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TV Notes

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Happy to Be Nappy and Other Stories of Me (February 24; 7:30 to 8 p.m.; HBO) animates children’s stories about celebrating difference and overcoming adversity and exclusion, by the likes of bell hooks, Peter Sis, Amanda Harvey, and Langston Hughes, with voice-overs by the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mary J. Blige, Harvey Fierstein, and Melanie Griffith.

Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew (February 24; 10 to 11 p.m.; Channel 13) tells the hard-luck story of the jazz singer whose hormonal condition, Kallmann’s Syndrome, caused his body and voice to stop changing at age 12; whose name was mysteriously omitted from best-selling Lionel Hampton and Charlie Parker records; and who was reduced to twenty years of dishwashing and hotel clerkdom until his rediscovery in the 1980s.

Beah: A Black Woman Speaks (February 25; 7:30 to 9 p.m.; HBO) listens in as Beah Richards talks to LisaGay Hamilton about growing up in Mississippi, fighting for civil rights alongside W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, the Communist Party, the FBI, James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner, and her Oscar nomination for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

The Mystery of Natalie Wood (March 1; 8 to 11 p.m.; ABC), a docudrama with real-life talking heads plopped down in it like chocolate chips, may not tell us anything we didn’t already know from Gavin Lambert, but Justine Waddell, Michael Weatherly, and Matthew Settle haven’t embarrassed themselves as Natalie, Robert Wagner, and Warren Beatty, while Alice Krige as the Russian stage mother would scare a politburo. Still, it all adds up to one big Gypsy Water Curse.

The Kennedy Mystique: Creating Camelot (March 1; 9 to 10 p.m.; National Geographic Channel) argues that J.F.K. exploited his own telegenic charm to turn the White House press corps into courtly agitpropagandists, selling the country on the New Frontier as the princely embodiment of youth, dynamism, elegance, and “vigor”—never mind his bad back and wanton womanizing. Once and future sycophants like Hugh Sidey make it clear that they liked Jack because Jack liked them.


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