Having done the news- and history-centric “The Decades” project, the producing team of Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog turn their attention to “The Movies” (8 p.m., CNN). Airing Sunday nights in July, the documentary series will take a decade-by-decade approach to the films that moved and influenced us.

While it promises to cover every period from the 1930s forward, it kicks off with “The Eighties.” No one interviewed here contends that the decade was the best in cinema history, but it does tickle the nostalgia nerve of the same audience that’s spent the past few days binging on “Stranger Things.” Perhaps beginning with the talkie era would seem too TCM.

The good thing about these Tom Hanks productions is that the filmmakers have access to both talking-head talent and a wealth of footage. On the flip side, it can seem like an onslaught, a one-darn-thing-after-another grab bag of familiar clips.

Covering any decade’s entertainment can seem daunting and lead to generalizations. Going over a lot of ground, “The Eighties” kicks off with a film buff’s conundrum. Is “Raging Bull” the first great film of the 1980s, or the last great film of the 1970s? We quickly get to the ultra-bomb “Heaven’s Gate,” which marked the end of studios indulging “auteur” filmmakers. This gives way to a discussion of two 1970s directors (George Lucas and Steven Spielberg) who displayed a Midas touch with the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises.

A wealth of commentators includes many directors praising each other’s work. Billy Crystal really admires the works of Rob Reiner particularly the ones that he was in. John Singleton, who died in April, is seen here as well.

Some of the most interesting things about 1980s cinema were the things we stopped seeing (or hearing). Among them were musical scores, which increasingly gave way to jukebox soundtracks like that of “The Big Chill.” Or montage-ready numbers like those employed in “Top Gun,” “Ghostbusters” and “Flashdance.”

Arguably the greatest influence on the films of the 1980s did not arrive in the movie theaters. MTV accustomed audiences to a frantic editing style that would soon find its way into films. The list of influential directors who cut their creative teeth making music videos is simply too long to enumerate


Other highlights

  • “Great Performances at the Met” (noon, PBS) presents Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment.” Look for an appearance by Kathleen Turner.
  • Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): A tycoon’s plan to increase investment in the heartland; thawing permafrost and greenhouse gases; a profile of a photographer who calls himself JR.
  • Emotions churn as Luna’s trial nears on “Burden of Truth” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
  • Stage 2 coverage of the 2019 Tour de France (7 p.m., NBCSN).
  • Daredevils attempt to re-create stunts originated by a bicentennial-era showman on “Evel Live 2” (7 p.m., History, TV-14).
  • A musician is murdered on a roller coaster on “Instinct” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
  • A building’s collapse reveals evidence on the season finale of “Endeavor” on “Masterpiece” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-14).
  • Morgan postpones calamity on “Fear the Walking Dead” (8 p.m., AMC, TV-14).
  • “A Year in Music” (8 p.m., AXS) focuses on one year’s musical scene per week, starting with 1977.
  • “Apollo: Missions to the Moon” (8 p.m., National Geographic, TV-G) employs vintage television footage, home movies, NASA audio and “black box” recordings to offer viewers a moment-by-moment look at the manned lunar probes from 1968-72
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© 2019 United Feature Syndicate

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