What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘First Cow’ and ‘The Line’

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FIRST COW (2020) Buy on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. At a settlement in the Oregon Territory in the mid-19th century, two men set up shop on a patch of ground. Their product, fried dough with modest garnish, sells out almost instantly. The secret ingredient? Stolen milk. The buddies who cook up that clever racket are at the heart of this latest western from Kelly Reichardt. When “First Cow” introduces Cookie (John Magaro) and King-Lu (Orion Lee), they’re strangers: Cookie is working as a cook and forager for a group of trappers; King-Lu is on the run. The friendship they develop together — and their covert dairy operation — is explored against a forested frontier backdrop. A.O. Scott called the film “deceptively simple and wondrously subtle” in his review for The New York Times. “A parable of economics and politics, with shrewd insights into the workings of supply and demand, scarcity and scale and other puzzles of the marketplace, the movie is also keenly attuned to details of history, both human and natural,” he wrote.

THE LINE Stream on the Public Theater YouTube Channel. When the pandemic forced the Public Theater to close in March, the theater makers Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen had just opened “Coal Country,” a documentary show with live music by Steve Earle. They returned this month with “The Line,” a play based on interviews conducted with New York doctors, nurses and paramedics since the coronavirus hit. “The stories are harrowing, the more so because we know they are real,” Jesse Green wrote his review for The Times after the show’s virtual premiere this month. A recording of the performance is available on the Public’s YouTube channel through Aug. 4.

GREYHOUND (2020) Stream on Apple TV+. Take three tablespoons of “Saving Private Ryan,” add two shots of “Captain Phillips” and a heaping spoonful of C.G.I. and you’ll get something like “Greyhound.” Set in 1941, in the early days of United States involvement in World War II, the film casts Tom Hanks as Ernest Krause, a Navy commander. (Hanks also wrote the screenplay, which was adapted from “The Good Shepherd,” a 1955 novel by C.S. Forester.) The story follows Krause as he ferries soldiers and ships across the Atlantic Ocean to join the war. It gives “an account of not just the action but of Krause’s shifting interior states as tension and casualties mount,” Glenn Kenny wrote in his review for The Times. Still, Kenny added, it “feels like a movie that was conceived as an epic but could not quite muster the necessary force.”

UNITED WE FALL 8 p.m. on ABC. The comic performer Will Sasso and the actress Christina Vidal play a married couple with young children in this new sitcom. The first two episodes, airing Wednesday night, involve a parent-teacher conference and a bitten kid.



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