What’s Worth Watching: ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ on PBS, ‘Tig’ on Netflix, Sports Highlights and more for Friday July 17 and Saturday July 18

Great Performances
Broadway Near You LLC/PBS
Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones

Great Performances, “Driving Miss Daisy” (Friday, July 17, 9/8c PBS)

With James Earl Jones behind the wheel, his robust personality and booming voice bringing new vitality to the role of chauffeur/life force Hoke, the Pulitzer Prize-winning chestnut Driving Miss Daisy becomes a marvelous master class of tremendous character acting in a Great Performances revival, with the equally legendary Angela Lansbury as the fussy title character. (She replaces the starchier Vanessa Redgrave, who co-starred opposite Jones on Broadway in the acclaimed 2010 production). Boyd Gaines provides poignant counterpoint to Hoke and Daisy’s slow-burning codependence as Daisy’s son Boolie, completing a small cast that boasts an impressive 11 Tony Award wins among them.

The simplicity of the show’s staging only reinforces its emotional power in this filmed Australian stage production, which tracks the relationship of Hoke and Daisy from the late 1940s, when Hoke is hired to drive the cantankerous Southern Jewish widow from Atlanta against her wishes, to the early ’70s, when the infirm Daisy regards him as her only remaining friend. It was not always so. Daisy initially regards Hoke with suspicion, but as he slowly wins her over, both are revealed as outsiders in their changing society over the decades—with the burning of Daisy’s liberal synagogue a turning point in their relationship. Would we warm up to this story again if we didn’t already love and admire these actors so much? Thankfully, we’ll never need to know.

A COMEDY SURVIVOR: “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you?” With those bald, bold words introducing a revealing August 2012 stand-up set that became the stuff of instant comedy legend, Tig Notaro went from being a modestly successful deadpan comedian to a national sensation. The warmly intimate and hopeful documentary Tig, available on Netflix starting Friday, follows her journey over the following year, as she confronts devastating personal loss and illness with tart, self-deflating humor, while nervously preparing a comeback concert on the anniversary of her breakthrough at the same Los Angeles theater. Tig is also a touching love story, as a new relationship blooms and Notaro considers starting a family. “You might as well take chances,” says this survivor, who knows better than most that getting on with life is the best way to have the last laugh.

Also Friday
Bojack Horseman, Season premiere, Netflix

Bojack’s comeback as the title character in a Secretariat biopic puts the equine’s acting career on a new track.

Also Saturday
The Bride He Bought Online, 8/7c, Lifetime

In this TV-movie, three popular girls create a fake profile on a dating site and seduce a lonely computer programmer, who turns out to be missing more than a few gigabytes. Hey, what’s the “in” sneaker to wear when you’re running for your life?

Sports Highlights

Golf 4am/3c and 7am/6c, ESPN British Open
Pan American Games 8/7c, ESPN2 Various sports

Golf 7am/6c and 9am/8c, ESPN British Open
MLB Baseball 4/3c, Fox Sports 1 Dodgers at Nationals
NASCAR Racing4/3c, NBCSN Xfinity Series in Loudon, New Hampshire
MLB Baseball 7/6c, Fox Sports 1 Indians at Reds
Pan American Games 7/6c, ESPN2 Various sports
IndyCar Racing 8/7c, NBCSN IndyCar Series in Newton, Iowa