Television|What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘High Score’ and ‘Magic Camp’
HIGH SCORE Stream on Netflix. It wasn’t long after the video game “Space Invaders” landed in arcades, in the late 1970s, that the game’s power to abduct coins from consumers’ pockets became clear. “I went to a head office this one-time and saw a truck collecting money,” the game’s creator, Tomohiro Nishikado, recalls in this documentary. “I saw how the back of it was low down, with bags of money being unloaded from it, sinking into the ground.” The success of “Space Invaders” helped usher in a boom time for video games: The super-hit “Asteroids” came out soon after, followed by “Pac-Man” and “Donkey Kong” in the early 1980s. That period and the decade or so of video-game innovations that followed are the focus of “High Score,” a six-part series. Other interviewees include the game designers John Romero (“Doom”), Roberta Williams (“Mystery House”) and Toru Iwatani, whose explanation of how he came up with his most recognizable creation, Pac-Man, involves a fateful encounter with a sliced-up pizza.
MAGIC CAMP (2020) Stream on Disney . When this family comedy kicks off, Andy, a magician played by Adam Devine, has given up on his performing career. He works as a cabdriver in Las Vegas, shuttling passengers to see more successful magicians. (“I just learned this awesome new trick called ‘Uber cuts my paychecks in half,’” Andy says.) But then an opportunity arises: Would Andy like to teach at the magic-themed summer camp he went to as a child? He’s convinced to take the job, despite a catch: His now-famous former partner, Kristina Darkwood (Gillian Jacobs), is teaching there too. They channel their rivalry into camp competitions, with the help of some talented children.
LITTLE WOODS (2019) Stream on Hulu; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. Tessa Thompson plays a daughter in mourning in “Little Woods,” the feature debut of the writer-director Nia DaCosta. After her mother dies of an illness, Ollie (Thompson) fights to keep the North Dakota home they’d shared from being foreclosed on. Ollie is nearing the end of probation, a product of her erstwhile involvement in drug trafficking. Also, Ollie’s absentee sister, Deb (Lily James), is pregnant and comes to Ollie for help. That cocktail of challenges threatens to push Ollie back to her old way of life — and calls for an intense performance from Thompson, who, as Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The New York Times, “emotionally expands ‘Little Woods,’ turning a small movie into something more than its textured parts.” Thompson “lets you see her character’s struggle,” Dargis added, “even when the movie simplifies its tough ethical questions.”
What’s on TV
GROWING BELUSHI 10 p.m. on Discovery. With all that’s going on in the world this month, you may not have had the time to stop and wonder: “Hey, what’s the actor Jim Belushi up to nowadays?” Whether you have or haven’t, here’s the answer: Farming cannabis. See his efforts in this new reality series, which follows Belushi and others running a marijuana farm in Oregon.