A new scripted show on BET reimagines the behind-the-scenes work that went into “Soul Train.” And after a dramatic buildup, President Trump delivers his second State of the Union address.
What’s on TV
AMERICAN SOUL 9 p.m. on BET. Set in 1970s Los Angeles against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, this new drama series chronicles the making of the first national program of its kind: “Soul Train,” a response to “American Bandstand” written, produced and owned by black people. Sinqua Walls (“Power”) portrays Don Cornelius, the creator and host of the show, alongside the actors Kelly Price and Jason Dirden. Among the guest stars are Wayne Brady, Bobby Brown and some former members of Destiny’s Child, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. “American Soul” debuts with two back-to-back episodes in which Don goes out of his way to secure a star performer who will take his project to the next level. In an interview with The New York Times, Rowland — who appeared on the show in 1998 — talked about her role as Gladys Knight and what the series meant to her growing up. “‘Soul Train’ was one of my first memories of watching all these different beautiful black people dancing and having a good time,” she said.
STATE OF THE UNION 9 p.m. on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and various cable news stations. The 2019 State of the Union address has finally arrived. The annual tradition was delayed when Speaker Nancy Pelosi told President Trump that she would not host him in the House until the government reopened, leading to a tit-for-tat that was resolved last week, after the 35-day government shutdown ended. While talks surrounding a border wall have dominated the news out of Washington lately, Trump is expected to discuss several other topics and make a call for bipartisanship. The speech will be followed by the Democrats’ official response, to be delivered by Stacey Abrams.
RAY ROMANO: RIGHT HERE, AROUND THE CORNER (2019) on Netflix. Ray Romano puts on surprise performances at the Comedy Cellar and the nearby Village Underground in New York in this new stand-up special. Judging from his material, the actor with the instantly recognizable nasal voice is not unlike his character in “Everybody Loves Raymond”: a man who never feels like he is doing enough to please his wife. Romano currently stars in Epix’s television adaptation of “Get Shorty,” and will make a second Netflix appearance when the drama “Paddleton” debuts on Feb. 22.
THELMA & LOUISE (1991) stream on Amazon; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu or YouTube. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon play best friends who set out on a weekend fishing trip and wind up becoming gun-toting fugitives in this classic road movie. For Thelma (Davis), the vacation is a much-needed getaway from her controlling husband (Christopher McDonald) that turns into a wild escape after an altercation at a bar parking lot. The movie balances its wild adventures and violence with a profound, feminist message that seems relevant now more than ever.