RuPaul’s All-Stars, ‘Roma’ to Netflix, Lucy and Dick Van Dyke Classics, k.d. lang sings ‘Ingenue’
A critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (9/8c, VH1): They’d better werk it, because not every drag glamazon gets a second shot at glory. In the fourth all-star round of the Emmy-winning competition series, 10 queens who fell short in earlier seasons try again. Among the fan favorites returning: Farrah Moan, Monét X Change, Manilu Luzon and “large and in charge, chunky yet funky” Latrice Royale.
Roma (streaming on Netflix): A rare chance to see a first-run movie with serious Oscar buzz at home, as Alfonso Cuarón’s sumptuous black-and-white art-house film — in Spanish, with subtitles — premieres after a limited run in movie theaters. Small moments feel epic in this moving, quietly devastating chronicle of domestic servant Cleo (Yalitza Aparacio in a luminous acting debut) and the Mexico City family she serves and lives with in the early 1970s, an homage inspired by the filmmaker’s own middle-class childhood.
Among other Netflix premieres on a typically overstuffed Friday: a special “Midwinter’s Tale” episode of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina; new seasons of Fuller House and Travelers; Netflix’s first Australian series, Tidelands, a supernatural mystery set in a fishing village beset by drug smugglers and a nearby commune of half-Siren/half-human Tidelanders; a docu-series The Innocent Man, based on John Grisham’s non-fiction best-seller, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town; and on a lighter note, The Fix, a panel show in which comics led by Jimmy Carr, D.L. Hughley and Katherine Ryan take on the world’s woes.
I Love Lucy Christmas Special (8/7c, CBS): The network continues its annual tradition of reaching back to its classic comedy vaults and colorizing beloved episodes. Once again, the flashback-heavy “Christmas Episode” from 1956 (not rediscovered until 1989) leads off the package, followed by the newly colorized “Pioneer Women” fan favorite from 1952, with Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ethel (Vivian Vance) betting their husbands they can do things the old-fashioned way — like baking bread, which goes hilariously awry.
Followed by a new edition of The Dick Van Dyke Show — Now in Living Color! (9/8c), featuring two memorable episodes picked by series creator Carl Reiner to showcase Van Dyke’s gift at physical comedy. The first, “Where Did I Come From,” aired during the show’s first season, with little Richie (Larry Matthews) asking parents Rob (Van Dyke) and Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) that very basic question — triggering memories of the days before their son’s birth. The second, 1965’s “Never Bathe on Sunday,” recalls how the Petries’ second honeymoon was disrupted when Laura got her toe stuck in a bathtub spout.
k.d. lang — Landmarks Live in Concert (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): The distinctive singer-songwriter relives her breakthrough album with a concert performance celebrating the 25th anniversary of 1992’s acclaimed Ingenue. The Great Performances special, filmed at San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre, includes signature tunes including “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine,” as well as Leonard Cohen’s iconic “Hallejulah” and the previously unreleased “Sleeping Alone” by lang and Joe Pisapia.
‘Tis the Season: Among the night’s very special Christmas episodes and specials: Eddie (Hudson Yang) clashes with mother Jessica (Constance Wu) when he wants to skip the family’s Christmas dinner and spend the holiday with his friend Nicole in New York on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat (8/7c)… A Christmas tree fire and an ensuing lie spell trouble on ABC’s Speechless (8:30/7:30c), with guest appearances by Niecy Nash and Lisa Leslie as Kenneth’s (Cedric Yarbrough) sisters… Mike (Tim Allen) struggles to find the perfect Christmas present for Ed (Hector Elizando) on Fox’s Last Man Standing (8/7c)… Lifetime’s Christmas Around the Corner (8/7c) stars Alexandra Breckenridge as a venture capitalist who rallies to rescue a Vermont bookstore. Anne of Green Gables’ Megan Follows directs, and Jane Alexander co-stars.