What’s on TV
THE THING ABOUT HARRY (2020) 8 p.m. on Freeform. Created by the ABC-friendly Peter Paige — who directed “The Fosters” and its spinoff, “Good Trouble” — “The Thing About Harry” is a heartwarming rom-com that debuts just after Valentine’s Day. The movie, which takes place on the holiday itself, details the unraveling of a high school grudge between Sam (Jake Borelli) and Harry (Niko Terho) when they find themselves on a long road trip together. Sam, who has been proudly gay and uniquely himself since high school, has failed to get along with Harry, a former jock. But as the two spend time together, Sam learns that Harry is also gay, opening up the possibility for romance. The cast is supplemented by Netflix stars Britt Baron and Karamo Brown.
SHAFT (2019) 8 p.m. on HBO. This fifth installation of the “Shaft” movies unites three generations of John Shafts: two detectives-gone-rogue and one M.I.T.-educated millennial. The 2019 version finds success in its characters and their dialogues, and the depiction of John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) shifts from an action hero to a politically incorrect dad. The Shaft newcomer, JJ (Jessie T. Usher), essentially serves as a reminder of contemporary issues and as a catalyst for shootouts. However, “story coherence has never been the point with Shaft,” A.O. Scott reminds us in his review in The New York Times. He adds: “He’s all about presence and presentation, and the grace and guile required to deal with the bad guys, the Man and of course all those women.” Jackson — who revived the series — stars again, and Richard Roundtree — the original Shaft — returns as JJ’s great-uncle.
BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE Stream on Disney Plus. Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. This story of a 10-year-old girl, her father, a small Southern town and a dog named Winn-Dixie is based on the 2000 Kate DiCamillo novel with the same title. It begins when Opal Buloni (AnnaSophia Robb) and her father (Jeff Daniels) move into a trailer park in a sleepy Florida town called Naomi. One day, Opal finds a stray dog wreaking havoc in a grocery store, and she decides to take him home. With the help of her new friend, whom she names Winn-Dixie (after the grocery store), Opal is able to connect with the residents of Naomi and with her closed-off father. In her review for The Times, Anita Gates wrote, “It has old-fashioned and heartwarming written all over it, in heavy black Magic Marker. ”
UTOPIA FALLS Stream on Hulu. In this futuristic sci-fi series, which takes place in the last surviving human colony on earth, ancestral worship and societal status are achieved through an annual music-and-dance competition for which 24 teenagers are invited to partake. When one of the contestants, Aliyah (Robyn Alomar), discovers the long-lost genre hip-hop, she begins to question the values her colony is based upon. As the series progresses, she and other competitors use hip-hop to establish freedom from their government.