By Kevin McDonough
They certainly passed the audition. Fifty years after the Beatles broke up, the durable popularity of the Lennon-McCartney songbook is put to the test with the high-concept 2019 musical comedy "Yesterday" (8 p.m., …
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They certainly passed the audition. Fifty years after the Beatles broke up, the durable popularity of the Lennon-McCartney songbook is put to the test with the high-concept 2019 musical comedy "Yesterday" (8 p.m., HBO).
Himesh Patel stars as a struggling musician who suffers a blow to the head, only to awaken to a world where everyone has forgotten all about the Fab Four. His ability to interpret their songs and pass them off as his own makes him an international sensation.
Directed by Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire"), "Yesterday" was made for roughly $25 million and grossed more than $150 million worldwide, a bona-fide hit that proved that yet another generation has embraced songs their mother would know.
Not all efforts to use Beatles music in film have been so successful. The 1978 musical extravaganza "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" starred the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, George Burns and an enormous cast. Pitched by Universal Studios as "This generation's 'Gone with the Wind'," it was an embarrassing flop.
It was not as badly received as "All This and World War II," a film that used cover versions of Beatles songs to accompany newsreel and combat footage, including many clips from German military archives. Imagine watching Hitler address Nazi rallies to "Fool on the Hill" and you get the picture. Critics had a field day. The New York Daily News quipped that its PG rating stood for "Positively Ghastly."
Fifty years after the band's breakup, "Yesterday" demonstrated the Beatles' enduring appeal. Will there be future Beatles movies? Tomorrow never knows.
• Will the box office success and Academy Award-winning status of "Parasite" open up new markets and audiences for South Korean television? Netflix begins streaming "Hospital Playlist," a South Korean drama following five photogenic doctors who have been friends since entering medical school some 20 years back.
• Lily confides her doubts and fears to her co-workers on "Devs," streaming its third episode today on HULU.
TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
• A drunk driver leaves tragedy behind on "Station 19" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• The bass contest dominates the conversation on "Last Man Standing" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
• New friends on "Outmatched" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• A drug bust sparks a major fight on "Deputy" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• A wealthy inventor needs help on "Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• Carol's boyfriend asks her to take one for the team on the season finale of "Carol's Second Act" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
• An assault on a teen uncovers a major scandal on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
• A wealthy victim creates a sense of urgency on "Tommy" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
• The anniversary of Jon's death inspires reflection on "A Million Little Things" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
• Sam offers relationship advice on "Better Things" (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
• A pattern of clumsiness on "Breeders" (10:30 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
A mishap with the librarian on "Young Sheldon" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * The royal treatment on "Katy Keene" (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG) * Jill's spirit looms over Grace's first dance on "The Unicorn" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Holt suffers a personal blow on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14) * Adventures in babysitting on "Mom" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * A familiar ring on "Will & Grace" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14) * The film noir episode of "Legacies" (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG) * Shared favors on "Indebted" (9:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
Octavia Spencer is booked on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" (11 p.m., Comedy Central) * Nick Offerman appears on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, TV-14) * Colin Quinn, Nikki Glaser and Fortune Feimster appear on "Lights Out with David Spade" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central) * The Dixie Chicks and Michael Pollan visit "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes Mandy Moore and Dane DeHaan on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) * Patrick Stewart and Dave Salmoni appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC) * John Krasinski, Regina Hall, Bones UK and Steve Ferrone visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC) * Niall Horan, Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez appear on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
One of the weirder films directed by Cecil B. DeMille, the 1930 pre-Code musical comedy "Madam Satan" (9:45 p.m., TCM, TV-G) features art deco sets and a sexy masquerade party set aboard a doomed dirigible.
© 2020, United Feature Syndicate
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