Sci-Fi (‘Trek’ Finale, ‘Moonhaven,’) ABC Plays Games (‘Press Your Luck, ‘Generation Gap’), ‘Old Man,’ ‘Fatal Flaw’
Sci-fi streaming highlights include Star Trek: Strange New Worlds wrapping its first season of classic space opera, while AMC+ launches the more ponderous Moonhaven. ABC’s summer game-show mania brings Press Your Luck back for a new season, paired with the witless Generation Gap. FX’s recently renewed The Old Man continues with reckonings among the major characters. ABC launches a monthlong true-crime 20/20 spinoff, The Fatal Flaw.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
As Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike, Anson Mount is already staking his claim as one of the Trek franchise’s most memorable, engaging and inspiring leaders. In the Season 1 finale, that goes double, when he’s visited by his future self in a provocative and pivotal episode that brings into focus some iconic figures of Trek legend, heroic and villainous. When Pike is motivated to try to alter the dark future he has glimpsed for himself and others, Future Pike gives him a chance to witness the potential consequences, and it won’t be pretty. As he tells Spock (Ethan Peck), “The only way to discover the terrible future is to live it.” Buckle up for an adventure that caps a first-rate season of classic space opera.
Those who prefer their science fiction to be more deliberative, even pretentious, may have their patience tested by this ponderous mash-up of faux utopian world-building and galactic crime drama. Lost alum Dominic Monaghan is a wry standout as Detective Paul Sarno, tasked with partner Arlo Noon (A Different World’s Kadeem Hardison) to solve a very rare murder within the Eden-esque bubble of Moonhaven, an AI-controlled lush paradise on the Moon whose community seeks solutions to the apocalyptic mess down on Earth. The arrival of cynical pilot Bella Swan (Emma McDonald) is destined to send the investigation into overdrive.
ABC’s quest to turn its summer lineup into a new Game Show Network takes a steep dive into cutesy cringe comedy in this painfully bloated new enterprise from producers Jimmy Kimmel (whose interplay with kids on his late-night show is actually funny) and Mark Burnett. Paired with the fourth season of Press Your Luck (8/7c), Gap strains for laughs as it quizzes seniors and juniors—in the pilot, 70something grand-relatives and their barely-teenage offspring—to answer pop-culture questions pertaining to each other’s peer group. (Somewhat hilariously, no one young or old can identify Kid Cudi.) Host Kelly Ripa tries and fails to keep the mood bubbly, and the hour crashes to a halt when “secret celebrity” Ryan Seacrest appears in a tongue-in-cheek effort to get the teams to guess his identity, as if there were any doubt.
The Old Man
The action slows down in the fifth chapter of the cat-and-mouse thriller, recently renewed for a second season, as both sides of the chase take a pause to reflect on recent developments while all roads lead to Middle East warlord Faraz Hamzad (Navid Negahban). It’s a talky hour, but with actors as accomplished as Jeff Bridges and Amy Brenneman (as the newly rechristened Henry and Marcia Dixon), and John Lithgow and Alia Shawkat (as FBI assistant director Harold Harper and his dual-identity protégé Angela/Emily), it’s still mostly engrossing as secrets are spilled and tough choices are made.
The Fatal Flaw
Over four Thursdays in July, a spinoff of true-crime newsmagazine 20/20 examines the fateful missteps made by killers in their efforts to cover their tracks. With commentary from authorities and journalists, ABC News correspondents and legal analysts including Elizabeth Vargas, Ryan Smith and Matt Murphy dissect these cases, using miniature dollhouses to reenact the crimes and reveal the clues.
Inside Thursday TV:
- This Is Going to Hurt (streaming on AMC+): In the penultimate chapter of the brilliant dark medical dramedy, Adam (Ben Whishaw) is a month into his break-up when he’s tapped to do a shift at a posh private hospital, while an exhausted and dejected Shruti (Ambika Mod) is alone on the night shift in the NHS labor ward.
- The Doctor Blake Mysteries (8 am/7c, Ovation TV): The first season of the Australian crime drama (2013-17), set in the late 1950s, begins airing in four-episode blocks. Craig McLachlan stars as WWII vet Dr. Lucian Blake, who returns home after 30 years to take over his late father’s medical practice and role as Police Surgeon.
- Good Trouble (10/9c, Freeform): The Fosters spinoff returns with new episodes, just in time for teacher-turned-burlesque dancer Davia (Emma Hunton) to embrace her new burst of confidence and finally tell Dennis (Josh Pence) how she feels.