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TV picks: 'Tig,' 'Rectify,' 'Catastrophe'

TV picks: 'Tig,' 'Rectify,' 'Catastrophe'
Tig Notaro in "Tig." (Netflix)

“Tig”—Though a longtime notable on the stand-up comedy circuit, Tig Notaro became famous in 2012 after she gave a performance at Largo in Los Angeles in which she discussed an epic series of misfortunes: a month after Notaro contracted a life-threatening intestinal disease, her mother died; a month after that, Notaro was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Hi, how ya doin’? I have cancer,” is how she opened the show.

When Louis C.K. and others began tweeting about the deadpan, brutally honest show, it went viral, which put Notaro in the absurd position of being suddenly famous but possibly quite soon dead.

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Mercifully, a double mastectomy followed by hormone-blocking treatments left her cancer-free with an excellent prognosis. So when a friend asked if she might make a documentary about her, Notaro said yes.

Directed by Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York, "Tig" is a 90-minute look at what happened and, more important, what happened next. Which includes many things: recovering her health, grieving her mother, attempting to have child, falling in love, and regaining her balance as a comedian.

If the Bill Cosby scandal has caused many to reexamine the dangers of fame and fandom, "Tig" offers most welcome proof that not every revelation by or about a famous person need be scandalous.

Sometimes, in fact, it can be quite the opposite. Netflix, any time.

“Rectify”Ray McKinnon’s prose poem of a series resumes on Sundance TV, as Season 3 continues to chronicle the return of Daniel Holden (Aden Young) to his family and small Georgia hometown after 20 years on death row.

At the end of Season 2, Daniel signed a confession to the murder of his high school sweetheart in exchange for the D.A.'s agreement to not retry the case (Daniel had been released on a technicality.) The deal also included Daniel's banishment from his hometown.

Although the truth of the murder creeps around the edges of the plot, "Rectify" is more interested in the mysterious nature of life than  producing a completed puzzle of the young woman's death.

With careful, almost prayerful attention to simple detail and mood, "Rectify" examines all the breaks and mends, the raised scars and bruised hollows that life leaves on a person and a family while quietly celebrating whatever miracle allows us to heal at all. Sundance TV, Thursdays, 10 p.m.

"Catastrophe"—Literate, witty romantic comedy that is sexually frank without being gross is actually possible to find, and you don't have to dig out the "When Harry Met Sally" DVDs (though that movie still holds up beautifully!). Nope, all you have to do is watch "Catastrophe" on Amazon.

Created by Rob Delaney and Sharon Hogan who also star, "Catastrophe" follows the backward courtship of Rob (Delaney), an American ad rep, and Sharon (Hogan), a British teacher, who meet in London and have a brief but very active fling before parting amiably. Until Sharon discovers she's pregnant and the two decide to raise the child together.

Yes, there are best friends, and meddling family (in a bit of perfect "Harry/Sally" casting, Carrie Fisher plays Rob's mother), but "Catastrophe" wisely stays focused on its lead characters, both adults attempting to adjust to a big curve in the road in an adult way. Which is not to imply perfection, but the joy of watching the first six episodes of "Catastrophe" is that no one involved is broken or stunted or behaving badly on purpose.

Rob and Sharon are decent people doing their best to be decent to each other and, as most of us know, that alone is hard, and funny, enough. Amazon, any time.

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