‘Ted Lasso’ in Black, ‘Foundation,’ ‘Goliath’s Final Season, ‘Midnight Mass,’ Aly Raisman Brings ‘Darkness to Light’
A funeral brings out the best in the Emmy-winning Ted Lasso ensemble. Also on Apple TV+: an epic adaptation of the sci-fi classic Foundation. Billy Bob Thornton’s Goliath heads to San Francisco for its final season. The creator of Netflix’s Haunting series returns with a creepy Midnight Mass parable of good and evil. Gymnast Aly Raisman meets other survivors of child sexual abuse in a three-hour Lifetime special.
Want to see why this seven-times-Emmy-winning comedy will be a front-runner again next year, along with stars Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham and possibly Brett Goldstein? This week’s marvelous episode shows everyone in top form as team owner Rebecca (Waddingham) deals with a loss in an episode titled “No Weddings and a Funeral.” Everyone rises to the occasion as humor and sentiment combine for an emotionally satisfying 40-plus minutes. You’ll smile as the Richmond soccer team struggles to pay their respects wearing dress shoes instead of trainers, and you’ll likely sympathize as the event triggers Ted’s (Sudeikis) most traumatic childhood memory. But the episode ultimately belongs to the triumphant Waddingham, who is moving, bawdy and sensual when required. (I’m still humming a seminal 1980s pop tune that serves as a recurring earworm.)
Isaac Asimov’s science-fiction classic gets a gorgeous if glacial cinematic treatment in David S. Goyer’s thoughtful and at times forbiddingly sprawling adaptation. The 10-part season opens as mathematical visionary Dr. Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) predicts the fall of a galactic Empire, whose regal cloned leaders (including Lee Pace) send him and his followers to a remote planet amid stirrings of insurgent rebellion. It’s a highly literate and dense project, sumptuously produced, but also suggesting why it has taken so long to translate this property to film.
Billy Bob Thornton’s acclaimed character of underdog lawyer Billy McBride finds one last assignment as the show relocates from Southern California to the chillier clime of San Francisco for the fourth and final season. Billy joins his fractious pal Patty Solis-Papagian (scene-stealing Nina Arianda) at a prestigious law firm, recalling his earlier career, where their latest Goliath target is a Big Pharma CEO (the great J.K. Simmons) whose family’s company is aggressively marketing deadly opioids. Hollywood veteran Bruce Dern co-stars as Billy’s odd neighbor, who in classic noir tradition has a surprising connection to the case.
Creator-director Mike Flanagan has provided plenty of chills for the streamer with modernized adaptations of classics (The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor), and now he delivers an original thriller set on a creepy isolated island. The seven-part Midnight Mass stars Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine) as a mysterious priest who arrives on Crockett Island at the same time as a local prodigal son (Friday Night Lights’ Zach Gilford) who sees something sinister beneath a series of seemingly miraculous events that have sparked religious fervor in the community.
Aly Raisman: Darkness to Light
Having recently testified with fellow gymnasts to Congress on the subject of child sexual abuse and its traumatic lasting impact, Aly Raisman meets with other survivors in a three-hour documentary special that also includes valuable information about how survivors like them can move forward while never forgetting. The special includes Raisman’s conversation with Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, and a roundtable discussion with experts on steps to prevent child sexual abuse and ways to heal.
The True-Crime Beat:
- Dateline NBC (9/8c, NBC): The long-running newsmagazine officially launches its 30th season with the first in a series of two-hour broadcasts. Keith Morrison reports on a Kentucky triple murder that rocks a small town.
- 20/20 (9/8c, ABC): Correspondent Matt Gutman takes a deep dive into the deadly love triangle that led to the murder of Newport Beach, CA businessman Bill McLaughlin. Gutman sits with Nanette Packard, who’s serving a life sentence for the crime (along with former NFL player Eric Naposki), for her first interview in 20 years. He also talks with her grown children in exclusive interviews.
- Vendetta: Truth, Lies and the Mafia (streaming on Netflix): A six-part docuseries follows the fates of two anti-Mafia crusaders in Sicily—a journalist/TV host and a judge—whose public actions against corruption led to them each being accused of the crimes they’ve pledged to fight. Who’s behind this vendetta, and are either of them truly innocent?
- Curse of the Chippendales (streaming on discovery+): A four-part series investigates the dark side of the male-dancing troupe’s global success, with greed, addiction and murder among the many missteps.
Inside Friday TV:
- The Great British Baking Show (streaming on Netflix): A little taste of bliss, as a new season gets underway with amateur bakers hoping to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Episodes premiere every Friday for 10 weeks.
- New streaming movies include Netflix’s The Starling, starring Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Kevin Kline in the emotional story of a grieving woman who goes to war with a bird in her garden until a veterinarian who was formerly a psychologist helps her heal. Amazon Prime Video’s Birds of Paradise tracks the friendship and rivalry of ballerinas at a prestigious Paris school who compete for a contract at the Opéra national de Paris. Jacqueline Bisset co-stars.
- The Show (9/8c, Showtime): A 90-minute special goes behind the scenes of this year’s spectacular Emmy-nominated Super Bowl LV halftime show in Tampa, starring The Weeknd. Pulling off the elaborate effects, music and choreography during a pandemic was more challenging than usual, and cameras chronicle each step on the way to the Big Show broadcast to nearly 100 million viewers.
- The Shop: Interrupted (9/8c, HBO): Maverick Carter’s eclectic talk show returns with guests including tennis star Naomi Osaka, NBA All-Star Kevin Love, comedian Wanda Sykes and hip-hop’s Jadakiss.
- Back on the Record with Bob Costas (11/10c, HBO): A new edition of the sports-themed talk show features Costas interviewing NBA star Carmelo Anthony and a segment on PBS’s just-concluded Muhammad Ali documentary with Rasheda Ali and filmmaker Ken Burns in studio.
- Mr. Corman (streaming on Apple TV+): In the penultimate episode of this deeply personal character study, Josh Corman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) confronts his daddy issues with his estranged musician father (Hugo Weaving). Gordon-Levitt is also executive producer of Apple’s new animated series Wolfboy and the Everything Factory.