A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar (Saturday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Need a little uplift? With the Winter Olympics only days away, Lifetime offers an inspirational biopic of the gold-medal gymnast, played by Jeanté Godlock, based on her own autobiography. Tisha Campbell-Martin and Julius Tennon co-star as her parents.
Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water (Saturday, 10/9c, CBS): 48 Hours is making news with its update into the investigation of Wood’s 1981 drowning death. Investigators tell correspondent Erin Moriarty that Wood’s then-husband Robert Wagner is now a "person of interest."
Real life cases to serve as inspiration for Ryan Murphy's FX series.
Kitten Bowl V (Sunday, noon/11c, Hallmark Channel) and Puppy Bowl XIV (3 pm/2c/noon PT, Animal Planet): Animal lovers can take a respite from Super Bowl hype with whimsical competitions involving rescue pets.
Victoria (Sunday, 9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org): One of the few shows airing original episodes opposite the Super Bowl is PBS’s defiant Masterpiece, with a new episode of Victoria in which Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) deals with the Irish potato famine.
How to avoid missing every heart-wrenching moment from the season's biggest episode.
This Is Us (Sunday, approximately 10:15/9:15c, NBC): Most Sunday Bowl Sundays end merely in heartburn. But for the Pearsons, the family at the core of NBC’s beloved and emotional hit drama, we now know a fateful Super Bowl Sunday of 20 years ago ended in fiery tragedy. Capping what is always TV’s most watched night of the year, the one time TV commercials send people running to as opposed to fleeing the TV—at $5 million a pop for 30 seconds of time, they hope we’re paying attention—This Is Us will follow the conclusion of the Patriots-Eagles game, by which time we’ll know if everyone kept their clothes on during Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance. So as cheers for the winning team dissolve into tears for the Pearsons, NBC anoints This Is Us as the show of the moment, getting the year’s biggest platform to present what may be the most pivotal episode yet for a series, and a TV family, much of America has taken to its heart.