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When you finish ‘Under the Banner of Heaven,’ watch this damning Netflix doc next

Four women in conservative purple dresses with their hands behind their backs, standing in a wood.
An image from “Keep Sweet, Pray and Obey,” Netflix’s new docuseries about Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints.
(Netflix)

Welcome to Screen Gab, the newsletter for everyone who enjoys a night at the theater.

In this case, it might be by living vicariously through Sunday’s 75th Tony Awards, hosted by “West Side Story” Oscar winner Ariana DeBose and airing live on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ beginning at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST. The nominees are led by critically acclaimed meta-musical “A Strange Loop” and Lehman Bros. history “The Lehman Trilogy.”

For the record:

9:33 a.m. June 13, 2022An earlier version of this article stated that the documentary “Leave No Trace” is streaming on Peacock. It is on Hulu.

Also in Screen Gab No. 39, we catch up with “Sistas” star Mignon and point you to Norm Macdonald’s final comedy special, a damning Netflix documentary about fundamentalist Latter-day Saints and an alternate history of the space race.

As always, we’re looking for reader picks too: Send your TV or streaming movie recommendations to screengab@latimes.com with your name and location. Submissions should be no longer than 200 words and are subject to editing for length and clarity.

ICYMI

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Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan in “Ms. Marvel.”
(Marvel Studios)

The ‘November Rain’ music video defined a generation. Inside its ‘bonkers’ production: Polarizing in its day, the epic Guns N’ Roses music video has become the most-watched of any made in the 1980s and ’90s. Here’s how it got made.

The women who provided abortions before Roe give a ‘grim’ glimpse of life after it: In HBO’s “The Janes,” women who defied abortion laws in pre-Roe Chicago, speak out: “The true story is more dramatic than a fictional one.”

How ‘Ms. Marvel’ breathes new life into the MCU — just when it needs it most: After “WandaVision’s” rollicking start, Marvel TV has struggled to reach beyond core fans. The joyous and inventive “Ms. Marvel” helps solve that.

‘The Bachelor’ made a ‘sideshow’ of its first Black star. Now he’s speaking out: Even before his season was rocked by scandal, Matt James found the experience ‘frustrating.’ His new memoir, ‘First Impressions,’ grew out of it.

Turn on

Recommendations from the film and TV experts at The Times

A man in a tuxedo standing before a microphone on a stage
Norm Macdonald at the Comedy Awards in 2012.
(Charles Sykes / Associated Press)

Caught between the pandemic that kept him from a live audience and the cancer that killed him, on the eve of an operation that might have, in the summer of 2020 Norm Macdonald, in the spirit of leaving nothing on the table, sat down and delivered material bound for his next — and as it happens final — Netflix special. Titled “Nothing Special,” with the comedian’s impossible-to-parse mix of irony and sincerity, it is accomplished in a single take, bare-boned and close-up. Dressed in a pink shirt and blue sports jacket, wearing headphones over a ball cap, Macdonald’s face fills the screen — that of a bright child who may just have done, or is about to do, something quite naughty, but also that of an innocent, lighting up when an offbeat insight suddenly occurs. Where some comics Know It All, Macdonald comes across as a man who has learned some things but also would not swear to knowing anything. (To the idea of comedians as modern philosophers, he responds with typical empathy: “It always makes me feel sad for the actual modern-day philosophers — who exist, you know?”) Topics, some of which might be considered hot-button, include gambling (he had a problem), racism, gender, politics, recovered memories, plane crashes, living wills, human remains and how the world one knows becomes the world newer people determine. He leaves some room to be offended, but wise viewers will consider his points of view. And even the comic will concede, “There’s more in this world than anyone can understand.” —Robert Lloyd

On the heels of “Under the Banner of Heaven” comes another series about fundamentalist Mormons, Netflix’s “Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey.” The four-part docuseries offers an in-depth look at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a polygamist sect whose leader and so-called prophet, Warren Jeffs, is currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years for the sexual assault of two girls. Directed by Rachel Dretzin, “Keep Sweet” includes a trove of chilling archival footage, photos and audio recordings that make viscerally clear the extent to which women and children were trafficked and sexually exploited by men who claimed to be holy. (As Dustin Lance Black recently told The Times, it is easy to breed dangerous men “if you blur the lines between selfish desire and the voice of God.”) And while there is discussion of the prairie dresses and the elaborate braided hairstyles that captivated the media after the 2008 law enforcement raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas, “Keep Sweet” stands out in a crowded field of FLDS documentaries by focusing on harrowing the stories of survivors — impossibly brave women like Elissa Wall, who was married off to her abusive 19-year-old cousin at the age of 14 but later escaped and testified against Jeffs. —Meredith Blake

Catch up

Everything you need to know about the film or TV series everyone’s talking about

Seven astronauts standing on Mars.
In its third season, “For All Mankind” reaches Mars.
(Apple TV+)

I admit, I have more reservations about “For All Mankind” (Apple TV+) than its most ardent admirers. Returning Friday for its third season, it’s still unnecessarily shaggy in stretches, with a shall we say questionable approach to historical causation. But once you embrace its idiosyncrasies, the payoff is sublime. The alternate history of the space race, from Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, mostly operates as a workplace drama, one I’ve taken to glossing as “‘Mad Men’ in Space,” with Sterling Cooper replaced by NASA and New York by the moon. Yet it’s also woven through with clever twists (an episode that functions as an all-female “The Right Stuff”), disorienting time jumps (it’s already leapfrogged from 1969 to the early 1990s) and moving domestic drama (including the platonic marriage of convenience between a gay man and a lesbian in Reagan-era Texas). By the time the series arrives at its Season 2 finale, featuring divorced astronauts Tracy (Sarah Jones) and Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman) in one of the most suspenseful and devastating action sequences ever aired on TV, it emerges as that most fascinating of phenomena. Faulty in stretches, inspired in others, always evolving and heartfelt all over, “For All Mankind” more than earns its third season — and beyond — to become what it so clearly strives to be: an out-and-out masterpiece. —Matt Brennan

Guest spot

A weekly chat with actors, writers, directors and more about what they’re working on — and what they’re watching

A woman in a black pantsuit with gold trim poses for a photo.
Actor and filmmaker Mignon.
(Riker Bros.)

Mignon auditioned for “Tyler Perry’s Sistas,” which premiered in 2019, without representation — a real hurdle in an industry where connections are everything. Now she’s four seasons into one of the most popular series on cable among Black viewers, and the BET network has already renewed it for a fifth. But playing airport worker Danni King in “Sistas,” about a group of 30-something Black women navigating modern love, work and friendship, is not all Mignon has on her plate. Screen Gab caught up with her to ask about what she’s watching, her ambitions behind the camera and more. —Matt Brennan

What have you watched recently that you are recommending to everyone you know?

“Chad” (TBS, HBO Max). Nasim Pedrad is a certified genius. Honorable mention: “The Righteous Gemstones” (HBO, HBO Max).

What’s your go-to “comfort watch,” the movie or TV show you go back to again and again?

So many, but most recently “Step Brothers” (Peacock). Honorable mention: “B.A.P.S.” (Tubi).

“Sistas” comes from Tyler Perry, who has long been one of the most prolific writers, directors and producers in the business. What makes you a fan of Tyler Perry’s work? And what’s your favorite Tyler Perry movie or TV show?

Tyler Perry is a comedic icon. Period. He knows how to draw in an audience and entertain time and time again. I love his classics: “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” (HBO Max), “The Family That Preys” (Starz, VOD), “Madea’s Family Reunion” (HBO Max). All powerhouse casts.

In addition to acting, you made an acclaimed short film, “42 Seconds,” in 2018. Do you have anything in the works behind the camera? What are your ambitions as a writer/director at this stage?

I’m writing features and shorts that will go into production soon! I want to tell stories that bring us all closer to home — the home inside all of us that transcends a physical address, the primordial place that we all come from, where we feel like we belong and unconditional love fills us so much we lack nothing and no harm can come to us. I want my stories to be lamps that light the path and guide us all closer to that place, within each of us.

What’s next

Listings coordinator Matt Cooper highlights the TV shows and streaming movies to keep an eye on

Fri., June 10

“The Card Counter” (HBO Max; also HBO, 8 p.m. Sat.): Oscar Isaac is a ramblin’, gamblin’ man in Paul Schrader’s edgy 2021 drama.

“Chloe” (Prime Video): A young Brit (“The Crown’s” Erin Doherty) stalks her former BFF in this BBC drama.

“Dirty Daddy: The Bob Saget Tribute” (Netflix): The late comic and sitcom star is remembered/roasted by his peers in this new special.

“Fairfax” (Prime Video): This animated comedy set in that L.A. neighborhood is back for a second season.

“First Kill” (Netflix): Two teen girls share a forbidden romance in this new supernatural drama.

“For All Mankind” (Apple TV+): Is there life on Mars? They aim to find out as this alt-history drama launches Season 3.

“Huda’s Salon” (AMC+): A Palestinian woman is blackmailed into working for Israeli intelligence in this 2021 thriller.

“Lovely Little Farm” (Apple TV+): Kids and animals say the darndest things in this new live-action/animated series.

“Peaky Blinders” (Netflix): The period drama about an Irish crime family returns for its final season. With Cillian Murphy.

“Prince and the Revolution: The Purple Rain Tour” (KOCE, 8 p.m.): His Purpleness holds court in a remastered version of this 1985 rock doc.

“David Bowie: Serious Moonlight” (KOCE, 9:30 p.m.): The rock icon is in full-on pop star mode in this 1984 concert film.

Sat., June 11

“Amy Schumer’s Parental Advisory” (Netflix): Schumer and guests wax domestic in this new stand-up showcase.

“Caribbean Summer” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.): A morning show producer gets her groove back in this new TV movie.

“Dirty Little Secret” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.): Melissa Joan Hart plays a suburban mom with a hoarding disorder in this new TV movie.

Sun., June 12

L.A. Pride Parade (Hulu, 11 a.m.): Livestream coverage of the LGBTQ+ celebration in Hollywood.

“Evil” (Paramount+): A priest, a psychologist and a contractor walk into a third season of this mystery drama.

“The 75th Tony Awards” (CBS, 5 p.m.; also Paramount+): Broadway gives its regards to itself at the annual ceremony. Ariana DeBose hosts.

“Time100: The World’s Most Influential People” (ABC, 8 p.m.): You probably didn’t make the list either.

“The Booze, Bets and Sex That Built America” (History, 8 p.m.): Vice is nice and, it turns out, also quite profitable in this new series.

“Spotlights: A Showtime Short Film Series” (Showtime, 7:30 p.m.): For those looking for something slightly longer than a TikTok video.

“Dark Winds” (AMC, 9 p.m.; also AMC+): Navajo noir set in 1970s New Mexico and based on Tony Hillerman’s “Leaphorn & Chee” novels.

“Becoming Elizabeth” (Starz, 9 p.m.): If she’s gonna be queen, she’ll need a good Tudor in this new historical drama.

Mon., June 13

“Pete Davidson Presents: The Best Friends” (Netflix): Kim Kardashian’s arm candy hosts this stand-up showcase.

“The Senate Project” (Fox Nation, 9 a.m.): Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) debate in the inaugural installment of this public affairs series.

“The Worst Person in the World” (Hulu): Love hurts in Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s insightful 2021 dramedy. Renate Reinsve stars.

“NBA Finals” (ABC, 6 p.m.): The Warriors and the Celtics continue their series (also June 16 and 19, if necessary).

“The Great Giveback With Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich” (HGTV, 9 p.m.): The Emmy winner and her cousin co-host a new home renovation series.

“Digital Addiction” (A&E, 10 p.m.): A new unscripted series that illustrates why we shouldn’t be left to our own devices.

Tue., June 14

“Halftime” (Netflix): Jennifer Lopez takes it to the stage at Super Bowl LIV in this behind-the-scenes documentary.

“Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin: Ladies Night Live” (Netflix): The two showbiz legends and real-life gal pals host a stand-up showcase.

“American Masters” (KOCE, 9 p.m.): Wouldn’t it be nice to watch a profile of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson?

Wed., June 15

“Family Reboot” (Disney+): A little quality time together should fix all their problems in this new unscripted series.

“God’s Favorite Idiot” (Netflix): Ben Falcone and his better half, the aforementioned Melissa McCarthy, star in this new supernatural sitcom.

“Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend” (Netflix): It’s knives out for an all-new iteration of the culinary competition.

“Love, Victor” (Hulu, Disney+): The LGBTQ-themed teen comedy drops its third and final season.

“Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet” (Netflix): A new docuseries that’ll make you think twice about wiring 10 grand to that Nigerian prince.

“30 for 30” (ESPN, 5 p.m.): The 1996 U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team is saluted in the new sports doc “Dream On.”

“L.A.: A Queer History” (KCET, 8 and 9 p.m.): This two-part special recalls the struggles and triumphs of the local LGBTQ community.

Thu., June 16

“Block Party” (BET+): A career woman steps up to help save her beloved grandmother’s annual Juneteenth celebration in this TV movie.

Bonnaroo 2022 (Hulu; also Friday-Sunday): Artists from the Chicks to Stevie Nicks perform in livestream coverage of this annual music festival in Tennessee.

“Father of the Bride” (HBO Max) Andy Garcia plays the paterfamilias in this 2022 remake of the 1991 remake of the 1950 comedy.

“Leave No Trace” (Hulu): This 2022 documentary examines the decades-long sex abuse scandal that rocked the Boy Scouts of America.

“Mad God” (Shudder): Horrors abound in this dark and twisted 2022 tale from stop-motion animation wizard Phil Tippett.

“Martin: The Reunion” (BET+): Find out “wazzup” with Mr. Lawrence and the cast of this 1992–97 sitcom in this new special.

“Players” (Paramount+): Paging Leeroy Jenkins! Esports come in for a spoofing in this new mockumentary-style series.

“Rutherford Falls” (Peacock): There’s no place like home in a second season of this small-town satire starring Ed Helms.

“Snoop Dogg’s F— Around Comedy Special” (Netflix): The hip-hop star also hosts a stand-up showcase.

“Queer Silicon Valley” (KOCE, 10 p.m.): This new two-part special recalls the struggles and triumphs of the tech capital’s LGBTQ community.

“The Old Man” (FX, 10 and 11 p.m.; also Hulu): Jeff Bridges plays a former CIA agent with a particular set of skills in this new espionage drama.

“The AFI Life Achievement Award Gala: Tribute to Julie Andrews” (TNT, 10 p.m.): The hills are alive with the sound of praise for the beloved film star.


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