Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

New docuseries explores what it means to be Trans In Trumpland

Evonne in the docuseries Trans In Trumpland
Evonne in the docuseries Trans In Trumpland
Photo: Topic

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, February 25. All times are Eastern. 

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Top pick

Trans In Trumpland (Topic, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): Trans In Trumpland is a powerful docuseries with a total runtime of under two hours. Filmmaker Tony Zosherafatain takes a road trip across four states in the U.S. that have transphobic laws—North Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, and Idaho—to converse with four transgender people of different ages and races as they cope with or fight against the anti-trans policies implemented by the Trump’s administration. Zosherafatain, who is a trans man himself, gets to tell his own story over the course of four episodes as he meets members of the community to unpack the intersectional issues they face, whether it’s related to race, immigration, poverty. Trans In Trumpland doesn’t just focus on these issues; it also demonstrates how these four people try to overcome them on a daily basis. While certain direction and music choices skew on the dramatic side, the docuseries works because of the compelling subject matter, especially the story of trans Latinx immigrant Rebecca, who moved to the U.S. at the age of 10 with her mother and has been detained by ICE three times. It’s a step beyond negative headlines, offering a glimpse into the lived experience of those directly affected by laws such as the discriminatory HB2 bill, which prohibits trans people from using bathrooms and lockers that align with their gender identity, or the trans military ban. Created by TransWave Films with Transparent’s Trace Lysette as an executive producer, this docuseries is a heartfelt must-watch. [Saloni Gajjar]

Regular coverage

Mr. Mayor (NBC, 8 p.m.): season-one finale
Clarice (CBS, 10 p.m.)

From Film Club 

The Dark And The Wicked (Shudder, 3:01 a.m., streaming premiere): “[A] sense of morbid inevitability, of death laughing at humanity’s feeble platitudes about the power of love and God’s plan, is at the heart of The Strangers writer-director Bryan Bertino’s savagely efficient new film The Dark And The Wicked. This film is about vicious nihilism as much as it is about anything, and if a character expresses hope or happiness at any point during its compact 95-minute running time, you can bet that fate is going to make them look like a fool. Even the moralistic message that lurks under the surface of many horror movies is absent here; the evil in this film appears to be Biblical in nature, but faith and virtue are no more effective at stopping it than denying its existence altogether.” Read the rest of Katie Rife’s film review.

Wild cards

Punky Brewster (Peacock, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): “While the newest, most self-aware iteration of Saved By The Bell managed to find the sweet spot between its dated source material and today’s comedic palette, the new Punky Brewster simply dons an ill-fitted costume of an aged-up favorite without sincerely growing up, remaining reliant on old catchphrases and adorable spunk without unearthing anything that is truly fresh. And while a little mindless escapism and vaguely comforting warmth can’t hurt, it is ultimately a continuation of a story that firmly ended over 30 years ago.” Read the rest of Shannon Miller’s pre-air review, and remember, if you ever feel the urge to play hide and seek, never hide inside an abandoned fridge.

Luda Can’t Cook (3:01 a.m., Discovery+, one-hour special): Chris Bridges, better known to hip-hop fans and people who love the Fast & Furious movies as Ludacris, is apparently not much of a cook. Chef Meherwan Irani aims to change that in this Discovery+ special. We’d like to suggest that perhaps Luda should go on to make really excellent side-dishes that feature prominently in other people’s meals. Seems like he’d be good at that.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

Staff Writer (TV)