“Chelsea Handler: Evolution,” the comedian’s first stand-up special in six years, seems familiar in the first 20 minutes with lots of jokes about private parts and drug use. At some point, Handler dives deeper than she ever has before, re-enacting therapy sessions that helped her realize she had never truly dealt with her brother’s death. The results may not be hilarious, but it’s proof that Handler is committed to establishing herself as more than stand-up’s party girl.
Now streaming on HBO Max
When Justin Simien shot his breakthrough film, “Dear White People,” at the University of Minnesota, hardly anyone knew his name. His latest, “Bad Hair,” shows he’s arrived as a major player. For this horror-comedy — think “Get Out” with an evil weave — he’s recruited Laverne Cox, James Van Der Beek, Usher, Lena Waithe, Kelly Rowland, Vanessa Williams and others eager to climb aboard the young filmmaker’s bandwagon. You’ll want to join them.
Now streaming on Hulu
Path of glory
“American Dharma” finds documentarian Errol Morris attending a film seminar — with a catch. The “professor” is Steve Bannon. The political strategist looks to classics like “Twelve O’Clock High,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Paths of Glory” to defend his ideals. The connections don’t always make sense, which Morris occasionally points out, but it’s fascinating to watch Bannon make the argument that he’s a modern-day Gregory Peck.
Starts streaming Thursday on Topic
Acclaimed filmmaker Richard Linklater shows his softer side in “That Animal Rescue Show,” a docuseries that pays tribute to people establishing sanctuaries for pigs, turkeys and even squirrels that have been abandoned. The first episode, in which a Texas couple sacrifice everything to bring together abused children and abused animals, is as touching as an afternoon at the petting zoo.
Starts streaming Thursday on CBS All Access
The Chicago way
“Hoop Dreams” director Steve James returned to Chicago to shoot “City So Real,” a five-part series that covers the 2019 mayoral race, from the barbershops to the penthouses. It’s shot as if the battle were an Olympic event, fitting since Second City politics is a blood sport. You may be tired of government drama, but James’ film is too enticing to pass up. Watch all five episodes at once during its cable premiere, or watch in pieces when it moves to Hulu on Friday.
6 p.m. Thursday, National Geographic