‘Good Fight’ Takes on TV, ‘Trading Spaces’ Returns, ‘Black Panther’ on ‘SNL,’ ‘Howards End’ and ‘Killing Eve’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
The Good Fight (Sunday, CBS All Access): One of the brightest, sharpest, most consistently entertaining and smart shows anywhere on the TV spectrum is the Good Wife spinoff, on fire in its second “kill the lawyers”-themed season. Though terrific new cast member Audra McDonald is missing this week, it’s a sensational hour that takes aim at TV—particularly the sort of talking-head punditry that defines so much “news” these days. Leave it to Diane (Christine Baranski) to quote Gore Vidal: “Never pass up the chance to have sex or appear on television.” And so, when law partner Adrian (the formidable Delroy Lindo) becomes an instant viral hit on a cable legal-affairs show, it changes the way he’s perceived by his peers—and by the jury of a case presided over by an amusingly patronizing judge (Veep’s Matt Walsh) who keeps informing the jury that trials aren’t “as interesting as TV.” Unless they are. But Adrian’s not the sort of personality who follows a script, so expect fireworks. Madam Secretary’s much-missed Bebe Neuwirth guests as a judge in a separate case pitting pregnant Lucca (Cush Jumbo) against the estranged baby daddy, Colin (Justin Bartha).
Trading Spaces (Saturday, 8/7c, HGTV): The show that once defined the home makeover genre is back after a 10-year hiatus, with Paige Davis returning as host, Doug Wilson and Hildi Santo-Tomas designing, and carpenters Ty Pennington and Carter Oosterhouse doing the heavy lifting. In the opener, the teams work on homes for sisters in Los Angeles who live next door to each other.
Saturday Night Live (Saturday, 11:30/10:30c, NBC): You knew this was coming: Chadwick Boseman, star of the year’s biggest movie blockbuster Black Panther (and soon to participate in Avengers: Infinity War), has accepted the invitation to guest-host SNL for the first time. The star power continues with first-time musical guest Cardi B, a breakout personality (co-hosting Monday’s The Tonight Show) who SNL would be nuts not to feature in an at least one sketch or video.
Howards End (Sunday, 8/7c, Starz): A new four-part adaptation of the E.M. Forster classic (penned by Kenneth Lonergan) about class division and family intrigue is like a sampler of what we love best about British drama. Hayley Atwell and Philippa Coulthard star as the independent Schlegel sisters, whose lives intertwine with the affluent Wilcox family (Julia Ormond, Matthew Macfadyen) in romantic and tragic ways.
Killing Eve (Sunday, 8/7c, BBC America): Orphan Black may be history, but filling the void of female-driven action-adventure is Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy), making a smashing return to TV in Pheobe Waller-Bridge’s (Fleabag) stylishly surprising spy thriller. She’s a frustrated half-American MI5 agent seeking excitement. And she gets her wish when she goes on the hunt for international assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer), whose kinky trail of high-profile victims stretches from Vienna to Tuscany to Berlin.
Inside Weekend TV: Al Pacino is reliably fascinating in HBO’s Paterno (Saturday, 8/7c) as the legendary Penn State coach, stewing in confused irritation as his reputation and career crumble in the wake of the child sexual-abuse scandal involving his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. Unfortunately, his downfall pales next to the enormity of Sandusky’s crimes, which makes the movie feel as myopic as its subject. … Oprah Winfrey takes CBS’s 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7/6) to Montgomery, Ala., for a preview of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, commemorating more than 4,300 victims of racial lynching in the 70 years following the Civil War. … My favorite new comedy, HBO’s Barry (Sunday, 10:30/9:30c), finds its hit-man hero (Bill Hader) more torn than ever between his bloody professional obligations and his struggles in acting class. Will Gene’s (Henry Winkler) suggestion of “10 ccs of pure Mamet” break Barry out of his shell? If only they knew Barry’s life makes Mamet’s bleeping world look timid by comparison.