A 'Wicked' Undercover Boss, a 'Bombshell' on PBS, Happily Ever After for 'Once Upon a Time'
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition (8/7c, CBS): We know she can “Let It Go” and cast a spell while “Defying Gravity,” but can Broadway, movie and TV triple-threat Idina Menzel hide her superstar light while playing incognito? In the new iteration of the long-running reality show, the singer/actress seeks the next singular Broadway sensation while disguised as a receptionist who years to break into musical theater. Along the way, she moonlights as a wedding singer and puts on a chicken suit to deliver a singing telegram. Which is called being a good sport.
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Few knew that Hollywood siren Hedy Lamarr, the Delilah to Victor Mature’s Sampson, had a gift for inventing new technologies. And when during World War II, this Austrian Jewish emigrant designed a pioneering frequency-hopping communication system to combat the Nazis, she was never given the credit she deserved. (Her breakthrough is the inspiration for modern tech including Wifi, GPS and Bluebooth.) This American Masters special honors her untold story with the help of never-before-heard audio tapes discovered by episode director Alexandra Dean and producer Adam Haggiag. Among those interviewed about this brainy legendary beauty: friends Mel Brooks and late TCM host Robert Osborne.
Once Upon a Time (8/7c, ABC): Some very familiar faces from this played-out fairy-tale fantasy’s heyday return for the series finale, including Jennifer Morrison (Emma), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow) and Josh Dallas (Charming). The main Storybrooke storyline involves Regina (Lana Parrilla) plotting to stop Rumple (Robert Carlyle) from executive his evil plan, while the villain’s alter ego Weaver hopes to vanquish his dark side and reunite with Belle (Emilie de Ravin). Surely a “happily ever after” is in store after all these seasons.
13 Reasons Why (streaming on Netflix): Last year’s provocative teen tragedy about a student’s shocking suicide, exposing a high school’s poisonous subculture of sexual abuse and bullying, returns for a painfully overextended, sluggish second season with diminishing results. Lacking the hook of Hannah’s (Katherine Langford) 13 tapes, this wallow in angst is too much of more of the same.
Inside Friday TV: As royal romantics prepare for Saturday’s main event, the TV hype machine is in overdrive, with specials including The CW’s Harry and Meghan: A Love Story (8/7c) and an all-nighter on TLC including Prince Harry: Wild No More (8/7c) followed by Meghan Markle: A Royal Love Story (9/8c) and Secrets of the Royal Wedding (10/9c). … CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 (9/8c) fears Russian interference in the eighth-season finale when a nuclear attack submarine appears off the coast of Waikiki. … Cinemax’s reverse-chronology mystery thriller Rellik (10/9c) reaches back to the story’s beginnings to reveal the killer in the season finale.