IS “Shrill” a comedy or a tragedy — Based on the book “Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman” by Lindy West, “Shrill” begins streaming all six of its episodes on Hulu starting today.
Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”) stars as Annie, a funny plus-sized woman subject to unending condescension and pity from everyone, from the aggressive trainer who claims there is a thin woman in her screaming to be released, to her mother (Julia Sweeney), who offers her grim and inedible diet food while reminding her of how much it costs.
“Shrill” borrows from any number of other series. Not unlike “Portlandia,” it sees its setting as an unweeded garden playground for passive-aggressive adult children.
As on Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” Annie finds herself humiliating herself just to have sex and some morsels of intimacy with a creepy, feral, self-absorbed guy. Not unlike Plum (Joy Nash) in “Dietland,” Annie is an aspiring writer with much to say, whose shape and size are the only things anybody notices.
Like too many series to mention, “Shrill” also trades in well-worn millennial jokes. John Cameron Mitchell stars as Annie’s dreary boss, a self-important bully. He regales his staff with tales from his legendary youth and berates them for their hesitancy while at the same time shooting down their ideas and ambitions.
Curiously, for a show about coming to grips with weight issues, “Shrill” engages in a lot of physical humor of the fat joke variety.
All that said, Bryant’s Annie has something many TV characters never achieve. She is likable, make that lovable, as a woman slowly growing to accept and even like herself in all of her glorious avoirdupois. Despite its sad trappings, “Shrill,” like Annie, is easy to like.
— “20/20” (9 p.m., ABC) presents the two-hour documentary “The Dropout.” Based on three years of research, it examines the spectacular rise and fall of Theranos, a bio-technology company that promised a revolution in blood-testing.
Theranos received a great deal of press because its founder was a 19-year-old Stanford dropout who became a star in the world of Silicon Valley investors and the youngest female self-made billionaire.
Ultimately, the science behind Theranos’ claims did not withstand scrutiny, and the Justice Department has charged the company with defrauding investors, doctors and patients.
This segment reflects reporting by the ABC News podcast “The Dropout,” hosted by Rebecca Jarvis.
— Netflix begins streaming the dramedy “Turn Up Charlie” starring Idris Elba (“Luther”) as a floundering DJ reduced to babysitting his successful friend’s troubled daughter.
“Arrested Development” resumes its fifth season on Netflix.
Over on Amazon Prime, the British comedy “Catastrophe” enters its fourth and final season.
TONIGHT’S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
— Robin Williams and Nathan Lane star in director Mike Nichols’ 1996 comedy “The Birdcage” (7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Pop, TV-PG).
— Jane’s explosive past on “Blindspot” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
— A higher calling on “Last Man Standing” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
— Apartment envy on “The Cool Kids” (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
— Red’s dark secrets on “The Blacklist” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
— Even bigots can be wrongly convicted on “Proven Innocent” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
— Rebecca embraces local theater on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
— Frank’s friend pens a tell-all on “Blue Bloods” (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
— “I Am Richard Pryor” (10 p.m., Paramount, TV-14) recalls the comic who changed the content, temperature and language of standup.
— Gene Wilder stars in “Young Frankenstein” (8 p.m., TCM) director Mel Brooks’ 1974 sendup of ‘30s horror classics.
Nobody’s vault on “MacGyver” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) … Jessica perseveres on “Fresh Off the Boat” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) … Blake wants justice on “Dynasty” (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) … Money well spent on “Speechless” (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
The morgue holds a celebrated artist on “Hawaii Five-0” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) … “Dateline” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
Damian Lewis and Heidi Schreck are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS) … Jimmy Fallon welcomes Ice-T, Russell Wilson and Ozuna on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) … Brie Larson, Ben McKenzie and Tierra Whack appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (11:35 p.m., ABC, r).
Anne Hathaway, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Michaela Coel and Venzella Joy visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC, r) … Alicia Keys, Hailey Bieber and Joe List appear on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (12:35 a.m., CBS, r).