TV shows to watch this week: 'Ramy' remains TV's most ambitious comedy – Star Tribune

‘Ramy’
“Atlanta” gets due credit for breaking the sitcom rules, but my vote for the gutsiest comedy still goes to this under-the-radar treasure. In the third season, creator Ramy Youssef dares to expose even more flaws in all his characters, starting with his own. Much of Ramy Hassan’s early charm has been washed away by greed, sex addiction and self-loathing. His mother, played by the superb Hiam Abbass, also specializes in feeling sorry for herself; she just may be the loneliest person in TV land. “Ramy” isn’t packed with laughs — although I roared at the woman whose life revolves around reruns of “The Office” — but no other current sitcom leaves as much of an impact. Hulu
‘Travelin’ Band’
A thorough history of Creedence Clearwater Revival would include a thick chapter on the band’s ugly demise. This isn’t that story. Instead, the filmmakers focus solely on the good times — which were great. In the first half, narrator Jeff Bridges chronicles John Fogerty’s evolution as a songwriter. The rest of the documentary is turned over to CCR’s 1970 concert at Royal Albert Hall with John and Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford ripping through classics like “Fortunate Son” and “Bad Moon Rising.” It’s rock ‘n’ roll at is finest. Netflix
‘Walker: Independence’
This prequel to the “Walker” reboot takes place in the late 1800s, setting viewers up for an ol’ fashioned western. But the CW, best known for soapy dramas for mopey teens, just can’t pull the trigger. Despite the setting, the series feels so modern that you keep waiting for protagonist Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara), a vengeful widow, to heat up baked beans in a microwave. The entire dust-free cast looks like they just stepped out of “Dynasty.” Those expecting grittier fare will quickly get out of Dodge. 8 p.m. Thursday, WUCW, Ch. 23
‘The Lincoln Project’
If you watch cable news on any consistent basis, you already know this docuseries’ main players: former die-hard Republicans determined to tick off Donald Trump. They’re a salty, emotional group that would be fascinating if the likely audience wasn’t already so familiar with their personalities and playbook. 7 p.m. Friday, Showtime
‘The Mole’
I can’t imagine that anyone was pining for a reboot of the series that put Anderson Cooper on our radar. And yet, here it is: another round of “Survivor”-lite with one of the well chiseled contestants playing secret saboteur. This time the games take place in Australia with challenges like searching for sunken treasure and making a prison break. MSNBC’s Alex Wagner is fine as the new host but one gets the sense that she just signed up for a free trip Down Under. There’s nothing terrible about the early episodes. But there’s nothing compelling, either. You’ll get more kicks out of chasing actual moles out of your garden. Netflix
‘Truth Be Told’
Women’s soccer may not be the most popular sport but this documentary proves it offers plenty of drama on and off the field. Former players talk about woeful salaries and sexist coaches with heartbreaking candor. The film gives their silent protest during 2021 games its rightful place as one of the more important sports moments in recent history. ESPN Plus
‘The King’s Jester’
Hasan Minhaj’s last special, “Homecoming King,” dealt with his relationship with his immigrant dad. This time out, Minhaj explores his own adventures in fatherhood with surprisingly touching results. Some of the one-hour set from Brooklyn will have special appeal for fellow Desis, like the bits about how every motel seems to be run by Patels. But the material about how ego can get in the way of parenting is universal. Netflix
’38 at the Garden’
Asian-American sports fans don’t get many role models, which is why Jeremy Lin’s hot hand during the 2012 NBA season holds such a special place in their hearts. Knicks fans and celebrities like Lisa Ling and Ronny Chieng revisit the greatest moments in this short but sweet tribute. 8 p.m. Tuesday, HBO

Neal Justin covers the entertainment world, primarily TV and radio. He also reviews stand-up comedy. Justin is the founder of JCamp, a non-profit program for high-school journalists, and works on many fronts to further diversity in newsrooms.
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