‘Yellowstone’ Returns, Stallone Is the ‘Tulsa King,’ ‘Vampire’ Finale, ‘Rogue Heroes’ on Epix
Cable’s biggest hit Yellowstone is back, with Kevin Costner’s Montana rancher now in the Governor’s seat. Sylvester Stallone plays a New York mobster relocating to Oklahoma in Tulsa King. The first season of Interview with the Vampire ends with a lavish (and bloody) Mardi Gras ball. Epix launches a series about Rogue Heroes forming the maverick Special Air Service unit during World War II.
SUNDAY: If Dallas had been rated R for language and adult content, it might have looked and sounded like Taylor Sheridan’s runaway cable hit, which returns for a fifth season with back-to-back episodes, as rancher John Dutton (a gravelly Kevin Costner) is unhappily sworn in as Montana’s governor. Hardly a natural or enthusiastic politician, John is mainly concerned in wielding whatever power he has to save his ranch—and his precious state from interlopers like Market Equities’ rapacious CEO Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver), who’s out for blood when John starts canceling deals. Caught in the middle: adopted son and attorney general Jamie (Wes Bentley), who all sides see as the weakest link. Growls his barracuda sister Beth, now chief of staff: “I’m about to work you like a rented mule, brother.” Family conflict and tragedy dominate the season premiere, with just enough intrigue back on the ranch to remind us that this is still a modern Western.
SUNDAY: Also from Taylor Sheridan, in cahoots with Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos veteran Terence Winter, is a much lighter caper starring Sylvester Stallone in his first major TV role as Dwight “The General” (named after Eisenhower) Manfredi, an East Coast mafia capo who kept his mouth shut like a good soldier during a 25-year prison stint. And what’s his reward? Being shipped to the buckle of the Bible Belt in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he’s charged to form a new criminal outfit. He starts by offering “protection” to a pot dispensary run by stoner Bodhi (a dryly funny Martin Starr), but first Dwight has to get in sync with a world of iPhones, businesses that don’t accept cash and street signs telling you to “wait” out loud. Stallone is amusing as a swaggering fish out of water, an honorable thug who lives by his own code of ethics. But try to stay on his good side. Sample Dwight-ism: “Call me buzzkill again and I will rearrange your kidneys.”
Interview with the Vampire
SUNDAY: The opulent supernatural drama pulls out the stops, and pours on the blood, in the baroque Season 1 finale, staged around a decadent Mardi Gras ball that Claudia (Bailey Bass) suggests as a farewell gift to the city that has begun to turn on them. It’s also a cover for her plot with “father” Louis (Jacob Anderson) to take down their 179-year-old vampire sire and tormentor Lestat (Sam Reid). “Could the children murder the father?” muses Louis to his scribe, Daniel (Eric Bogosian). A final twist sets the stage for a second season that I’m already impatient to see.
SUNDAY: Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight tells the outrageous fact-based story of a maverick WWII unit, the SAS (Special Air Service), in a six-part series with echoes of The Dirty Dozen in its jaunty spirit. “We have a license to behave badly,” crows the puckish Lt. David Stirling (Connor Swindells) as he engineers a scheme to paratroop into the Libyan desert behind enemy lines. With daredevil tactician Jock Lewes (Game of Thrones’ Alfie Allen) along to break the rules and cause mayhem, it’s only a matter of time before they can win over crazed commando Paddy Mayne (Jack O’Connell) to their risky mission.
The Yule Log:
- Let’s start with a tearjerker. In Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Our Italian Christmas Memories (Saturday, 10/9c), Emmy winner Beau Bridges is a widower whose grandkids try to re-create his late wife’s pasta sauce to spark his memory as he struggles with dementia. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
- From Hallmark Channel: The Royal Nanny (Saturday, 8/7c) stars Batwoman’s Rachel Skarsten as an MI5 agent who goes undercover as a royal babysitter, protecting the family at Christmastime while trying not to fall for Prince Colin (Dan Jeannotte). In Christmas at the Golden Dragon (Sunday, 8/7c), a family rallies to keep their Chinese restaurant open.
- From Lifetime: Once upon a time an ill-fated Grey’s Anatomy couple, Sarah Drew and Justin Bruening star in Reindeer Games Homecoming (Saturday, 8/7c) as competitors in a Vermont fundraising tradition. In Six Degrees of Santa (Sunday, 8/7c), Kathryn Davis is a single mom and secret Santa who warms the heart of a tech mogul (Steve Lund) with her special gift.
- From Great American Family: Hallmark defectors Jill Wagner and Cameron Mathison star in A Merry Christmas Wish (Saturday, 8/7c), when a New York ad exec heads home to sell her family farm—and you can take it from there. In My Best Friend’s Christmas (Sunday, 8/7c), Breanne Hill is so thrown when she goes home and finds her ex dating someone, she asks her best friend (Colton Little) to play fake boyfriend. You can take it from there.
- From UPtv: A Tiny Home Christmas (Saturday, 7/6c) reunites a couple who once co-hosted a home-design TV show when they work together to build a home for the unsheltered. In The Picture of Christmas (Sunday, 7/6c), a storybook illustrator inherits her grandmother’s Christmas tree farm.
Inside Weekend TV:
- The Walking Dead: The Making of the Final Season (Sunday, 8/7c, AMC, also streaming on AMC+): In advance of the horror series’ penultimate episode (9/8c), in which a zombie swarm creates more havoc, cast members, creators and crew open up about 11 seasons of filming, including reflections on the early days when The Walking Dead exploded as an instant phenomenon. Among the participants: fan faves Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan.
- 48 Hours (Saturday, 10/9c): DNA evidence in a cigarette butt helps a genetic genealogist solve a 34-year-old cold case in Michigan.
- Saturday Night Live (Saturday, 11:30/10:30c, 8:30/PT, NBC): Controversial comedian Dave Chappelle returns to host for the third time. Black Star is musical guest.
- 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7/6c, CBS): Sharyn Alfonsi reports on the ongoing investigations surrounding the collapse of a 12-story condominium in Surfside, Fla., and its impact on condo owners throughout the state.
- Celebrity Jeopardy! (Sunday, 8/7c, ABC): While the daily show’s Tournament of Champions continues, the second celebrity semifinal pits game-show host John Michael Higgins against Wil Wheaton and Joel Kim Booster.
- NCIS: Los Angeles (Sunday, 10/9c): When Rear Admiral Ted Gordon (John O’Hurley) is kidnapped from his home, the team revs into action. On the domestic front, Kensi (Daniela Ruah) tries to be the “fun parent” while Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) is off apartment hunting with his mom.
- Michelle Obama: The Light We Carry, A Conversation with Robin Roberts (Sunday, 10/9c, ABC): The former First Lady sits with the GMA host for an interview, promoting her new book The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times. She also participates in a kitchen-table roundtable that includes her own mother.