Springsteen’s Broadway Gig on Netflix, ‘Dannemora’ Documentary and Docudrama, Matt Damon on ‘SNL’
A critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Springsteen on Broadway (Sunday, Netflix): This very special event pays for your entire year’s Netflix subscription — if you consider how much tickets cost for Bruce Springsteen’s acclaimed solo act on Broadway. As the show ends its run after more than a year, Netflix brings the intimate, acoustic set to home viewers, giving an unusually personal glimpse into the Boss’s life and music.
Dannemora Prison Break (Saturday, 7/6c, Oxygen): If you’re as fascinated as you should be by the ongoing Showtime docudrama Escape at Dannemora, you’ll probably want to check out this two-hour special, hosted by correspondent Troy Roberts, that looks into the psyches of the actual participants of the infamous 2015 prison break: inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat (told in his own words) and prison employee Joyce Mitchell, who was seduced and manipulated into helping them carry out their audacious scheme. The special features an in-depth interview with Mitchell, as well as family members, a prison guard and inmate, giving new perspective on the riveting story.
Escape at Dannemora (Sunday, 10/9c, Showtime): Director Ben Stiller’s sensational limited series has arrived on the day of the escape. Racial tensions in the prison yard add to the anxiety of Sweat (Paul Dano), Matt (Benedio Del Toro) and Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell (Patricia Arquette), who’s on the verge of collapsing with a panic attack as she indulges unknowing husband Lyle (Eric Lange) with dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The suspense builds sharply as the men claw their way to freedom.
Ray Donovan (Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime): Escape’s companion series is going down so many dark rabbit holes it makes Escape look like a walk in the park. Turns out Ray (Liev Schreiber) isn’t the only one in his family suffering the consequences of having turned on his employer, Sam (Susan Sarandon), and her mayoral candidate. And while things are looking up for Bunchy (Dash Mihok) now that he’s found the woman who stole the ransom money, by hour’s end all the Donovans are back in the throes of despair. Except maybe an unrepentant Mickey (Jon Voight), who’s donned yet another disguise in his attempt to flee the country.
Ho-Ho-Holiday Movies: The feel-good blizzard continues.
Hallmark: Entertaining Christmas (Saturday, 8/7c) stars Jodie Sweetin as the daughter of a Martha Stewart-type lifestyle diva who has never measured up. A Gingerbread Romance (Sunday, 8/7c) pairs Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Duane Henry in the story of an architect and pastry chef who bond while creating a life-sized gingerbread house.
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries: Northern Lights of Chritmas (Saturday, 9/8c) stars Ashley Williams as a pilot who inherits an Alaskan ranch and becomes attached to the local reindeer and a hunky ranch Hand (Corey Sevier). Small Town Christmas (Sunday, 9/8c) stars Kristoffer Polaha as a bookstore owner who pines for Ashley Newbrough, who hasn’t forgiven him for standing her up. (He had a good and tear-jerking reason.)
Lifetime: Christmas Pen Pals (Saturday, 8/7) stars Grey’s Anatomy’s Sarah Drew as a tech wiz and creator of a dating app who returns home, where she engages in a holiday pen-pal service that could lead her back to her high-school beau (Niall Matter). Hometown Christmas (Sunday, 8/7c) stars 7th Heaven’s Beverley Mitchell as Noelle, who teams with her high school boyfriend (One Tree Hill’s Stephen Colletti) to create a live Nativity, but their relationship is complicated by the fact that their parents are falling for each other as well.
Elsewhere: TV One’s Coins for Christmas (Sunday, 7/6c) stars Essence Atkins as a cash-strapped single mom whose new “gig economy” job puts her to work for an arrogant jock (Stephen Bishop) who’s also got money woes. Ion’s A Royal Christmas Fashion (Sunday, 9/8c) stars Cindy Busby as a PR assistant in charge of a global fashion show/auction who catches the eye of a prince (Diarmaid Murtagh) who mistakes her for her boss. Will he still love her when he finds out she’s just a commoner? It’s been known to happen.
Inside Weekend TV: Matt Damon, so impressive spoofing Brett Kavanaugh in a cameo earlier this season, returns to NBC’s Saturday Night Live (11:30/10:30c) for his second gig as guest host for the annual Christmas show. Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus are musical guests… In anticipation of the third season of his HBO comedy Crashing comes a new HBO stand-up special, Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean (Saturday, 10/9c)… Classic movie alert: ABC devotes all of Sunday to its annual holiday showing of the Rodgers & Hammerstein perennial, The Sound of Music (7/6c), while Turner Classic Movies presents 1944’s Judy Garland fan favorite Meet Me in St. Louis (8/7c), without which we wouldn’t have the beloved standard “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” … Steve Harvey hosts the 2018 Miss Universe competition (Sunday, 7/6c) from Bangkok… An emotional turning point on CBS’s God Friended Me (Sunday, 8/7c) when the God Account pushes Miles (Brandon Micheal Hall) to confront the drunk driver responsible for his mother’s death 17 years ago… To mark the 30th anniversary of The Simpsons, FXX presents a 15-hour marathon of 30 Simpsons classics all day Sunday, starting at 9 am/8c.