What’s Worth Watching: ‘The Dresser’, ‘Roots’, ‘Men of War’ and more for Monday, May 30.
The Dresser (9/8c, Starz): Raging against the fading embers of a career and life on the stage, Anthony Hopkins breaks the heart and chills the blood, commanding respect and attention in a towering performance as an actor known only as Sir. In this second filmed version of Ronald Harwood’s touching play, Hopkins fumes and whimpers, lapsing in and out of lucidity in the company of Norman, his devoted backstage dresser, played to the gossipy hilt by the great Ian McKellen. Equal parts handservant, nurse and confidant, Norman helps Sir prepare for his 227th transformation into King Lear, a role echoing Sir’s own blustery panic and possible dementia, which is causing the rest of their WWII-era theatrical troupe (including Emily Watson and Sarah Lancashire) considerable distress. This tour de force is an ode to the actor’s art and the sacrifice it entails.
Roots (9/8c, History, Lifetime, A&E): The original miniseries made a star of LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte, and this solid, soulful remake (airing through Thursday) could do the same for newcomer Malachi Kirby as the proud African warrior captured and sold in to slavery. For this man, his name is his spirit and his shield, and though forced to adopt the slave name “Toby,” he never loses his desire for freedom, a trait inherited by successive generations. Emmy alert: Forest Whitaker also shines as Fiddler, Kunta Kinte’s mentor on the plantation.
Of Men and War (10/9c, PBS; check local listings at pbs.org): One way to honor the troops on Memorial Day is to acknowledge the toll that combat takes on soldiers’ psyches. That’s the message of this documentary, an Official Selection of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival premiering on POV. Filmmaker Laurent Bécue-Renard spent more than a decade chronicling the stories of Iraq and Afghan War veterans dealing with PTSD symptoms, following their progress as they sought treatment at the Napa Valley’s Pathway Home residential treatment center.
Inside Monday TV: The 13th season of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance (8/7c) is being called “The Next Generation,” as the spotlight turns to kid hoofers, ages 8 to 13, who’ll eventually be teamed with All-Star favorites from past years. That can’t possibly get weird. Further sign of the franchise having seen better days: Maddie Ziegler of Dance Moms is joining the experts as a mentor. … Those who’d prefer to spend the holiday spaced out can revel in a daylong marathon of Star Trek movies on the HDNET Movies channel, starting at 10 am/9c with 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, moving on to The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock, The Final Frontier and finally Star Trek: Insurrection. (The marathon repeats at 8 pm/7c.) … Estranged partners Reese (Jim Caveziel) and Fusco (Kevin Chapman) will have to work together on another exciting chapter of CBS’s Person of Interest (10/9c), when a nemesis known as “The Voice” traps them in their precinct with armed gang members.