Worth Watching: Elvis Tribute, an Emperor ‘Dynasty,’ Krusty Reveals All on ‘The Simpsons,’ Alpha’s Story on ‘Walking Dead’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Elvis All-Star Tribute (Sunday, 9/8c, NBC): Don’t be cruel, you hound dog, strap on your blue suede shows for some jailhouse rock, and enjoy! The King is alive — well, for one night only — in a two-hour homage to Elvis Presley’s iconic 1968 “comeback special,” with many of today’s top artists covering Elvis’s hits from that career-redefining act. The Voice’s Blake Shelton hosts, and performs, leading a roster that includes a duet with Keith Urban and Post Malone, plus Adam Lambert, Josh Groban, John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini and more.
Dynasties (Saturday, 9/8c, BBC America): The dazzling nature survival series finishes its season of getting up and close and personal with diverse animal tribes by studying the behaviors of some mighty emperors — emperor penguins, that is. Crews travel to Atka Bay on the coast of Antarctica as a colony of penguins sets up shop for the freezing winter to raise the next generation of the emperor dynasty. If they can survive the brutal climate.
The Simpsons (Sunday, 8/7c, Fox): Hard to believe that after 650 episodes, there’s anything we don’t already know about the wacky residents of Springfield. But in an episode puckishly titled “The Clown Stays in the Picture,” Krusty reveals an apparently untold story of his past in a new movie, “The Sands of Space.” By working on the film’s crew, Bart and Lisa learn new intel about their parents’ relationship.
The Walking Dead (Sunday, 9/8c, AMC): We’re about to get to know the Whisperers a bit better, now that one of their own (Cassady McClincy as Lydia) is being held prisoner at the Hilltop in a cell adjacent to young Henry (Matt Lintz), who rightly notes, “Walking around in dead people’s skins is pretty messed up.” But as Lydia explains, in defense of her fearsome mother and tribe leader Alpha (Samantha Morton), “My mom walks because that’s what the dead do. It’s their world, and we have to live in it.” She has a point. But what will happen when the Whisperers’ world collides with that of our better-adjusted survivors?
In Their Own Words (Sunday, 8/7c, National Geographic Channel): Using only audio and video recordings from the actual participants, minus narration or talking heads, this documentary series is an immersive recreation of notable events. The three hourlong species, airing consecutively, include Narco Wars, featuring the DEA agents (seen dramatized on Netflix’s Narcos) who took down Pablo Escobar; Bernie Madoff, including the swindler’s never-before-broadcast deposition from prison; and Deepwater Horizon, with interviews of survivors from the infamous oil-rig explosion.
Inside Weekend TV: A new season of Dick Wolf’s true-crime Cold Justice (Saturday, 6/5c, Oxygen) opens with a two-parter in which prosecutor Kelly Siegler and sidekick detective Tonya Rider head to Wyoming to investigate multiple deaths, 13 years apart, that could be connected… Let’s get physical with Lifetime’s biopic Olivia Newton John: Hopelessly Devoted to You (Saturday, 8/7c), starring Australian singer-songwriter-actress Delta Goodrem as the chart-topping superstar… CBS revives crime drama Ransom (Saturday, 8/7c) for a third season, with Eric (Luke Roberts) negotiating the return of a murdered man’s wife… Currently killing it on Showtime’s raucous Black Monday, Don Cheadle makes his debut as guest host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live (11:30/10:30c), with Gary Clark Jr. also making his first appearance as musical guest… More topical comedy in store, with the return for a sixth season of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Sunday, 11/10c). He’s been off the air since November, enjoying his own personal shutdown, so we can only imagine what the Emmy-winning host has to say.