will Smith signed on to do this web series: The premise is to follow the actor as he goes on brief, somewhat frightening but extremely fun-looking excursions, crossing items off his bucket list. The first two episodes have followed Smith skydiving and sea diving. The latest one has him doing stand-up comedy, which Smith describes as “the hardest thing in entertainment.” Luckily, he has a good coach in Dave Chappelle, who appears here and advises Smith that, in comedy, “confidence is key.” Chappelle introduces the nervous-looking but staggeringly famous Smith to an audience near the end of the episode with the line, “Make some noise for what’s-his-face.”

SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999) 9 p.m. on Syfy. Snakes slithering through a rib cage capture the tone of this Tim Burton film that adapts the Washington Irving story. Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, Irving’s pencil-thin schoolteacher who is here reimagined as a late-18th-century New York City policeman sent to investigate a string of murders upstate. In her review for The Times, Janet Maslin called the film “enthusiastically bleak.”

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