Worth Watching: The Queen’s Royal Life, Celebrating Planet Earth, Cooking Takeout Favorites With Amy

being the queen
Being the Queen

A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:

Being the Queen (9/8c, National Geographic): No, this is not another RuPaul’s Drag Race spinoff. A new documentary borrows from more than 100 rare and candid audio interviews with friends, family and palace confidantes — plus reflections from biographers — to examine pivotal moments in the fabled life of Queen Elizabeth II when her very private persona was confronted by the expectations of a demanding public. Among the incidents retold: her royal wedding to a nervous Prince Philip, the challenges involving sister Princess Margaret’s scandalous private life, the controversial aftermath of Princess Diana’s death and the tragic 1966 avalanche in the Welsh town of Aberfan (dramatized in last season’s The Crown).

Planet Earth: A Celebration (8/7c, BBC America, AMC, Sundance TV, IFC): You will find moments of zen and wonder, and also sequences of suspenseful predation and survival, in an hourlong special culling eight of the most memorable moments from the landmark nature series Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II. David Attenborough provides new narration, with a musical track from composer Hans Zimmer, as Planet Earth looks back at dancing flamingoes in Chile, dolphins surfing the South African waves, orca and humpback whales feeding on herring in Norway. In more harrowing vignettes, a hatchling marine iguana tries to outrun racer snakes in Galapagos, a mother snow leopard protects her two male cubs in the Himalayas, and an octopus fights off a pyjama shark with a heretofore unseen technique off the coast of southern Africa. And we never even have to leave our living room.

Amy Schumer Learns to Cook (10/9c, Food Network): Prep for the Labor Day holiday weekend by refreshing yourself on kitchen basics, as Amy Schumer learns more tricks of the trade from her award-winning chef husband, Chris Fischer. Over beers, Chris walks Amy through recreations of their favorite takeout meals from their New York City days, including spaghetti with tomato sauce and Amy’s fave Chinese meal, shrimp in lobster sauce with rice, with a chaser of homemade sushi. Later, gin-and-tonic is the beverage of choice as the couple reminisce about the good old days of cocktail parties, with finger foods like pizza bagels on the menu.

Inside Monday TV: Joining the lineup of syndicated fan favorites on digital channel Start TV: the former Lifetime drama Any Day Now, (weekdays at 10 am/9c), starring Annie Potts and Lorraine Toussaint as childhood BFFs who reunite as adults, with flashbacks of their unlikely friendship on opposite sides of the civil-rights divide in Alabama; and Major Crimes (weeknights at 8/7c), the spinoff of The Closer, where Mary McDonnell takes over L.A.’s Major Crimes unit from Kyra SedgwickDateline NBC (10/9c) launches a series of rebroadcasts in which correspondents revisit their most memorable stories. First up: Josh Mankiewicz, with a report about a 36-year-old Iraq war veteran who vanishes after making a mysterious 911 call… Streaming on HBO and HBO Max: the 12-episode Swedish dramedy Gösta, starring Vilhelm Blomgren as a child psychologist who moves from Stockholm to a rural small town, where his kind-hearted disposition only takes him so far.