Show-Stopper Sutton Foster in ‘Anything Goes,’ The ‘Kids’ Are Back, ‘Essex Serpent,’ ‘Lincoln Lawyer’
Sutton Foster’s Tony-winning performance in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes is captured by Great Performances in a London production. Canadian sketch-comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall reunite with a new sketch-comedy series. Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston star in Apple’s atmospheric period drama The Essex Serpent. Netflix adapts Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer.
Forget the silly farcical plot. This giddy stage production of Cole Porter’s frothy 1930s musical, presented by Great Performances from last year’s London production, preserves Sutton Foster’s Tony-winning triumph as brassy Reno Sweeney, the wisecracking entertainer aboard an ocean liner full of dancing fools. Belting classic tunes (“You’re the Top,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” the indelible title song) while tapping her way into musical-comedy heaven, Foster (currently packing Broadway houses opposite Hugh Jackman in The Music Man) is a joy to behold, and Anything Goes is a guaranteed two-and-a-half-hour grin.
The Kids in the Hall
“Am I still the cute one?” wonders Dave Foley as he and his Kids in the Hall co-stars (Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson) are exhumed after a nearly 30-year TV hiatus. And so begins an eight-episode revival of the Canadian troupe’s subversively funny, Monty Python-laced brand of sketch comedy. They’re kids no longer, and that’s part of the joke, whether they’re playing office workers Kathy and Cathy (mournfully sending their very last fax) or dodging a barrage of coins being thrown when they shamelessly attempt pole-dancing as they hit their 60s. Their humor has lost none of its bizarre bite.
The Essex Serpent
Claire Danes (Homeland) stars in an atmospheric six-part adaptation of Sarah Perry’s novel as the newly widowed Cora Seaborne, who’s a step ahead of her Victorian times as she pursues her passion of natural history by leaving London with her withdrawn young son to investigate claims of a mythical sea serpent among the mist-shrouded marshes of Essex. Her admirer, pioneering London surgeon Luke Garrett (Fear the Walking Dead’s Frank Dillane), tries to understand her fascination with the possibility of a “living fossil,” while local vicar Will Ransom (Loki’s Tom Hiddleston) tries to dissuade Cora’s curiosity, dismayed when his congregation succumbs to fear and superstition after a local girl goes missing. There’s nothing quaint about this unsettling, beautifully produced Masterpiece-style drama.
The Lincoln Lawyer
Having enjoyed Bosch for years, I had high hopes for this adaptation of another series based on Michael Connelly’s compelling crime fiction. But The Lincoln Lawyer, about a charismatic lawyer (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) who uses his Lincoln Town Car as his portable office, is running on empty almost from the start. Garcia-Rulfo is handsome though stiff, and no matter how many miles he puts on the odometer, the routine storytelling rarely shifts above neutral. (In the books, he’s Bosch’s half-brother. Because these series air on separate streaming services, don’t expect a crossover even if this lasts.)
Connelly fans are on much more solid ground in this spinoff, already at the midpoint of its first season. The pivotal fifth and sixth chapters bring new urgency to Harry Bosch’s (Titus Welliver) cases involving the wishes of ailing billionaire Whitney Vance (William Devane) and the pipeline-siphoning schemes of hedge-fund villain Carl Rogers (Michael Rose). Be on the lookout for another familiar face from the original Bosch series to lend Harry a hand when he needs it.
Also on the Stream:
- Sneakerella (streaming on Disney+): A hip-hop and gender-reversed twist on the Cinderella legend takes us to Queens, where would-be sneaker designer El (Chosen Jacobs) toils as a shoe-store stock boy until his path fatefully crosses that of Kira King (Lexi Underwood), daughter of a sneaker dynasty. Let the magic begin.
- Firestarter (streaming on Peacock): Let’s look past the fact that Zac Efron is now playing dad roles to consider that it’s been nearly 40 years since the first film version of Stephen King’s potboiler. This remake, also being shown in theaters, stars Efron as the protective father of daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), whose pyrokinetic ability to start fires with her mind puts her on the radar of sinister government goons.
- Senior Year (streaming on Netflix): Co-written by Ghosts breakout star Brandon Scott Jones, this comedy stars Rebel Wilson as a cheerleader who goes all Rip Van Winkle after taking a tumble. Awakening 20 years later, she’s determined to finish high school at age 37 with dreams of prom-queen stardom unabated.
- Hank Zipzer (streaming on HBO Max): Henry Winkler’s childhood inspired his book series about a dyslexic 12-year-old hero, adapted by the BBC into a series that ran from 2014 to 2016. All three seasons are available for binge-watching, starring Nick James as the resourceful Nick and Winkler as his supportive music teacher, Mr. Rock. (Ted Lasso’s Nick Mohammed appears as another teacher, Mr. Love.)
Inside Friday TV:
- Quantum Leap (starts at 6 am/5c, Syfy): A reboot of the time-travel sci-fi fan favorite (starring Raymond Lee) is heading to NBC next season. Until then, enjoy 24-hour Friday marathons of the 1989-93 original, starring Scott Bakula and the late Dean Stockwell, starting with the first season.
- Couples Therapy (8/7c, Showtime): The fascinating reality show is back with four couples—including a Broadway dancer and a preacher’s grandson trying to break a pattern of conflict—seeking the guidance of psychologist and psychotherapist Orna Guralnik.
- The Blacklist (8/7c, NBC): Still seeking answers about the nature of his enemy, Red (James Spader) turns to the Task Force to help ground a flying fortress bank.
- True Crime Watch: ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) revisits the crimes of serial killer Henry Louis Wallace, still on death row 25 years after his conviction. The report includes never-shown footage of Wallace being interviewed by criminal profiler Ann Burgess before his trial. On Dateline NBC (9/8c), Keith Morrison updates the investigation into the 2016 murder of North Carolina plastic surgeon Dr. Frank “Buddy” McCutcheon.
- Real Time with Bill Maher (10/9c, HBO): Rock Hall-of-Famer Rod Stewart drops by for an interview on the eve of launching his North American summer tour, “The Hits.”
- A Black Lady Sketch Show (11/10c, HBO): Robin Thede’s raucous sketch comedy wraps the third season as well as the season-long sketch about four ladies trapped in a luxury penthouse.