Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, September 7, and Saturday, September 8. All times are Eastern.
Sierra Burgess Is A Loser (Netflix, Friday): There’s a lot to look forward to in Sierra Burgess Is A loser, which promises to be the latest in a line of extraordinarily pleasant Netflix-produced teen rom-coms. If you demanded justice for Barb after she met her untimely demise in the Upside Down all those months ago, you might just find it by watching her conquer her insecurities and woo the boy of her dreams as Sierra the “magnificent beast” (Shannon Purser). If you fawned over To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’s Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), you can do so all over again by watching him fall for the girl in his computer. If you’re a sucker for John Hughes films, you’ll be pleased to encounter some familiar tropes—and faces (Alan Ruck). And, if you find yourself feeling at all guilty for indulging in apparent candy floss (and why should you?), you can console yourself with the knowledge that this film is actually a gender-swapped modern adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s classic play Cyrano de Bergerac—albeit one in which the case of mistaken identity driving the plot takes the form of catfishing. Sierra Burgess stars R.J. Cyler (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, I’m Dying Up Here), Lea Thompson (Howard The Duck, Back To The Future), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us), and of course, Shannon Purser as Sierra Burgess. It looks to be above all else a story about a girl who finds that she is desirable in spite of the conventions set by society, and that she, too, deserves a fairytale ending.
City Of Joy (Netflix, Friday): For the last 20 years in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, militia groups have been fighting for control over a well of high-demand resources, often using rape as a weapon of terror and leaving tens of thousands of women physically and emotionally destroyed. On a 2007 visit to the area, Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler asked these women who have suffered abuse what they they needed most, and from their answers built City Of Joy, a gated rehabilitation center that provides survivors with a supportive community to help them to heal, to rediscover their worth, and to regain agency by transforming their suffering into action. The film follows the very first class of women at City Of Joy over the course of their six-month stay, walking viewers through their process of healing and empowerment. Director Madeleine Gavin hopes the documentary will help viewers realize how interconnected we all are, and the ways in which we might be complicit in atrocities that happen hundreds of miles away.