What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘Vikings’ and ‘Good Will Hunting’

VIKINGS 9 p.m. on History. Bjorn Ironside’s ambitions and struggles as the king of Kattegat continue in a new season of “Vikings.” In the two-hour-long first episode, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) finds difficulty in trusting his mother, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), while Ivar (Alex Hogh Andersen) is put to the test by the ruthless Prince Oleg (Danila Kozlovsky). Mike Hale wrote in his review for The New York Times that the series benefits from the modesty “Game of Thrones” lacks. “‘Vikings’ was admirably focused and engaging, its story easy to follow and its requisite elements of family soap opera and philosophizing relatively restrained,” he wrote.

AMERICAN WOMAN (2019) 6 p.m. on HBO. After her teenage daughter goes missing, Deb — a single mother in rural Pennsylvania played by Sienna Miller — attempts to pick up the pieces. With the help of her sister, Katherine (Christina Hendricks), and her mother, Peggy (Amy Madigan), Deb raises her grandson and navigates the challenging relationships she is left with. This film, directed by Jake Scott and written by Brad Ingelsby, is a “character study” of the working class, Glenn Kenny wrote in his review for The Times, adding that “the performances are excellent, and Ingelsby’s dialogue largely rings true.” “American Woman” will be available for streaming on HBO Thursday.

GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997) Stream on Starz; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. The 1998 winner of two Academy Awards, “Good Will Hunting” has become a classic. The film’s title character, Will Hunting (Matt Damon), is an unacknowledged genius — with a legal charge against him — working as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When he solves a near-impossible-to-solve math problem left on a chalkboard, a professor (Stellan Skarsgard) gives him a real “Get Out of Jail Free” card on one condition: he see a therapist. Sean McGuire (Robin Williams), the only psychiatrist who can handle Will’s antics, and Will’s friends, played by Ben and Casey Affleck and Cole Hauser, work with him to bring out his brilliance. “The script’s bare bones are familiar,” Janet Maslin wrote in her review for The Times, “yet the film also has fine acting, steady momentum, a sharp eye and a very warm heart.”

MALCOLM X (1992) Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. “In the film’s view, a god has been recognized, then lost,” Vincent Canby wrote of “Malcolm X” in his review for The Times. Based on the autobiography of Malcolm X published the year he was killed, this Spike Lee movie tackles his life, with Malcolm X (Denzel Washington) arriving in 1940s Boston from Michigan as a teenager. The telling of his life unfolds, with his evolution from a rising Nation of Islam member to the black liberation movement’s spokesman. “Malcolm X” earned Lee an Oscar nomination for his depiction of this visionary.

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