Wyatt Cenac’s late-night show returns to HBO. And Brie Larson’s directorial debut hits Netflix.
What’s on TV
WYATT CENAC’S PROBLEM AREAS 11 p.m. on HBO. The first season of this late-night show from Wyatt Cenac, an alum of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” had a bevy of idiosyncrasies that helped it stand out: There was no studio audience. No laugh tracks. Cenac presented each episode from a groovy ’70s set. And the season repeatedly returned to an overarching topic: police reform and misconduct. The second season shifts its focus to education issues. In the footsteps of Cenac’s fellow “Daily Show” graduate-turned-HBO-presenter, John Oliver (also an executive producer of “Problem Areas”), “Problem Areas” mixes commentary with field pieces. Not following in the footsteps of most late-night hosts: Cenac’s more casual style, which extends to both his demeanor and dress. “If the idea of my show is to be a little more curious about things, it felt like stepping away from that newsy look would be key,” Cenac told The New York Times last year. “I don’t know if I convey that same sort of gravitas. For me, it was like, lean into what you are, which is a sleep-eyed guy who rambles.”
UNICORN STORE (2019) Stream on Netflix. There’s a scene late in this surreal comedy — the directorial debut of Brie Larson — in which a corporate meeting room is blasted with confetti. The movie, filled with rainbows — and tension over some of the more poisonous and humorless elements of adult life — is a bit like that explosion. Larson (who also stars in this) plays Kit, a young creative whose childhood passion for rainbows and unicorns has turned into an adult passion for the same things. She drops out of art school after her artwork fails to impress. Just when she takes a temp job and begins to question her passions, Kit receives a mysterious invitation to visit a store whose proprietor (Samuel L. Jackson) informs Kit that he can procure a unicorn for her.
THE TICK Stream on Amazon. Fans of the joke-making superheroes of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Deadpool” will feel at home in this comic-book spoof, which is based on a beloved cult character created by the cartoonist Ben Edlund. The first season ripped its story from a 2001 cult TV show of the same name, infusing the character with an Amazon budget and a smiley performance from Peter Serafinowicz. Season 2, beginning on Friday, promises to bring back some of the series’ many strange heroes and villains.
OUR PLANET Stream on Netflix. Thanks to “Planet Earth” and “Blue Planet,” David Attenborough’s voice will be forever linked to footage of the great outdoors. In “Our Planet,” the latest nature series with Attenborough at the helm, that familiar voice both stands in awe of nature and leans in hard with a message: The wonders onscreen are imperiled by humans.