Worth Watching: Country Music’s Pride, ‘Workin’ Moms’ on Netflix, Game Night on ‘Speechless’
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Charley Pride: I’m Just Me (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Following its terrific Sammy Davis, Jr. biography I’ve Gotta Be Me, the invaluable American Masters series turns to a pioneering Country Music Hall of Famer who also shattered color barriers in his rise to fame. From sharecropper’s son to Negro American League baseball player to music superstar, Charley Pride’s career mirrors a nation’s awakening to civil rights and inclusiveness. Country icons including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley and Marty Stuart are interviewed, and Pride is shown in conversation with Rozene, his wife of 61 years, Willie Nelson and others.
Workin’ Moms (streaming on Netflix): Joining Schitt’s Creek from Canadian TV’s comedy hit parade, this International Emmy nominee arrives on Netflix (with Season 2 expected later in the spring), introducing a wider audience to the raw, relatable humor of creator/star Catherine Reitman. She plays Kate, a new mom readjusting to her demanding and competitive workplace after maternity leave, fearing she’s losing out on the work and home front. The tone is bawdy, irreverent and fierce — much like all the working (and stay-at-home) moms I know.
Other streaming highlights include the Netflix film Paddleton, a bittersweet bromance starring Ray Romano and Mark Duplass as neighbors whose friendship is put to the test when the younger is diagnosed with terminal cancer; and on Amazon Prime Video, the topical docuseries This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy, from Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice) and hosted by Kal Penn, which travels the world and employs quirky celebrity cameos to try to demystify global capitalism.
Speechless (8:30/7:30, ABC): In case you’ve been missing this criminally neglected family comedy, JJ (Micah Fowler) now has a girlfriend, Izzy (Kayla Maisonet), and time has come for her to meet the family: most especially domineering mom Maya (Minnie Driver). So JJ arranges a game night, but can there really be any winners here.
Inside Friday TV: Fox’s The Cool Kids (8:30/7:30c) focuses on a late bloomer: Sid (Leslie Jordan), who at 65 has never had a truly open relationship with another man. That could change with his new beau, John (Jere Burns), but only if Sid steps up and commits… NBC airs back-to-back episodes of The Blacklist (8/7c and 9/8c), in which Liz (Megan Boone) and Jennifer (Fiona Dourif) search for a woman with information about Red’s (James Spader) past — while Red goes to court in hopes of putting those charges of treason to rest… CBS is also doubling up with new episodes of Hawaii Five-0 (9/8c and 10/9c)… Tone Bell (currently starring on the CBS sitcom Fam) headlines his first stand-up special, Showtime’s Tone Bell: Can’t Cancel This (10/9c), filmed in Dallas.