‘Kominsky Method’ Final Bow, ‘Cruella’ Origin Story, ‘Lucifer’ Returns, ‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament of Champions Concludes
Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner reunite for the bittersweet final season of Chuck Lorre’s The Kominsky Method. Disney goes over-the-top with a campy origin story for Cruella, pitting Emma Stone against Emma Thompson. That devil Lucifer is back on Netflix. Jeopardy! wraps its exciting two-week Tournament of Champions.
The Kominsky Method
In the bittersweet third and final season of Chuck Lorre’s melancholy comedy about aging in Hollywood, mortality shadows acting coach Sandy Kominsky (a wonderfully wry Michael Douglas) when he becomes executor of the estate of his super-agent best friend Norman (Alan Arkin, seen in flashbacks). The six-episode season also serves as a reunion for Douglas and his 1980s co-star Kathleen Turner (Romancing the Stone), who re-enters his life as caustic ex-wife Roz, in town to help plan the wedding of daughter Mindy (droll Sarah Baker) to the unassuming Martin (Paul Reiser). But will Norman’s very generous bequest change everything? (See the full review.)
This outrageous origin story for the 101 Dalmatians villainess will test one’s tolerance for stylized high and low camp. In a film that’s equal parts Dickens and The Devil Wears Prada, Emma Stone mugs mightily as orphaned Estella, who dreams of being a fashion designer on the level of her idol, the fearsome and heartless Baroness (Emma Thompson, chewing every bit of scenery). The real star of Cruella is the film’s costume designer Jenny Beavan, who creates a series of memorable couture gags. The movie aspires to be madcap as it sets up a rivalry between these disruptive divas, while making it unmistakably clear that the Baroness is the cruelest of them all, but it quickly grows tiresome. Still, a treat for the eyes.
God help us all. Literally. In the game-changing second half of the supernatural fan favorite’s fifth season (having been rescued by Netflix when Fox canceled after it three years), the devil on earth (Tom Ellis, charismatic as ever) faces his heavenly father when God himself pays a visit. And who plays the master of the universe? None other than the formidable Dennis Haysbert, the former president on 24 and immortalized as the longtime spokesman for Allstate. We’re in good hands!
Who will walk away with top honors as the exciting Tournament of Champions finishes its two-day finals: librarian Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, wine tasting consulting Jennifer Quail, or teacher Sam Kavanaugh? The two weeks have flown by, with kudos to the energetic guest host Buzzy Cohen for his genuine enthusiasm and love for the game.
NBA Playoffs (7 pm/ET, ESPN; 8:30 pm/ET, ABC): A tripleheader begins on ESPN with the New York Knicks at the Atlanta Hawks, and ABC puts basketball in prime time with the Brooklyn Nets at the Boston Celtics. ESPN follows its first game with another, featuring the LA Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks.
On the Stream:
- Launchpad (streaming on Disney+): Diversity and inclusion are the guiding principles of a collection of six short films from aspiring filmmakers. Titles include American Eid (Aqsa Altaf), about a young Muslim Pakistani immigrant who sets out to make Eid a recognized holiday at her public school; Dinner Is Served (Hao Zheng), about a Chinese student who applies for a maitre’d leadership position at his boarding school; Growing Fangs (Ann Marie Pace), about a Mexican-American teen who’s half-vampire; The Last of the Chupacabras (Jessica Mendez Siquieros), about a Mexican-American woman who unwittingly summons a creature from legend; The Little Prince(ss) (Moxie Peng), about the prejudice facing a 7-year-old Chinese boy who takes up ballet; and Let’s Be Tigers (Stefanie Abel Horowitz), about a girl grieving the loss of her mother who gets a boost from the 4-year-old she’s babysitting.
- The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (streaming on Disney+): In the first season’s finale, the underdog Don’t Bothers face the Ducks at States.
- Panic (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): In a YA scenario worthy of The Hunger Games, or maybe Fear Factor, this 10-episode binge introduces a graduating class of small-town Texan teens who engage in a series of dangerous challenges in hopes of winning the jackpot and escaping their roots. But first, they’ll have to face their darkest fears.
- Plan B (streaming on Hulu): Actress Natalie Morales makes her directing debut in this comedy film about two South Dakota teens (Kuhoo Verma as Sunny and Victoria Moroles as Lupe) on a desperate road trip to track down emergency contraception after Sunny’s unfortunate first sexual experience.
- The Me You Can’t See: A Path Forward (streaming on Apple TV+): In a follow-up to last week’s docuseries about mental health and emotional well-being, producers Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry conduct a town-hall meeting with experts and participants including Glenn Close.
Inside Friday TV:
- One Voice: The Songs We Share (10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): In back-to-back episodes, the American Pops Orchestra and maestro Luke Frazier pay homage to standards that transcended genre to enter the hit parade. First up: “Broadway,” filmed at the Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown, with Tony-winning host Jessie Mueller joined by Hamilton’s Amber Iman and tapper Luke Hawkins. Followed by “Sacred,” filmed at Hagerstown’s Trinity Lutheran Church, with Grammy-winning host Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child leading a cast including American Idol alum Justin Guarini and soprano Maureen McKay.
- Real Time with Bill Maher (10/9c, HBO): Returning after suspending production for several weeks when the host (vaccinated and asymptomatic) tested positive for the coronavirus, the show welcomes Bob Costas (whose Back on the Record with Bob Costas HBO show premieres later this summer) as an in-studio interview guest. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof and Democratic strategist James Carville sit on the panel.
- Dateline NBC (9/8c, NBC): Keith Morrison reports on a Smoky Mountain mystery when the death of a Vietnam veteran in Tennessee, presumed to be a suicide, turns out to involve foul play.
- A Black Lady Sketch Show (11/10c, HBO): Already? Robin Thede’s uproarious ensemble sketch comedy wraps its second season.