For people like myself who grew up in Guangzhou, a Southeast city in China, SundanceTV ’s 4-hour mini-series “One Child,” featuring a young Guangzhou-born woman named Mei adopted by a UK couple, couldn’t be more personal (the SundanceTV and BBC Worldwide North America co-production premieres Dec 5 and 6, 9pm). I remember seeing American couples flowing in and out of the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, having just collected their Chinese babies, ready to take them home. However, “One Child” is more than just an adoption story. It addresses the corrosive influence of corruption and the wrongs of State execution that writer Guy Hibbert sought to tackle. The series follows Mei as she suddenly gets called to her native city by her birth mother to help save her birth brother, who was wrongly convicted of murder. “I wrote it because I wanted to look at the corruption of the legal system in China and how it is undermining society. Corruption destroys the ability for a society to live cooperatively and harmoniously and it ultimately saps the hope and leads to a cynical society. When corruption becomes overbearing, government totally breaks down and so I think this is an important subject for writers to tackle,” Hibbert said in an interview. There’s also plenty of exploration of the inequalities of wealth in China. “This is destabilizing world order and so it was my idea to have a billionaire family and a poor migrant family entwined in one story,” he said. In addition, “it’s important to show the goodness in people, to create characters who inspire us, and who have humanity at their core… These are good people trying to do the right thing, trying to correct the ills in society with their own individual acts of goodness. Putting this in a story is as important to me as highlighting a troubled world—and that is what I want the audience to take away from the drama: the goodness in people,” said Hibbert. – Joyce Wang

“Handel’s Messiah,” Thanksgiving, 9pm ET, BYU tv. There is holiday music aplenty, but few enjoy the 3-centuries-and-counting global shelf-life of Handel’s oratorio. Ironically, the prolific, speedy composer—he wrote Messiah in 3 weeks—is little mentioned today, ditto Messiah’s interesting backstory. That’s no longer true thanks to BYU tv. Its ambitious quasi-doc combines music historians with a re-creation of 18th century Europe. And it’s quite a story, including an unfairly scandalous actor and an unlikely librettist. Some segments fall flat and agnostic it’s not, but overall BYU delivers a widely appealing film. Hallelujah! — “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,” Sat, 8pm, Lifetime. Satire is hard, as demonstrated by this feline-based spoof of sappy holiday films. It has several funny touches, but in total is a cat-astrophe. Grumpy’s fan base might love it, though, and we’d never bet against an Internet sensation (@RealGrumpyCat). — “Hello Ladies, The Movie,” Fri, 10pm ET, HBO2East. This film, like the series it completes, has moments of comedic brilliance. And viewers needn’t have seen the short-lived series to enjoy the film; Nicole Kidman fans will eat it up. A fitting ending. –“Sleepless in America” Sun, 8p, Nat Geo. This highly informative piece about sleep deprivation and its consequences is a terrific public service at least, and potentially a life changer. The graphics alone are worthy of attention. – Seth Arenstein

The Daily


Altice USA Kicks Off Optimum Rebrand

Altice USA is rebranding its mobile product from Altice Mobile, all part of a larger plan to align all Altice USA brands under the Optimum name.

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