“Black Mirror” returns to Netflix. And Bill Nye experiments with cannabis.
BLACK MIRROR on Netflix. In the year since the last season of Charlie Brooker’s technological paranoia-themed sci-fi series, the world has seen the Equifax data breach, the repeal of net neutrality in the United States, the unveiling of Amazon-controlled door locks and the release of an iPhone you can unlock with your face. So presumably Mr. Brooker has had plenty of inspiration. The show asks what existing technologies will be able to do when they’re developed just a little bit more, and it applies the answers to the darkest impulses of human nature. This season includes an episode set in space, another centered on a device that can access people’s memories and one directed by Jodie Foster, about a new kind of obsessive parenting that’s more satellite than helicopter. “I think it’s a worried show, but that’s probably from me, because I worry about everything,” Mr. Brooker told The New York Times last year. “If you made me a meringue pie, I’d worry that I was going to choke on it.”
Credit Eddy Chen/Netflix
BILL NYE SAVES THE WORLD on Netflix. It takes approximately 155 seconds for Bill Nye to launch into a scientific explanation in the Season 2 premiere of his Netflix show, but those seconds underline the difference between this show and his 1990s substitute-teacher-standby series, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” This episode starts with Mr. Nye in a cannabis dispensary. After asking what he can get “for two hundred bucks,” he walks out the door, marijuana in hand, and proudly yells “For science!” Set up like a late-night show (complete with live audience), each episode sees Mr. Nye discussing a central topic. There are also shows about superbugs, computers, extinction and more. Celebrity guests like Drew Carey, Zach Braff and the rock band OK Go are featured in the season’s first six episodes, which are available now. The final six episodes are coming in 2018.
What’s on TV
Credit Bob Hope Legacy/PBS
AMERICAN MASTERS 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). “There was nothing Bob Hope loved more than an audience, and audiences responded in kind,” Vincent Canby wrote in an obituary of that comedian in The Times. “This is Bob Hope …,” a new documentary airing as part of PBS’s “American Masters” series includes writings by Hope read by Billy Crystal. Also included are interviews with a number of big names, including Margaret Cho, Brooke Shields and Conan O’Brien.
WILD (2014) 8 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. on FXM. Reese Witherspoon stars in this adaptation of the Cheryl Strayed memoir, about Ms. Strayed’s time walking the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. “In its thrilling disregard for the conventions of commercial cinematic storytelling,” A. O. Scott wrote in his review for The Times, “‘Wild’ reveals what some of us have long suspected: that plot is the enemy of truth, and that images and emotions can carry meaning more effectively than neatly packaged scenes or carefully scripted character arcs.”