Watching: Getting Heisty …

With a new art-theft documentary.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

AMC announced today that the first eight episodes of the 11th and final season of “The Walking Dead” will begin airing on Aug. 22. The season will be the show’s longest, with 24 episodes.

Have a happy and safe week.

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I want something crime-y but not too dark

This is the robbery in “This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist.Netflix

‘This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist’

When to watch: Arrives Wednesday, on Netflix.

If you want a true-crime story that’s not a devastating murder or torture show, try this four-part series about the 1990 robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, in which 13 pieces of art were stolen. The case remains unsolved, but the series explores various theories of the crime and the seedy vibes of the era in juicy and tricky ways.

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“This Is a Robbery” also feels like the full realization of the true-crime algorithm of disposable competence. Art-world crimes are buzzy thanks to “Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art.” (I preferred “There Are No Fakes.”) The lawyer Robert Fisher is a prosecutor in “This Is a Robbery” and also appeared in “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” because he represented the Stanford sailing coach who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering. The pacing here mirrors that of “Murder Among the Mormons.” As with many other recent documentaries, there was a podcast that investigated the same crime; WBUR’s “Last Seen” came out in 2018.

None of these are bad attributes per se, but it’s strange to realize you’re inside a Venn diagram.

No, I actually do want something intense

Caisa Ankarsparre, center, in a scene from “Exterminate All the Brutes.” Velvet Film/David Koskas/HBO

‘Exterminate All the Brutes’

When to watch: Wednesday at 9 p.m., on HBO.

This four-part documentary collage from the filmmaker Raoul Peck examines the origins and effects of white supremacy and moves comfortably between detailed, intimate stories and broad-strokes global history. Peck’s use of film and TV clips, archival footage and personal artifacts make “Brutes” a story of stories, a look at how culture replicates brutality through mythmaking. Two episodes air Wednesday, and the other two air at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday.

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Also this week

Olivia Liang in a scene from “Kung Fu.”The CW
  • “Hemingway,” a three-part documentary about Ernest Hemingway, directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, airs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
  • Nasim Pedrad’s single-camera comedy “Chad,” in which she stars as a 14-year-old boy, starts Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. on TBS. If you like gentle cringe or “PEN15,” try this.
  • “Kung Fu,” loosely inspired by the show from the 1970s, premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on the CW. This time, it’s about a young woman (Olivia Liang) who spent three years in Shaolin monastery in China and has now returned home to San Francisco. If you like any other action show on the CW, you will like this, and Liang is terrific.

EXTRA-CREDIT READING

In ‘Exterminate All the Brutes,’ Raoul Peck Takes Aim at White Supremacy

After the success of “I Am Not Your Negro,” HBO gave Peck carte blanche for his next big project. What resulted is a sweeping meditation on colonialism and the nature of truth itself.

By Robert Ito

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Gloria Henry, ‘Dennis the Menace’ Mother, Dies at 98

She was a prolific B-movie actress early in her career, but she became best known for her role as Alice Mitchell, the gentle mother of Dennis, on the CBS show.

By Anita Gates

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The Projectionist

SAG Awards Go to ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7,’ Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis

Daniel Kaluuya and Yuh-Jung Youn took supporting actor honors. On the TV side, “The Crown” and “Schitt’s Creek” won top honors.

By Kyle Buchanan

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Review: The Return of Elliot Stabler

Christopher Meloni’s signature character, and his anger-management issues, return in a new “Law & Order” series.

By Mike Hale

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Performing Arts Make a Cautious Return in New York

More than a year after the pandemic abruptly shuttered theaters and concert halls across the city, limited audiences were welcomed back inside.

By Matt Stevens and Julia Jacobs

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‘Still Processing’ Takes On ‘Promising Young Woman’

The Oscar contender “Promising Young Woman” is a dark revenge fantasy that raises deep questions about sexual assault and justice. The co-hosts Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham discuss what it gets right — and where it disappoints — on “Still Processing.”

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