Worth Watching: ‘Catastrophe,’ ‘Shrill,’ ‘Queer Eye’ Lead Streaming Deluge, Richard Pryor Remembered, ‘Crazy Ex’ Is Back
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Catastrophe (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): Love means always having to say you’re sorry in the messy, raunchy world of this bitingly funny romantic comedy starring and written by Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan. It’s coming to an end far too soon with a fourth and final emotionally turbulent season. Rob spends the first episodes in a neck brace, an emblem of his sheepishly repentant nature, atoning for an alcoholic relapse, and Sharon is there for grudging support. We root for this marriage to stand the test of time — if they don’t kill each other first.
Shrill (streaming on Hulu): Saturday Night Live‘s marvelous Aidy Bryant brings warmth and a zen grace to the role of Annie in this understated comedy. She’s not nearly as strident as the title suggests when she gets fed up with fat-shaming and demands dignity from an immature boyfriend, a tyrannical boss and an Internet troll, all while developing her voice as a journalist in Portland, Oregon. Let’s hope Hulu renews this so we get to spend more than just six episodes in her company.
Queer Eye (streaming on Netflix): A third season of the enchanting “make-better” show sends the Fab Five — Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness — to Kansas City. Their mission: to bolster the confidence, and outer and inner well-being, of everyday Midwesterners with style, humor and genuine compassion.
Also Streaming: As usual, Fridays feel like a dumping ground of too much content for any sane person to keep straight. Among other highlights on Netflix: The conclusion of the fifth, and let’s hope final, season of the wacky but worn-out Arrested Development, where Buster (Veep‘s Tony Hale) is on trial for the murder of Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli), while other Bluths deal with the building of a “smart” border wall… Idris Elba (Luther) displays his DJ skills in the title role of the otherwise middling sitcom Turn Up Charlie. His comeback on the club scene comes with strings attached: He must first earn his way back as the “manny” (male nanny) of precociously willful Gabby (Frankie Hervey), whose movie-star dad (JJ Feild) is Charlie’s childhood friend and whose mom (Piper Perabo) is a music producer with a posh recording studio. It’s one long eye roll… David Fincher and Deadpool’s Tim Miller collaborate for the adult animated anthology Love, Death & Robots, a freewheeling collage of 18 short stories covering all manner of horror, sci-fi and comedy genres with a different animation style for each covering an international spectrum.
I Am Richard Pryor (10/9c, Paramount Network): The latest installment of the series celebrating cultural icons recalls the turbulent life and incendiary career of the great comedian, best remembered for his successful movies and for emotionally revealing stand-up performances. Among those reflecting on Pryor’s career: Sandra Bernhard, Michael Epps, Lily Tomlin, Jimmie Walker, Tiffany Haddish and, in a revealing interview, Pryor’s wife Jennifer.
Inside Friday TV: Returning from a month’s hiatus, The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (9/8c) begins its final run of episodes with Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) trying out for the local community theater. Saturday Night Live veteran Cheri Oteri co-stars… Getting a jump on HBO’s acclaimed documentary The Inventor, which premieres Monday, ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) presents “The Dropout,” a collaboration with Nightline reported by Rebecca Jarvis that similarly charts the rise and fall of Silicon Valley wunderkind-turned-pariah Elizabeth Holmes. Her tech start-up Theranos, which promised a health-care revolution in blood testing, was valued in the billions before it collapsed amid charges of fraud… Treat Williams returns to CBS’s Blue Bloods (10/9c) as Frank’s (Tom Selleck) former partner Lenny Ross, bearing some unhappy news. His forthcoming exposé is going to reveal some of the NYPD’s dirtier laundry.