Worth Watching: ‘Orville’ Returns, ‘Escape’ Ends, an ‘Outlander’ Reunion


A critical checklist of notable weekend TV:

The Orville (Sunday, 8/7c, Fox): Let’s hope in season 2 that Seth MacFarlane’s lavish space odyssey can find a more confident balance between sci-fi homage and genre parody. The special post-football premiere — followed by a second episode Thursday in its regular 9/8c time period — picks up with Captain Ed (MacFarlane) trying to overcome jealousy when he learns his ex, and right-hand mate Commander Kelly (Adrianne Palicki), has started dating again.

Escape at Dannemora (Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime): After last week’s exceptional, and unexpected, flashback detour into the principal characters’ backstories, the finale of this gripping docuseries catches up with escapees Richard Matt (Benecio Del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) as they taste uneasy freedom. With the manhunt intensifying, the inmates prove to be less than ideal partners in crime. And their accomplice, Tilly (Patricia Arquette), unsuccessfully tries not to break under pressure. The rest, as they say, is tabloid history.

Outlander (Sunday, 8/7c, Starz): A meeting we’ve long awaited: Jamie (Sam Heughan) finally comes face to ginger face with his offspring Brianna (Sophie Skelton) when the 20th-century lass joins her gobsmacked birth father and mother Claire (Caitriona Balfe) in 18th-century Wilmington. As father and daughter get to know each other, Claire intuits there’s something troubling Bree. If she only knew.

Dirty John (Sunday, 10/9c, Bravo): “He spit on my birth certificate!” Is there no end to dirty John’s (Eric Bana) spite? Apparently not, as another juicy episode shifts between his earlier dirty deeds a decade earlier in Dayton, when his first wife (Sprague Grayden) turns to a local detective (Damon Gupton) for help, and his current malfeasance in Orange County. Alan Ruck (Succession) and Jeff Perry (Scandal) join the series’ impressive roster of guest stars as lawyers enlisted by Debra (Connie Britton) to help her disengage from her sociopathic mate. Easier said than litigated.

Inside Weekend TV: Christmas is over, so Hallmark is turning its rom-com attention to New Year’s Eve with the movie A Midnight Kiss (Saturday, 8/7c), starring Adelaide Kane as a party planner who bonds with her business partner’s college buddy (Carlos PenaVega) while organizing a New Year’s bash for her new client… With three Emmys, and now courting Oscar buzz for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk, Regina King opens up on ABC’s The Alec Baldwin Show (Saturday, 10/9c). Baldwin also chats with feminist/activist lawyer Gloria Allred, who has much to say about the #MeToo movement… Turner Movie Classics serves up a punny “Double Bogie” in Sunday prime time with two of Humphrey Bogart’s greatest: as Sam Spade in 1941’s The Maltese Falcon (8/7c) and as Rick opposite Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa in 1942’s timeless Casablanca (10/9c).