Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A powerhouse documentary tells the story of an Advocate on PBS

Photo: The 2050 Group, LLC

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Monday, July 27. All times are Eastern.


Top Pick

Advocate (PBS and streaming on pov.org at 10 p.m.): After premiering at Sundance and winning a slew of film festival awards, Advocate comes to PBS and pov.org. The powerhouse documentary traces the career of Jewish-Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel, who has represented political prisoners for nearly 50 years. The story feels more than overdue during this historical period, especially as Americans discuss prison abolition. For her work defending Palestinians who have been prosecuted for resisting the occupation, Tsemel has been dubbed “the devil’s advocate” by her political opponents. Filmmakers Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche capture Tsemel’s tireless work navigating Israel’s two-tier justice system, as well as her personal and political history, and will also dig into several of her landmark cases. [Sulagna Misra]

Regular coverage

Stargirl (DC Universe, 9:00 a.m.)

I May Destroy You (HBO, 9:30 p.m.)

Wild card

Don’t Look Deeper (Quibi): While the title may sound like a warning regarding its subscription numbers, Don’t Look Deeper is actually the latest attempt from streaming service Quibi to give people a reason to stick around once they’ve watched all the new Reno 911!. This dramatic thriller, helmed by Catherine Hardwicke (continuing in the “snappy pacing” mold after her 2019 remake of Miss Bala), is set in a near-future California where A.I. bots with human faces—and a legally imposed limited range of emotionless actions and knowledge—have become a regular part of society. It follows a seemingly everyday teen, Aisha (Helena Howard), as she grapples with boyfriends, a loving if overprotective father (Don Cheadle), an empathetic psychiatrist (Emily Mortimer), and more. Everyday, that is, right up until she cuts her arm and makes a startling discovery: She, too, is a synthetic creation, only programmed to believe she was human, with the grownups closest to her conspiring to keep her in the dark about her condition. At least in its early going, the series is fleet and diverting, the televisual equivalent of a YA page-turner whose overqualified cast makes up for its more trite and predictable elements (naturally, there’s a malevolent Silicon Valley company hell-bent on acquiring Aisha). It may not be strong enough to pull in new subscribers, but for those Quibi folks looking for the next eight-minutes-at-a-time binge watch, Don’t Look Deeper’s surface-level pleasures are readily apparent. Just don’t go in expecting anything… well, deeper. [Alex McLevy]

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.

Sulagna Misra has written for The Cut, The Hairpin, and The Toast, as well as other publications that don't start with "the." She writes about what she thinks about when she’s not paying attention. She’s on Twitter so she can not pay attention more effectively.