All About Janet Jackson, Apple’s ‘Afterparty,’ Kristen Bell is ‘The Woman in the House …,” ‘Nancy Drew’ Finale
Janet Jackson relives her turbulent life and superstar career in a four-hour documentary airing over two nights. Tiffany Haddish grills a mansion full of funny suspects in The Afterparty. Kristen Bell is The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window in a send-up of woman-in-peril thrillers. Nancy Drew and her Scooby Gang are in actual peril in the Season 4 finale.
Janet Jackson and brother Randy are among the producers of a revealing two-night documentary (concluding Saturday) that takes a deeply personal look at the second-most-famous Jackson sibling’s tumultuous life and incredible career—which took a hit after the infamous Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” (an issue sharply dissected in a recent New York Times Presents documentary on FX and Hulu). Among the friends and fellow creators weighing in: Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott.
Imagine The Hangover as a whodunit to get the vibe of this inventive mystery-comedy from Chris Miller and Phil Lord (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie). The reliably tart Tiffany Haddish stars as an ambitious detective who swoops into a cliffside mansion where everyone’s a suspect in the death of a pop star (Dave Franco) who was hosting his high-school reunion’s frenetic afterparty when he fatally fell. “We’re all stars of our own movie,” she declares, grilling the victim’s quirky classmates individually and demanding to hear their “mind movie.” Each episode then takes on the tone of a different genre: For nebbishy Aniq (Veep’s Sam Richardson), a rom-com; for cocky Brett (The Mindy Project’s Ike Barinholtz), an action thriller; for desperate Yasper (Parks and Rec’s Ben Schwartz), a hip-hop musical. I’m not sure I care whodunit, but I’m enjoying the ride.
The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window
Not quite as breathless as the title implies, this straight-faced sendup of woman-in-peril movies (including Netflix’s own The Woman in the Window) embraces every cliché as it introduces Anna (Kristen Bell), a suburban recluse who nurses her broken soul with wine and pills while staring through her window—from whence she witnesses a murder. Or did she? Wanting to have it both ways, this fails to be particularly suspenseful or amusing. But since Lifetime is busy with Janet Jackson this weekend, maybe this limited series will fill the cheesy void.
We’re told “a star-crossed choice will change everything” when Nancy (Kennedy McMann) and her Drew Crew face more supernatural jeopardy in the Season 3 finale, “The Ransom of the Forsaken Soul.” As they once again set out to save Horseshoe Bay from a fate presumably worse than death, Nancy Drew faces a more existential cliffhanger. The CW hasn’t renewed the series for a fourth season yet. (I wouldn’t lose too much sleep. The CW rarely cancels shows that have lasted this long without warning.)
Dirty cop alert: When Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and Baez (Marisa Ramirez) investigate an assault on an NYPD detective, they begin to suspect he’s corrupt, which puts the alleged victim on Frank’s (Tom Selleck) red-flag radar. In a case closer to home, Jamie (Will Estes) helps granddad Henry (Len Cariou) look into an old friend’s death that Henry finds suspicious.
On the Stream:
- In from the Cold (streaming on Netflix): Margarita Levieva (Revenge) is the action-hero star of a thriller series in which the CIA brings single mom (and former KGB spy) Jenny out of retirement to take down a mysterious assassin who appears to have her own genetically modified abilities as a shape-shifter.
- Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness (streaming on Netflix): The Queer Eye star plays Jeff Goldblum’s game by taking deep (and hilarious) dives into subjects that fascinate him, including bugs, skyscrapers and snacks.
- Home Team (streaming on Netflix): A movie that’s part redemption story, part family comedy, Home Team stars Kevin James as New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who after a 2012 suspension reconnects with his 12-year-old son Connor (Tait Blum) while coaching his Pop Warner football team.
- The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild (streaming on Disney+): The latest Ice Age spinoff pairs prehistoric possum brothers Crash and Eddie (Vincent Tong and Aaron Harris) with the one-eyed weasel Buck Wild (Simon Pegg) in a caper set in the Dinosaur World.
- The Legend of Vox Machina (streaming on Prime Video): An adult animated fantasy based on the tabletop role-playing game recounts the raucous adventures of the Vox Machina posse who go on a quest to save Exandria from forces of evil. Their ultimate goal: to pay off their bar tab.
Inside Friday TV:
- RuPaul’s Drag Race (8/7c, VH1): Comedian Loni Love is the guest judge when the queens take on their first acting challenge as part of a Drag Race super-tease trailer.
- Ready to Love (8/7c, OWN): The fifth season of the dating show introduces 14 singles (seven men, seven women) looking for connection in the Washington, D.C.-Virginia-Maryland area.
- True Crime Watch: On ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c), Amy Robach details new leads in the case of Jodi Huisentruit, a 27-year-old Iowa anchorwoman who disappeared one morning in 1995 and remains missing. On Dateline NBC (9/8c), Josh Mankiewicz goes back even further to the 1974 rape-murder of high-school student Carla Walker, abducted after a Valentine’s Day dance. This remained a cold case for more than 40 years, until DNA technology led investigators to the killer’s door.
- Magnum P.I. (9/8c, CBS): Falling Skies’ Moon Bloodgood guests as a Hawaii Supreme Court nominee who turns to Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Higgins (Perdita Weeks) for help when she’s a victim of blackmail.