Worth Watching: Super Bowl Sunday and 'The World’s Best,' Cat, Kitten and Puppy Bowls, a Tiger 'Dynasty'
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Super Bowl LIII (6:30/5:30c, 3:30/PT): Come for the game — the L.A. Rams vs. the perpetual New England Patriots, from Atlanta’s stunning Mercedes-Benz Stadium — and stay tuned for the ads and even the music — Gladys Knight delivering the National Anthem, and Maroon 5 at halftime, with assists from Travis Scott and Outkast’s Big Boi. Traditionally the most-watched night of TV of any year, the 53rd climax to the NFL season is likely to be no exception.
The World’s Best (10/9c, time approximate, 8/PT, CBS): The lucky show getting the enviable post-game slot is a global talent competition (not to be confused, unless you choose to, with NBC’s America’s Got Talent: The Champions) hosted by the ebullient late-night host James Corden. Marveling at an assortment of outrageous and inspiring elite acts from around the world, the eclectic judging panel includes Drew Barrymore, Faith Hill and RuPaul Charles. Also offering feedback will be a “Wall of the World” panel of international experts, who’ll help the judges decide who to move closer to an ultimate $1 million prize.
Cat Bowl (Saturday, 10/9c, Hallmark Channel): For those who prefer cuddly pets to clashing gridiron warriors, you’re in luck. Hallmark is expanding its “Bowl” franchise from kittens on Sunday to the first “Senior Bowl” for cats, showcasing infinitely adoptable “cat-letes” competing for viewers’ attention and affection.
Consider this a warm-up for Sunday’s fifth annual Kitten Bowl (2 pm/1c), which has been responsible for more than 25,000 shelter pet adoptions since 2014. Host Beth Stern will be joined by Dean Cain and NFL pro Rodney Peete, with running commentary on the adorable action by NFL greats Rashad Jennings and Boomer Esiason.
The longest-running of these Super Bowl alternatives, Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl (3 pm/2c), marks its 15th year, with a 100% adoption rate for the hundreds of huggable pups who’ve participated over the years. TeamRuff and TeamFluff will go snout-to-snout for the “Lombarky” trophy, and the cheering section will be a literal zoo of sloth fans, porcupine mascots and baby kangaroo cheerleaders.
Dynasties (Saturday, 9/8c, BBC America, simulcast on AMC, IFC and SundanceTV): Keeping with the animal theme, the BBC’s captivating nature series continues with an immersive study of a tiger, known as Raj Bhera, who lives on a national park reserve in India. Followed over a period of 220 days, Raj Bhera fends off challenges to her authority, including from her adult daughter Solo, while tending to four newborn cubs who could be the future of her hard-fought dynasty.
Inside Weekend TV: Most everyone goes into repeat mode against the Super Bowl on Sunday. Among the few notable exceptions: Counterpart on Starz, moving an hour earlier (8/7c) as Howard Prime (the excellent J.K. Simmons) and Emily (Olivia Williams) work together to try to decipher what covert organization Indigo is up to; PBS’s Masterpiece continuing the third season of Victoria (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org), with the queen (Jenna Coleman) facing a cholera epidemic in London; and HBO’s excellent third season of True Detective (9/8c) pushing Wayne (Mahershala Ali) to further extremes as new evidence emerges in the Purcell case.