The Culture Arts

Top Picks: PBS's 'Victoria,' the film 'Little Men,' and more

Kelly Clarkson delivers an impressive performance on 'The Hamilton Mixtape,' the swinging soundtrack to 'La La Land' is romantic, and more top picks.

'La La Land' stars Ryan Gosling.
Dale Robinette/Lionsgate/AP
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  • Staff

Memorable monarch

“Doctor Who” actress Jenna Coleman portrays a famous monarch in the new PBS series Victoria, which depicts the early days of the rule of one of the most famous queens of all time. Rufus Sewell portrays the prime minister, Lord Melbourne, and Nell Hudson and Peter Firth costar. “Victoria” debuts Jan. 15 at 9 p.m.

Impressive cover

The soundtrack to the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton” has already won over legions of music fans, and the recent release “The Hamilton Mixtape” features other artists interpreting the songs by “Hamilton” composer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda. A highlight: Kelly Clarkson’s impressive take on the song It’s Quiet Uptown. See it at http://bit.ly/kclarksonhamilton.

Sweet movie

Theo Taplitz stars in the film Little Men as a young boy who moves with his parents from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Once there, he makes friends with a neighbor boy, but the boys’ parents soon become embroiled in a disagreement. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer calls “Little Men,” which is directed and co-written by Ira Sachs, “a sweet, deceptively slight movie.... [T]he acting is uniformly powerful (and powerfully understated).” The film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Real story

AMC’s “Mad Men” was hailed as one of the best TV series ever made with its story of the ad men and women of the 1960s. What were the real lives of these people like and how did advertising influence the culture of the United States at the time? The Smithsonian Channel series The Real Mad Men of Advertising delves into how ads have changed the lives of the American people. It debuts Jan. 8 at 9 p.m. 

Swinging soundtrack

The acclaimed new movie musical La La Land is already topping the award season lists, and its romantic, swinging soundtrack will surely follow suit. Director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz created the all-original score (with lyrics by Broadway wunderkinds Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), and it combines California cool instrumental jazz with timeless new songs handled with verve and charm by lead cutie-pie actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. It’s a warm and welcome pick-me-up as winter sets in.