What’s on TV Thursday: ‘Network’ and Two Very Different Spy Movies

Sidney Lumet’s “Network” is on TCM. And it’s a night of Bourne and Bond.

NETWORK (1976) 10:15 p.m. on TCM. A recent staged reimagining has given this Paddy Chayefsky satire of TV-obsessed America a new life on Broadway — but that doesn’t mean the original movie version has lost its bite. Directed by Sidney Lumet, the film follows Howard Beale (Peter Finch), a land mine of a news anchor who, after learning that he is to be fired, goes on live TV and tells the county that he plans to commit suicide on air. He doesn’t do it, but the episode garners high ratings, saving Beale’s job and shaping the tenor of his subsequent newscasts, which become increasingly intense. Faye Dunaway plays a network executive. Dunaway and Finch won Oscars for their performances, as did Beatrice Straight, for a supporting role, and Chayefsky, for his screenplay. The film now runs alongside the very kinds of programming it seeks to skewer.

JASON BOURNE (2016) 7:44 p.m. and 10:04 p.m. on FXM. Throughout the 2000s, Matt Damon’s amnesiac ex-C.I.A. operative Jason Bourne captured attention with few words. The cold, often intimate violence dispatched by Damon’s quiet antihero in “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004) and “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007) helped define action movies of the era. After nine years off, Damon returned in this continuation of the series. Its plot weaves in some global concerns from the time Bourne was away, including hacktivism, the growing influence of social media companies and mass surveillance.

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