Worth Watching: HBO’s ‘Thrones’ and ‘Barry’ and Other Finales, Remembering Peggy Lipton on ‘Mod Squad’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Game of Thrones (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): Is the Iron Throne even still standing after Daenerys and her mighty dragon’s fiery — and, yes, controversial — neverending assault on Kings Landing? There’s still much to be sorted out amid the wreckage in the epic dark fantasy’s much-anticipated series finale, as Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) faces a reckoning over her mad crusade of destruction with battle-scarred Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and her mournful advisor, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). And Arya (Maisie Williams). And, no doubt, our Lady of the North, Sansa (Sophie Turner). Maybe even Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), who always deserved better than Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — whose entombment with sister Cersei (Lena Headey) we’re not convinced was fatal until we actually see the bodies. Discuss among yourselves, as if you need to be told.
Barry (Sunday, 10:20/9:20c, HBO): Whether or not Thrones sticks its (kings) landing — perhaps an impossible feat — fans of Bill Hader’s Emmy-winning dark comedy will likely thrill to the twists awaiting them in the very eventful second-season finale. Last Sunday’s cliffhanger shocker left us with Gene (the wonderful Henry Winkler) making a terrible discovery, while a desperate Barry (Hader) races to the scene to try to avert disaster. On the acting front, Sally (Sarah Goldberg) continues to look for her truth as the acting class preps for its bigger-than-expected showcase, but can truth set any of these characters free — including an imperiled Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and vengeful Fuches (Stephen Root)?
Finale Fever: One short of the five-timers’ club, Avengers: Endgame star Paul Rudd returns to NBC’s Saturday Night Live for his fourth guest-host appearance in the season finale (11:30/10:30c). DJ Khaled is the first-time musical guest. … ABC’s American Idol (Sunday, 8/7c) pulls out the stops in a three-hour finish, anointing one of the final three — Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy, or Madison VanDenberg — as this year’s winner. Guest performances include all three judges (Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan), former contestants Adam Lambert and Carrie Underwood, and Kool & the Gang. … The JAG reunion continues on the 10th-season finale of CBS’s NCIS: Los Angeles (Sunday, 10/9c) when Hetty (Linda Hunt) calls on Sarah “Mac” Mackenzie (Catherine Bell) to help out on the hunt for ISIS sympathizers aboard the USS Allegiance, where Harm Rabb (David James Elliott) is already teamed with Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and Sam (LL Cool J).
The Mod Squad (Saturday, 1 pm/12c, Decades TV): No, it’s thankfully not a reboot. The nostalgic digital channel pays tribute to Peggy Lipton, who died of cancer last weekend at 72, with a weekend-long binge marathon of The Mod Squad, featuring 42 episodes of the groundbreaking 1968-73 series. Lipton earned four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe award as Julie Barnes, part of a team of undercover “hippie cops” alongside Michael Cole (Pete Cochran) and Clarence Williams III (Linc Hayes) who infiltrated the counterculture seeking criminal elements. How groovy.
Killing Eve (Sunday, 8/7c, BBC America and AMC): The kinky shocks just keep coming in the next-to-last episode of the exhilarating spy thriller’s second season, with the action moving to Rome. Eve (Sandra Oh) has somehow convinced Caroline (Fiona Shaw) to let her run the mission, as Villanelle (Jodie Comer) gets closer to her arrogant target, Aaron Peel (Henry Lloyd-Hughes). But Eve can’t get the quirky, alluring assassin out of her head, which may not be the best news for her estranged husband, Niko (Owen McDonnell).
Inside Weekend TV: After the drama of the Kentucky Derby, NBC continues its Triple Crown coverage with the 144th Preakness Stakes (Saturday, 5 pm/ET) from Pimlico Race Course in Maryland. Features include an interview with Gary West, owner of Maximum Security, the horse that was disqualified after finishing first at the Derby. … Fans of Cake Boss can get their fill when a ninth season of tasty shenanigans at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken gets underway on Discovery Family (Saturday, 9/8c). … Nominated for a Tony for playing Atticus Finch on Broadway, Jeff Daniels joins TCM host Ben Mankiewicz to introduce a special showing of the Oscar-winning 1962 adaptation of the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird (Sunday, 8/7c, TCM). … The nostalgic getTV channel salutes the late Tim Conway by playing four episodes of Married … With Children (Sunday, midnight/11c) from 1995-96, in which he played Ephraim Wanker, father of Peg Bundy (Katey Sagal).