Journey to ‘Serengeti’ and ‘Jerusalem,’ Showtime’s ‘End,’ A ‘Power’-ful Spinoff, Catch a ‘100 Foot Wave’
Armchair travelers will delight in a second season of Discovery’s visually sumptuous Serengeti, while CNN begins a six-part history of the holy city of Jerusalem. Showtime imports an Australian dramedy that mines humor from death. Starz launches a second spinoff of its crime franchise Power. HBO follows an obsessive big-wave surfer’s quest for glory in a six-part docuseries.
SUNDAY: Journeying through the plains of Tanzania is not for the timid, as the second season of the beautifully filmed but often harrowing docuseries often makes evident with its vivid survival stories. The opening episode reintroduces the lioness Kai, who memorably tangles with a buffalo, and Bakari, the unlucky-in-love-baboon, among other fascinating wildlife creatures. Lupita Nyong’o returns as narrator, sparing us the silly voice-overs of ABC’s When Nature Calls.
Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury
SUNDAY: Emmy nominee Ewan McGregor narrates a six-part documentary series that explores the history of this hotbed of world religion and Middle East conflict by focusing on six epic clashes that defined the city through the ages. The series begins in Biblical times with King David conquering the Jebusites, claiming the holy city and setting the stage for the many battles to come.
SUNDAY: It’s not easy mining comedy from the subject of death, and it takes a while for this offbeat and excellently acted Australian dramedy (airing weekly with back-to-back chapters) to find its narrative momentum. Harriet Walter (Succession) is marvelous as bitterly widowed Edie, whose unsuccessful suicide attempt prompts her distant daughter Kate (Frances O’Connor), a palliative end-of-life doctor, to move her mother across the world from the UK to Australia. Edie’s new life in an upscale retirement village makes her want to die all over again, until she begins to empathize with her suffering neighbors. Eventually, we begin to see why Showtime imported this series. It’s the Weeds of euthanasia.
Power Book III: Raising Kanan
SUNDAY: The popular crime melodrama Power spawns its second spinoff, with Raising Kanan flashing back to the early 1990s for the turbulent coming-of-age story of Kanan Stark (Mekai Curtis). We meet him at 15, the only child of Raquel “Raq” Thomas (Madam Secretary’s Tony-winning Patina Miller), a well-connected cocaine distributor.
100 Foot Wave
SUNDAY: Legendary surfer Garrett McNamara has spent his life in search of the perfect big wave. When he discovers the giant and unpredictable surf that envelops the small, secluded town of Nazaré, Portugal, he puts everything (including at times his well-being) on the line to master these massive waves. An exhaustive six-part docuseries chronicles his journey with thrilling photography and numbing detail.
SUNDAY: Leave it to this devilishly clever series to find a new twist on the zombie theme, when one of Kristen’s (Katja Herbers) excitable daughters believes her best friend’s dad may have suffered a workplace infection. Back on the job, Kristen and David (Mike Colter) assess Father Mulvehill (Brian Stokes Mitchell) to gauge if the troubled exorcist requires his own exorcism. And what are the odds they’ll be able to expunge the demons from within their cackling nemesis, Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson, hilariously menacing as always)?
Inside Weekend TV:
- Say Yes to the Dress (Saturday, 8/7c, TLC): The bridal-emergency series is back for a new season, with clients including Stacey Lee, fiancée of Ghost Brothers’ Dalen Spratt, who spooks her consultant by asking her to find a reception dress just six weeks before the wedding.
- Shark Week Best in Show (Saturday, 9/8c, Discovery): As this year’s Shark Week reaches its end this weekend, a new special gives an overview of the past year’s biggest shark headlines and most memorable viral videos.
- The Globe (Saturday, streaming on discovery+): Robert Irvine hosts a cooking competition that travels the world without ever leaving the studio. In each episode, Irvine introduces four chef-testants to cuisines from three global regions—in the opener, Beijing, Tel Aviv and Accra, Ghana—with immersive LED backdrops making them feel as if they’re actually there as they experiment with local ingredients.
- The ’96 Effect (Saturday, streaming on Peacock): The streamer continues its countdown to next week’s Tokyo Olympics with a three-part docuseries profiling four gold-medal USA women’s teams from the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, the first year when softball and women’s soccer were included. That year’s celebrated basketball and gymnastics teams are also featured.
- From the true-crime blotter: A special Saturday Dateline NBC (10/9c) features Keith Morrison’s report on a family tragedy in Cottonwood, CA. Cable’s Oxygen channel launches a new series, Charmed to Death (Sunday, 7/6c), about charismatic criminals who seduce and deceive their victims, often leading to murder.
- Monk (Sunday, 8/7c, MeTV): Should you prefer your crime-solving on the quirky side, the Emmy-winning series starring Tony Shalhoub as obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk sets up weekly shop with back-to-back episodes of the 2002-09 series.
- History of the Sitcom (Sunday, 9/8c, CNN): Where would TV comedies be without their friends—or Friends? The pop-culture series examines all aspects of the subgenre.
- Love in Paradise: The Caribbean (Sunday, streaming on discovery+): An offshoot of the 90 Day franchise profiles four couples who hooked up while in the vacation nirvana and whether their romance can survive the real world, sometimes years later.
- The White Lotus (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): There’s more trouble in paradise as the vacationers settle into the Hawaiian resort in the barbed satire’s second episode. Exasperated hotel manager Armand (Murray Bartlett) is mightily tempted to fall off the wagon after clashing with spoiled honeymooner Shane (Jake Lacy) and his whiny demands. When Shane’s nervous new bride Rachel (Alexandria Daddario) approaches role model Nicole (Connie Britton) for a career pep talk, it doesn’t go quite as planned. Few things do in this enjoyable series.