What’s on TV Friday: ‘Sidewalk Stories’ and ‘Space Force’

What’s on TV Friday: ‘Sidewalk Stories’ and ‘Space Force’


SIDEWALK STORIES (1989) Stream on Criterion Channel and Vudu; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. New York City has a complicated relationship with silence, given that the people who live there can’t really ever fully experience it. That makes the quiet of “Sidewalk Stories” even more striking. Filmed in black and white and mostly silent (à la Charlie Chaplin), the movie follows a homeless Greenwich Village street artist (played by Charles Lane, who also wrote and directed the film) who cares for an abandoned toddler in 1980s New York. When the movie came out, it was a novel mishmash of early Hollywood technique and a then-contemporary setting. Three decades later, it offers a different viewing experience: it’s a time capsule of 1980s New York. Criterion Channel is showing the movie as a virtual double-feature on Friday, alongside one of its clear influences: Chaplin’s THE KID (1921).

CENTRAL PARK Stream on Apple TV Plus. For a polychromatic view of New York, see this new animated musical-comedy series, about a family who lives in Central Park. Created by Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith of “Bob’s Burgers,” along with Josh Gad, the show revolves around the Tillerman family, whose members are voiced by Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell and Tituss Burgess. They have to protect the park from a hotel magnate, Bitsy Brandenham (Stanley Tucci), who wants to turn it into a private playground for the wealthy. In his review for The Times, James Poniewozik called the series “a fun, full-throated tribute to public space and the people (and dogs and rats) who share it.”

SPACE FORCE Stream on Netflix. Steve Carell plays a four-star general with a clenched jaw and a dysfunctional workplace in “Space Force.” The series, a comedy inspired by President Trump’s promised sixth branch of the military, reunites Carell with Greg Daniels, who was the showrunner of the American version of “The Office.” Its plot involves the struggles of Carell’s character, Gen. Mark R. Naird, to lead a newly formed extraterrestrial military outfit, while maintaining his relationship with his wife (Lisa Kudrow) and teenage daughter (Diana Silvers). “Like a lot of sitcom dads, he’s a little deplorable, but he puts a human face on it,” Mike Hale wrote in his review for The Times. “Carell has no problem making both sides of that equation believable and engaging — he’s a master of the quick shifts and reversals the part requires,” Hale added. “But he’s too good for the material, which never takes off.”



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