RuPaul’s ‘Race’ Is On, ‘Echo’ Rescue and Apple TV+ Finales, Rita Moreno on ‘Lopez,’ Gwyneth Visits the ‘Shark Tank’
The Emmy-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race returns, now airing on MTV. The Apple TV+ action drama Echo 3 stages its long-awaited rescue, while Mythic Quest and The Mosquito Coast close out their seasons. EGOT Rita Moreno guests on Lopez vs. Lopez along with Cheech Marin. Goop entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow pays her first visit to Shark Tank.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Clear the runway for a new diva-licious display of jaw-dropping drag fabulousness, as the Emmy-winning competition returns for a 15th season on its latest platform, MTV (part of a global expansion on MTV channels in Brazil, Germany and Mexico). Ariana Grande is the guest judge for the two-part opener—the first episode is commercial-free—joining host RuPaul and regular judges Michelle Visage and Ross Mathews to welcome 16 new talents, including the first identical-twin contestants, L.A.’s Sugar and Spice. My personal favorite moniker: NYC’s Marcia Marcia Marcia. They’ll all compete in a talent show to determine who stays and who sashays away. Followed by a two-part behind-the-scenes edition of RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked (10:15/9:15c and 10:45/9:45c).
It’s the explosive episode viewers have been waiting… and waiting… and waiting for. With a squad of local mercenaries, Special Ops soldiers Bambi (Luke Evans) and Prince (Michiel Huisman) form a rescue team to retrieve the imprisoned Amber (Jessica Ann Collins) from her Venezuelan hellhole, making it look like an attack by the Colombian military. The complications mount immediately, when the team realizes they’re going to have to disrupt a party (with helpful fireworks as cover) to get to their target. If they can even find her. Also on a busy schedule for the Apple TV+ streamer: the Season 3 finale of the unconventional workplace comedy Mythic Quest (already renewed for a fourth), in which Ian (Rob McElhenney) tries to make peace with Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) while David (David Horsnby) hits a speed bump with the Mythic Quest movie; and the Season 2 finale of The Mosquito Coast, with another crisis and a big decision awaiting the fugitive Foxes in Guatemala.
Lopez vs. Lopez
I still miss Rita Moreno as the flamboyant abuela of the too-short-lived One Day at a Time revival. But we’ll take the beloved EGOT in any form, including a ghost, which is how she appears in a guest shot as George’s dearly departed but not-at-peace grandmother. Cheech Marin also guests as a curandero shaman enlisted to determine the nature of the Lopez’s haunted house. (Turns out Grandma has a bone to pick with George.)
Look who’s swimming with the sharks this week: Goop CEO/founder and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow. She’ll bring her wellness perspective to pitches including a healthy version of a breakfast food, an eco-friendly baby product and a low-cal superfood alternative.
Things get personal on the long-running family police drama when Frank (Tom Selleck) and his grandson Joe (Will Hochman) rise up to protect the memory of Joe’s fallen father, Joe Reagan. Bonnie Somerville guests as Joe’s mom, Paula Hill, in an episode directed by series star Bridget Moynahan, whose character Erin teams with grandpa Henry (Len Cariou) to take down a phone scammer targeting the elderly.
Boys in Blue
An inspiring series about a ravaged community coming together through sport arrives at a troubling time for football fans in the wake of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin’s alarming collapse on Monday. Friday Night Lights filmmaker Peter Berg emphasizes the personal in this four-part chronicle of North High School football players in North Minneapolis, where the mostly Black team contends with the legacy of the George Floyd murder while being coached and mentored by members of the city’s police department.
Inside Friday TV:
- The U.S. and the Holocaust (9/8c, PBS): In case you missed it last year, the acclaimed three-part documentary from Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein about America’s conflicted response to the European humanitarian and refugee crisis during World War II will be repeated over the next three Fridays.
- Nancy Drew: Detective (8/7c, Turner Classic Movies): As part of a weekly lineup (Fridays through January) of vintage movies featuring female detectives, the teenage Carolyn Keene trailblazer is featured in a series of four films from 1938 and 1939, starring Bonita Granville as the plucky Nancy.
- BMF (8/7c, Starz): As the second season opens of the fact-based drama about brothers who emerge from the Detroit drug trade to become hip-hop influencers, Meech (Demetrius Flenory Jr.) smuggles drugs from Vegas while brother Terry (Da’Vinchi) is trying to go straight with Charles (Russell Hornsby) in a car-ride business.
- Fire Country (9/8c, CBS): Cal Fire launches an internal investigation after a fatality during a difficult rescue.
- All the Single Ladies (9/8c, OWN): A new series gathers four Black women each week to discuss trenchant topics involving relationships, starting with “Side Chicks,” a candid roundtable about infidelity. This follows the Season 7 premiere of Ready to Love (8/7c), returning to Miami to follow 16 singles looking for a soulmate.
- True Crime Watch: ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) digs into the 2016 Texas murder of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong and wife Dawn, including Matt Gutman’s first network interview with son and prime suspect AJ, who’s facing a third capital murder trail after two hung juries. On Dateline NBC (9/8c), Andrea Canning reports on the 2015 Christmas-week murder in Connecticut of Connie Debate, a case cracked by evidence supplied from her Fitbit.
On the Stream:
- The Pale Blue Eye (streaming on Netflix): Christian Bale stars as a world-weary detective who teams with West Point cadet Edgar Allen Poe (Harry Melling) in 1830 to solve a series of gruesome murders at the academy in an adaptation of Louis Bayard’s novel. Co-stars include Robert Duvall and Gillian Anderson.
- Also new to Netflix: Pressure Cooker, a reality hybrid of Top Chef and Big Brother in which 11 pro chefs live and cook together in a competition where the only judges are each other. And if you missed it on AMC, the 11th and final season of The Walking Dead is now available for streaming.
- She Said (streaming on Peacock): Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan are New York Times investigative reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, whose work helped ignite the #MeToo movement, in a film now available for streaming after being released in theaters in November.