‘Barry’ Is Back, Julia Roberts in Watergate Drama, Niecy Nash Is a New ‘Rookie,’ Showtime’s ‘Man Who Fell to Earth,’ ‘Billy the Kid’
In an unusually busy spring weekend of premieres, HBO’s Emmy-winning dark comedy Barry leads the pack, paired with the macabre The Baby. Julia Roberts is gossipy Washington maven Martha Mitchell to Sean Penn’s John Mitchell in Starz’ Watergate drama Gaslit. Niecy Nash guests in a two-part Rookie backdoor pilot as a recent Quantico grad. New cable series include Showtime’s take on the sci-fi cult classic The Man Who Fell to Earth and an Epix Western telling the story of Billy the Kid.
SUNDAY: After a three-year hiatus, the Emmy-winning darker-than-dark comedy returns, with Bill Hader as the hit man who’d rather be an actor, if only he could escape his criminal past. Not easy now that his acting coach and mentor Gene Cousineau (the wonderful Henry Winkler) is in on his deadly secret, and he’s not taking it well. The shocks pile up on a show that begs to be binge-watched, but we’ll take it in weekly installments. HBO is pairing Barry with a macabre British dramedy, The Baby (10:30/9:30c), starring Michelle De Swarte as the decidedly non-maternal Natasha, whose life goes sideways when she inexplicably is entrusted with her own infant, who’s possibly cursed. If Apple’s bizarre Servant is your cup of bitter tea, this might be for you.
SUNDAY: Julia Roberts chews the copious scenery as notorious Washington, D.C. gossip Martha Mitchell in a colorful docudrama (inspired by the Slow Burn podcast) built around the 1970s Watergate scandal. A loose cannon who unsettles the tightly wound Nixon administration, mouthy Martha is the frisky wife of Attorney General John Mitchell, played under a ton of prosthetics by a nearly unrecognizable Sean Penn. Their combative relationship shreds further when she refuses to keep her opinions to herself during the fraught fallout of the bungled break-in. A who’s-who supporting cast includes Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as John Dean, Betty Gilpin as his glamorous mate Mo and Shea Whigham as an unhinged G. Gordon Liddy.
The First Lady
SUNDAY: The triptych of intertwining first-lady biopics takes a step back to reveal the path to the White House for Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson), Betty Ford (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Viola Davis). Eleanor worries she’ll be marginalized, Michelle refuses to be a “Stepford FLOTUS,” and Betty is thrown into the deep end with only days to prepare for her first state dinner.
SUNDAY: There’s a new “oldest rookie” in town. In the first of a two-part “backdoor pilot” that could result in a spinoff next season, Niecy Nash (Claws, Reno 911!) plays recent Quantico grad and FBI trainee Simone Clark. She works with LAPD Officer John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) as the L.A. division of the FBI investigates a terrorist explosion implicating one of her former students. (Before going into law enforcement, she was a school counselor.) We expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of Simone, but on her own series.
The Man Who Fell to Earth
SUNDAY: Oscar nominees Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) are a fascinating odd couple in a series version of the Walter Nevis novel that inspired David Bowie’s 1976 cult classic. He’s a newly arrived alien from a dying planet whose heightened senses make him a quick if awkward study in human behavior — think a more empathetic version of what Alan Tudyk makes funny on Resident Alien. First stop on his urgent mission to save their planets and introduce “the next step” in the evolutionary timeline: connect with Justin Falls (Harris), an underemployed scientist and engineer who must overcome her distrust of this weird creature to see the bigger picture.
Billy the Kid
SUNDAY: Here’s something you don’t see on TV much anymore: an authentic Western. Tom Blyth stars as the notorious outlaw in an epic origin story from Vikings creator Michael Hurst. The series charts the gunslinger’s path from a child (Jonah Collier) of Irish immigrants to a mythic figure whose legend is inseparable from that of the Wild West.
SUNDAY: The romantic period melodrama inspired by Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel wraps its second season with a flurry of reversals and revelations. Will Charlotte (Rose Williams) ever make a satisfying match? Will her sister Alison (Rosie Graham)? And what will next season bring? (Hoping for fresher storylines.)
Inside Weekend TV:
- George to the Rescue (Saturday, syndicated to NBC stations, check local listings): The Emmy-winning lifestyle series takes on one of its most rewarding projects when George Oliphant leads a major renovation of the Gilda’s Club facility in White Plains, N.Y. (named after famed Saturday Night Live star Gilda Radner). George’s team of contractor and design volunteers helps make the lounge spaces a more inviting environment for cancer patients and their loved ones.
- A Tail of Love (Saturday, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel): Cuddle up with a canine heartwarmer involving JR (Chris McNally), a soldier who’s come home to handle the sale of his family’s dog food company, only to learn the transaction could imperil the neighboring canine rescue run by Bella (Brittany Bristow). He loses his heart twice: to Bella and to Indie, the newly arrived retired military dog.
- Rich & Shameless (Saturday, following NBA playoffs, TNT): In “Girls Gone Wild Exposed,” the true-crime anthology looks beyond the spring break partying to the dark side of entrepreneur Joe Francis’s antics, with young women revealing they were exploited, coerced and assaulted.
- 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7/6c, CBS): Scott Pelley interviews FBI Director Christopher Wray and Anderson Cooper profiles New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
- Roseanne: Kicked Out of Hollywood (Sunday, 8/7c, 5/PT, Reelz): A special relives the highs and (more often) lows of Roseanne Barr’s turbulent career, culminating in her being fired from her own sitcom reboot.
- The Equalizer (8/7c, CBS): In a twist on 12 Angry Men, Aunt Vi (Lorraine Toussaint) is the lone holdout on a jury, believing the defendant is innocent. Robyn (Queen Latifah) goes to work outside the courtroom to prove that she’s right.
- Navalny (Sunday, 9/8c and 11/10c, CNN): A timely new documentary investigates the attempted assassination of Russian dissident and former presidential candidate Alexey Navalny, who took on Vladimir Putin and almost paid the ultimate price.
- From (9/8c, Epix): The spooky thriller about people trapped in a mysterious town ends its first season with multiple cliffhangers, including Tabitha’s (Catalina Sandino Moreno) discovery in the hole she’s been digging. What and who she finds could change everything.
- Worst Cooks in America Celebrity Edition: That’s So 90’s (Sunday, 9/8c, Food Network): Nostalgia is on the menu as stars from series of the 1990s submit to a food-oriented boot camp, playing for charity. Among those tasked in the opener to prepare a heightened version of a TV dinner: Growing Pains’ Tracey Gold, Full House’s Jodie Sweetin, Boy Meets World’s Matthew Lawrence, Elisa Donovan from Clueless, The Nanny’s Nicholle Tom, California Dreams’ Jennie Kwan, The Parent ’Hood’s Curtis Williams and All That’s Lori Beth Denberg.