Worth Watching: The Grammys, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ ‘Walking Dead’ Returns, Margaret the Rebel Princess
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
The 61st Annual Grammy Awards (Sunday, 8/7c, 5/PT, CBS): Legendary divas command the spotlight during the music industry’s biggest and most eclectic awards night. Alicia Keys hosts from L.A.’s Staples Center, and while the show will be packed with performances from today’s leading artists of varying genres — including Oscar hopeful Lady Gaga, singing from A Star Is Born — the highlights are likely to be a series of salutes to longtime greats. The late Aretha Franklin will be honored with a tribute performed by Fantasia, Yolanda Adams and Andra Day. Diana Ross, celebrating her 75th birthday this year, takes the stage for a special performance. And beloved country great Dolly Parton returns to the Grammys for the first time since 2001, singing new material while her classic hits are covered by the likes of Katy Perry, Little Big Town, Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Saturday, 8 pm/HBO and PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): There won’t be a dry eye in your neighborhood as Morgan Neville’s acclaimed documentary — unconscionably passed over for an Oscar nomination — makes its way to Fred Rogers’ chosen medium, TV. An evangelist for decency, Rogers spoke (and sang) directly and deeply to children for generations on his deceptively simple-seeming Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. This lovely film, a necessary tonic of civility for today’s combative culture, captures Rogers’s rare and emotionally affecting ability to connect with his young viewers, who flocked to his “I like you as you are” message. The child within all of us will never forget Mister Rogers.
The Walking Dead (Sunday, 9/8c, AMC): The tedious ninth season of the zombie-world thriller resumes with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) wandering aimlessly now that someone inexplicably left his cage open. The rudderless heroes are busy coming to terms with the tragic death of Jesus (Tom Payne) and the emergence of the creepy Walkers, the new Big Bads who walk around in the skins of the dead. I can’t believe I’m actually missing the (much-improved) spinoff Fear the Walking Dead.
Margaret: The Rebel Princess (Sunday, 10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): “Bad girls have all the fun” is a maxim that applies even — or possibly especially — to Britain’s royal family. That’s the thrust of a gossipy two-part documentary (concluding next Sunday) covering the scandalous peaks of Princess Margaret’s very public life, which reflected the changing mores of 1960s and ’70s culture with her choices in fashion, pastimes (motorcycle riding! clubbing!) and, naturally, men.
Inside Weekend TV: BBC America’s visually spectacular Dynasties nature series continues (Saturday, 9/8c) with the focus on a pack of painted wolves in Zimbabwe, led by matriarch Tait — who faces a challenge from daughter Blacktip, when her own pack runs out of space and may need to encroach on Tait’s lands… Mob scion Victoria Gotti executive produces her own Lifetime biopic, Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter (Saturday, 8/7c), featuring General Hospital’s Maurice Benard as the “Teflon Don” and Chelsea Frei as his embattled offspring… Halsey is both host and musical guest on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (11:30/10:30c) — but first, in honor of his historic Super Bowl win, SNL replays Tom Brady’s 2005 guest-hosting stint in prime time (Saturday, 10/9c)… If you haven’t succumbed yet to movie-awards fatigue, BBC America presents The EE British Academy Film Awards (Sunday, 9/8c), aka the BAFTAs, hosted from London’s Royal Albert Hall by Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley… “Like” it or not, CNN Special Reports goes inside social media’s biggest and (lately) most controversial platform in Facebook at 15: It’s Complicated (Sunday, 9/8c).