Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, Aug. 16-22. Details and times are subject to change.
BEN & JERRY’S: CLASH OF THE CONES 9 p.m. on Food Network. While this title might call to mind the recent debate over the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s political advocacy, the series is pretty tame. “Clash of the Cones” is a reality show in which six ice cream makers compete to create new and unusual flavors, which they feed to discerning judges.
CHANGELING (2008) 5:40 p.m. on HBO Signature. Angelina Jolie stars in this period drama, which was directed by Clint Eastwood and is based on actual events. The story, set in Los Angeles in the 1920s and ’30s, follows a single mother whose young son goes missing from their Los Angeles home. Months later, authorities present her with a boy that they say is her missing son. She insists that it is not, and is painted as delusional when she tries to argue that point. “When it works best, ‘Changeling’ is a feverish and bluntly effective parable of wronged innocence and unaccountable power,” A.O. Scott wrote in his review for The New York Times. But taken as a whole, Scott wrote, the movie presents a “distended, awkward narrative whose strongest themes are lost in the murky pomp of period detail.”
AWKWAFINA IS NORA FROM QUEENS 10 p.m. on Comedy Central. The actress and one-time viral video creator Awkwafina based the concept of this half-hour sitcom on her own upbringing in Queens. The first season saw her character, the fictional Nora, flitting from gig to gig — ride-hailing app driver, real estate assistant — while navigating life at home with her feisty grandma (Lori Tan Chinn), her father (BD Wong) and her cousin (Bowen Yang). The two episodes that kick off the show’s second season, which debuts Wednesday night, involve CBD and time travel. In a 2020 interview with The Times, Awkwafina discussed the show, which premiered after roles in “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Ocean’s Eight” and “The Farewell” had brought her a new level of stardom. “Nora is where a lot of us find ourselves in our 20s,” she said. “What’s next? Do you find success and suddenly it fixes everything? No, life is an open-ended question.”
IN THE SAME BREATH (2021) 9 p.m. on HBO. Nanfu Wang, a co-director of the well-received 2019 documentary “One Child Nation,” about the history of China’s long-lived one-child policy, takes on another politically difficult subject in this new documentary, which looks at the Chinese and United States governments’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Wang explores the flaws in those responses, and how many of the consequences of political decisions fell on the shoulders of health care workers.
WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005) 12:30 a.m. on TNT, and on TBS and TNT on-demand platforms. For an apocalyptic scenario that’s entirely fictional, skip “In the Same Breath” and watch this take on H.G. Wells’s classic sci-fi story of invaders from space. This adaptation — the third in Steven Spielberg’s 2000s run of dark sci-fi films which includes “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” and “Minority Report,” — stars Tom Cruise as a New Jersey father who fights to protect his two children (played by Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin) as the alien tripods descend. If you’d prefer sci-fi with a higher fashion sense — Cruise’s character navigates much of the film in a hoodie — consider instead BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017) with Ryan Gosling, which airs at 7:55 p.m. on HBO Signature.
LATE SPRING (1949) 8 p.m. on TCM. The Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu kicked off a cycle of films about families with “Late Spring,” one of his most celebrated movies. The story follows a widower (Chishu Ryu) who is convinced to force his only daughter (Setsuko Hara) to marry, despite her wishes. In 2005, the critic Roger Ebert wrote that “Late Spring” is “one of the best two or three films Ozu ever made.” TCM is showing it alongside several other Ozu movies, including TOKYO TWILIGHT (1957) at 5:30 p.m. and BAKUSHU (1951) at 10 p.m. A large collection of Ozu’s films — including EARLY SUMMER (1951) and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (1962) — is also available to stream online through the Criterion Channel.
HERCULES (2014) 11 p.m. on TNT. What happens when you take Greek mythology, turn it into a graphic novel, and adapt that graphic novel into a movie from the “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner? You get this 2014 blockbuster, which casts Dwayne Johnson as Hercules. (He might be one of the few performers who can make the 1990s animated Disney Hercules character look like a pipsqueak.) The plot, which imagines a Hercules who leads a gang of mercenaries, takes some liberties with the traditional myth: In his review for The Times, Ben Kenigsberg labeled this movie “tongue-in-cheek revisionist mythology, pitched at classics students who prefer to attend their lectures stoned.”
STAND UP TO CANCER 8 p.m. on various networks including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. The seventh edition of this cancer research fund-raiser will be hosted by Anthony Anderson, Sofia Vergara, the comedian Ken Jeong and his wife, Dr. Tran Ho, who is a physician and a cancer survivor. The broadcast is slated to include appearances by Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey and Ed Helms, and performances by Common, Stevie Wonder and Brittany Howard.
GOSSIP 8 p.m. on Showtime. The life of the longtime New York gossip columnist Cindy Adams is the subject of this new, four-part documentary. The series uses Adams’s career as a way to look at the history of American tabloids over the past several decades — she started writing a column for The New York Post in the late 1970s, soon after it was purchased by Rupert Murdoch.