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Around the Remote: PBS documentary chronicles Asian American story

UPDATED: Sat., May 9, 2020

Daniel Dae Kim, who revealed in March that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, is one of the narrarators of “Asian Americans” on PBS. (Taylor Jewell / Invision/AP)
Daniel Dae Kim, who revealed in March that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, is one of the narrarators of “Asian Americans” on PBS. (Taylor Jewell / Invision/AP)
By Chuck Barney Tribune News Service

DON’T MISS: “Asian Americans” – This five-hour documentary series is hailed by producers as “the most ambitious television chronicle of the Asian American story to date.” Narrated by Daniel Dae Kim and Tamlyn Tomita and featuring scholars, writers and commentators, the program begins in the 1850s when Asians became the nation’s first “undocumented immigrants” and covers 170 years. Along the way, it recalls and reflects on their resilience during extraordinary times through anti-Asian exclusion, a Great Depression, multiple wars fought in Asia, mass incarceration and the journeys of countless refugees. The timely series arrives amid a rise in anti-Asian speech and action tied to the coronavirus pandemic. (8 p.m. Monday, PBS).

Other bets

SUNDAY: “The Disney Family Singalong” was such a hit last month that you had to know there would be a “Volume II.” In the follow-up, the list of celebrities performing from their homes includes Billy Eichner, Halsey, Josh Gad, Donald Glover, Derek Hough, Julianne Hough, Idina Menzel, Miguel, Keke Palmer, Ben Platt, Seth Rogen, Anika Noni Rose, Rebel Wilson, Shakira and more. (7 p.m., ABC).

SUNDAY: With “I Know This Much Is True,” Mark Ruffalo doubles his pleasure and puts on an acting clinic. Based on Wally Lamb’s bestselling novel, the six-part miniseries focuses on identical twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey (both played by Ruffalo) whose lives take very different paths due to Thomas’ struggles with paranoid schizophrenia. (9 p.m., HBO).

SUNDAY: “Call Your Mother” is a documentary that mixes hearty laughs with warm memories. It features interviews with comedians who discuss the bond they share with the parent they call their greatest inspiration. Among the jokesters appearing are Louie Anderson, Awkwafina, Rachel Feinstein, Judah Friedlander, Jim Gaffigan, Judy Gold, Norm Macdonald, Jim Norton, Tig Notaro, Kristen Schaal, David Spade and others. (10 p.m., Comedy Central).

MONDAY: In the new series “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook,” the comedian and her husband, James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Fischer, create plenty of comfort food while their family is quarantined at home. Fischer specializes in farm-to-table cuisine. (10 p.m., Food Network).

TUESDAY: “The Happy Days of Garry Marshall” is a heartfelt tribute to the late producer-director who gave us “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Mork & Mindy,” “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries.” Among those paying homage are Julie Andrews, Jennifer Garner, Richard Gere, Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Jimmy Kimmel, Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, John Stamos and Henry Winkler. (8 p.m., ABC).

WEDNESDAY: Following an epic, 39-day battle, the 40th season of “Survivor” comes to a close with a three-hour finale. Adhering to shelter-in-place edicts, host Jeff Probst will reward $2 million to the winner and then virtually connect by video with all 20 players to discuss the highlights of the season. (8 p.m., CBS).

THURSDAY: “Station 19” wraps up its season with a finale that has “Grey’s Anatomy” docs Ellen Pompeo, Caterina Scorsone and Kim Raver working with members of the crew during an explosive situation at Pac-North hospital. (9 p.m., ABC).

FRIDAY: Cedric the Entertainer is our host for “The Greatest #StayAtHome Videos.” It’s an hourlong special featuring viral home video moments created while social distancing and sheltering in place – from the humorous and the heartwarming to the most inspirational. (8 p.m., CBS).

SATURDAY: Joaquin Phoenix earned an Oscar for his mesmerizing portrayal of Batman’s future nemesis in “Joker.” The 2019 film follows Arthur Fleck, a failed standup comedian who descends into insanity. (8 p.m., HBO).

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