Horror on TV as ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ Return, Finales of Olympics and ‘Victoria’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
The Walking Dead (Sunday, 9/8c, AMC): Carl, we hardly knew ye. Which isn’t exactly true. We watched the kid (Chandler Riggs) grow up on the show over the last eight seasons, and believed he was one of the few untouchables among the ensemble of forever-endangered heroes. But now we know better. Gone too soon? Most definitely. As the monster hit returns to finish out the season, Team Rick must face the fact that Carl isn’t going to survive the zombie bite he displayed in the midseason cliffhanger. This promises to be one sad farewell, and the only thing that might mitigate it is for the show to rid us of that tiresome cackling villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) once and for all. We know life isn’t fair in Dead’s cruel post-apocalyptic world, but it really is time to move on from this endless succession of shoot-em-ups.
Ash vs. Evil Dead (Sunday, 9/8c, Starz): Or you could opt for the wackier shriekfest of the Evil Dead spinoff, which also deals with family matters as the third season opens with a surprise for Ash (Bruce Campbell): a teenage daughter (Arielle Carver-O’Neill) he never knew about. Oh goody: Someone else to protect from the Deadites with his trusty chainsaw appendage.
Notes From the Field (Saturday 8/7c, HBO): Anyone who has seen Anna Deavere Smith’s one-person shows knows to expect a cross-section of humanity in her deeply personal explorations of social issues. So it is in her latest off-Broadway play, filmed for TV as she embodies 18 distinct characters, drawn from interviews across the country, to investigate the school-to-prison pipeline that so often consigns underprivileged youths from the classroom to the jail cell. Smith captures the essence of real-life activists, inmates, educators and even legendary Congressman John Lewis.
Winter Olympics: A banner final weekend for fans of figure-skating analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir and their straight-man sidekick Terry Gannon. Saturday’s prime-time lineup (8/7c) includes coverage of the Figure Skating gala event, with return appearances by top skaters no longer spinning and leaping under pressure. The trio returns Sunday to host the Closing Ceremonies (8/7c), at which time the torch will be passed to Beijing in advance of the 2022 Winter Games.
Victoria (Sunday, 9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Ending as many British costume dramas do with a special Christmas episode, the second season of the deluxe biographical series ends during the Yuletide of 1846, with many a romantic subplot amid the festivities. And a new tradition is born when Albert (Tom Hughes) introduces Christmas trees to the royal court.
Inside Weekend TV: Headlines from CBS News: Margaret Brennan takes over as full-time moderator of the venerable Face the Nation (Sunday, 10:30 am/9:30c, check local listings), while continuing as the network’s senior foreign affairs correspondent based in Washington, D.C. … Reports on CBS’s 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7/6c) include a profile of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, and on a much more serious note, video footage of a 2017 sarin gas attack on Syrian civilians. … In the world of fictional Washington intrigue, new National Security Adviser Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) engineers a tense face-to-face meeting with rabid conspiracy-theorist vlogger Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber) on Showtime’s Homeland (Sunday, 9/8c). Negotiations like this rarely go well, and the same can be said for Carrie’s (Claire Danes) ineffective meds, which sends her on another downward spiral.