Worth Watching: ‘What/If’ and ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ on Netflix, Megan Hilty Sings, ’20/20′ Revisits Central Park Five Case
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
What/If (streaming on Netflix): Transcending junk-food TV to something closer to the realm of trans-fat TV — it’s very bad for you, but just try resisting — this tawdry, steamy melodrama from the creator of Revenge is worth the binge if only to watch Oscar winner Renée Zellweger merrily slumming and slinking her way through the role of conniving venture capitalist Anne Montgomery. Anne has an indecent proposal for earnest Lisa (Jane Levy) and her hollow hunk of an ex-baseball player husband, Sean (Blake Jenner). Anne agrees to invest in Lisa’s struggling biotech start-up, but only after some private time with Sean. What transpires next is a compelling mystery, unfortunately stalled by some turgid soap-opera subplots. But even when you want to say “whatev” to its overripe excesses, What/If may pull you in.
Also streaming on Netflix: a second season of Spike Lee’s sensuous romantic comedy She’s Gotta Have It, starring the sensational DeWanda Wise as the alluring Nola Darling; the suspense film The Perfection, starring Girls‘ Allison Williams as a music prodigy; the sci-fi thriller Rim of the World, about four misfits at summer camp (including the sadly defunct The Kids Are Alright’s Jack Gore) who team up to save the world from an alien invasion; and the documentary After Maria, following three Puerto Rican women and their families displaced by the devastation of Hurricane Maria and trying to hold their families together when their FEMA housing assistance in New York expires.
Megan Hilty in Concert (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): As the final act of Live From Lincoln Center‘s “Stars in Concert” series, the Smash star and Broadway veteran delivers a show-stopping set of stage favorites, including “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from her Encores! Appearance in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Hilty‘s concert also features memorable tracks from Smash, including “Let Me By Your Star” from the pilot episode and “Don’t Forget Me” from the first-season finale. As always in this series, New York’s magnificent Appel Room provides a stunning backdrop for the night’s entertainment.
20/20 (10/9c, ABC): One week before Netflix presents Ava DuVernay‘s When They See Us, a docudrama miniseries covering this story, the ABC newsmagazine presents the two-hour “One Night in Central Park,” revisiting the infamous Central Park Five case in which five minority teens were accused and falsely convicted of the savage rape of a jogger after confessions coerced by police. Among those interviewed: the jogger, Trisha Meili, and Matias Reyes, whose confession led to exoneration of the five convicted youths, as well as jurors, journalists, activist Rev. Al Sharpton and director Sarah Burns, whose 2012 documentary The Central Park Five helped draw renewed attention to the case.
Inside Friday TV: If you’re of a certain age, the name Hayley Mills conjures fond childhood memories of classic Disney films (The Parent Trap in particular). She’s one of the reasons to check out Acorn TV’s rom-com charmer Pitching In, starring Larry Lamb as a widowed proprietor of a North Wales holiday park whose life is disrupted by the return of his free-spirited daughter (Caroline Sheen) and grandson… With The Blacklist over for the season, NBC’s Blindspot (8/7c) returns to finish out its next-to-last season… Cliffhanger alert: The CW’s Dynasty (8/7c) reboot closes its second season with the Carringtons in, what else, crisis mode.