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What’s on TV Friday: ‘Friends From College’ and ‘Chasing Coral’


Annie Parisse and Keegan-Michael Key in “Friends From College,” a comedy series on Netflix.

Barbara Nitke/Netflix

Keegan-Michael Key and Cobie Smulders headline “Friends From College,” a comedy series from husband-and-wife Harvard grads about people presumably just like them. And “Chasing Coral” chronicles the death of reefs with imagery that is out of this world.

What’s Streaming

FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE on Netflix. Some Harvard classmates find themselves orbiting one another in New York 20 years after their possibilities seemed limitless. At their center: Lisa (Cobie Smulders), a lawyer, and her husband, Ethan (Keegan-Michael Key), a writer who has been having an affair with their mutual friend Sam (Annie Parisse) for two decades. Meanwhile, Max (Fred Savage), Ethan’s agent, has steered him toward young adult novels while Max’s partner, Felix (Billy Eichner), is helping Ethan and Lisa with their fertility troubles. Marianne (Jae Suh Park), an actress tethered only to her craft and her pet rabbit, and Nick (Nat Faxon), coasting on his trust fund, complete the group. On paper, this creation from Nicholas Stoller and Francesca Delbanco (spouses and Harvard grads) has great potential — “at least if the paper in question is the call sheet, crammed with sharp comedy actors” — and “moments of funny slapstick and observational comedy,” James Poniewozik wrote in The New York Times. “But what promises to be an appealing adult relationship sitcom becomes a sour story of self-absorption and infidelity. Think of it as ‘How I Cheated on Your Mother.’”


A scene from “Chasing Coral.”


CHASING CORAL on Netflix. Using time-lapse cameras, a scientific team records the bleaching and subsequent death of some of the world’s coral reefs because of a two-degree rise in water temperature, yielding “imagery that is more awe-inspiringly peculiar than anything in sci-fi cinema,” Glenn Kenny wrote in The Times. This documentary from Jeff Orlowski “imparts an understanding of how humans rely on coral as well,” Mr. Kenny added. “So we’re made to care about how much of it is dying — what’s at stake is much more than an eye-popping attraction for diving tourists.”


Nikki Amuka-Bird, left, and Phoebe Fox on “NW,” adapted by the BBC from a 2012 Zadie Smith novel.

Steffan Hill/BBC

NW on BritBox. In her 2012 novel, “NW” — adapted here by the BBC — Zadie Smith tells the story of childhood friends from a housing project in northwest London: Natalie (Nikki Amuka-Bird), a black barrister who willed herself to professional triumph and an idyllically affluent family life, and Leah (Phoebe Fox), her white best mate, drifting away as the divide between their social circumstances widens and her husband’s desire for children fails to fuel her own. When a woman pounds on her door, pleading for money, Leah collides with a criminal world that stains each of their lives, including Felix (O-T Fagbenle), floating up and out on a love high, and Nathan (Richie Campbell), a childhood crush whom Natalie and Leah expected to become a professional athlete, but who instead has become a nearly invisible man.

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW: BOTANICAL on PBS.org; also at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The remaining seven competitors turn to nature for inspiration in challenges focusing on citrus flavors, leaves and spongecakes decorated in floral designs.

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