'Atypical' on Netflix, TV Stands Up to Cancer, 'Harrow' on Hulu
A critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Atypical (streaming on Netflix): This lovely, heartbreakingly funny series, now in its second season, is too good to get lost in the relentless surge of Netflix programming. If you haven’t discovered it, you’re in for a treat. Keir Gilchrist is sensational in his poignant awkwardness as Sam, an 18-year-old high-schooler on the autistic spectrum who’s struggling to process all of the change in his life. Protective sister Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) has nervously decamped to a ritzy prep school on an athletic scholarship, he is no longer allowed to see his favorite therapist, Julia (Amy Okuda), and at home, mom Elsa and dad Doug (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport, both never better) have split, with a deeply hurt Doug refusing to forgive Elsa for her transgressions. The very literal and painfully honest Sam cocoons himself in streaming video of penguins in Antarctica, but circumstances keep forcing him to interact with and try to understand the “neurotypicals” in his midst. Chances are you’ll fall for him, his family and friends. Don’t miss it.
Another wave of Netflix premieres includes a second season of the critically panned Marvel series Iron Fist, and the high-school rom-com Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, starring Stranger Things’ Shannon Purser in a twist on the classic Cyrano gambit, in which a smart misfit teams with a popular classmate (Kristine Froseth) to impress her crush.
Stand Up to Cancer (8/7c, many networks, streaming live on Hulu): The annual fundraising special, spotlighting cancer research, marks 10 years since the first telecast, and once again brings out a galaxy of movie and TV stars to spread the word. Musical headliners include Stevie Wonder, Little Big Town and Charlie Wilson.
Harrow (streaming on Hulu): Fan favorite Ioan Gruffudd (Forever) returns in a hit Australian series as forensic pathologist Dr. Daniel Harrow, who goes to unconventional extremes to solve bizarre cases and bring closure to the silent witnesses he oversees. But a secret from his past forces him to use all of his skills to keep a crime buried for the sake of his family and career. Harrow has been renewed for a second season to air in 2019, and later stream on Hulu.
Inside Friday TV: ABC’s hidden-camera What Would You Do? (9/8c) tackles the current controversy over athletes taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. The scenario involves separate instances of a black and white football player telling a coach (all actors) of his intent to kneel, filmed in Kentucky and the Bronx to gauge different reactions… A good time will be had by all demon-hunters on Syfy’s Wynonna Earp (9/8c), because it’s Date Night in Purgatory … PBS’s American Masters continues its “Artists Flight” series of documentaries about noted visual artists with back-to-back premieres: Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org) profiles the maverick painter and printmaker, with Meryl Streep reading from her journals. Followed by Wyeth (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), which examines the controversial work and life of Andrew Wyeth.