Worth Watching: Meryl Streep Joins ‘Big Little Lies,’ the Tony Awards, Doris Day on TCM
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Big Little Lies (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): As if the cast weren’t already starry enough, Meryl Streep joins the Emmy-winning high-gloss soap for its second season. She plays deceptively mousy-looking Mary Louise Wright, mother-in-law to widowed Celeste (Nicole Kidman), wasting no time as she gets under the perfectly moisturized and perilously thin skins of the Monterey mom brigade (including Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoë Kravitz) she holds responsible for her golden-boy son’s death. (Alexander Skarsgård is seen in flashbacks and videos.) Gripping, gossipy fun. (Read the full review.)
The 73rd Annual Tony Awards (Sunday, 8/7c, CBS): A Tony winner himself, late-night host James Corden returns to the footlights of Radio City Music Hall to host the celebration of Broadway’s best, with production numbers from new (Hadestown) and revived musicals (including an audaciously re-imagined Oklahoma!). The hottest race: a showdown for best actor in a play between Emmy winners Jeff Daniels (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Bryan Cranston (Network). Sure bet: the legendary Elaine May for best actress in a play (The Waverly Gallery revival), and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend alum Santino Fonata as best actor in a musical for the stage version of Tootsie. And while the musical itself wasn’t nominated, check out favored musical best-actress nominee Stephanie J. Block as the pop diva from The Cher Show. The Tonys rarely score high ratings, but for entertainment value, it can’t be beat.
A Star Is Born (Saturday, 8/7c, HBO): Lady Gaga is sensational, an authentic movie star in the latest incarnation of the rags-to-riches musical drama, making its HBO debut. She earned an Oscar nomination alongside co-star Bradley Cooper, as the musician who discovers her while his own career is on the decline. Like Barbra Streisand’s 1976 version, this adaptation won a single Oscar, for best song (“Shallow”).
Doris Day Tribute (Sunday, starts at 6 am/5c, TCM): One of the all-time greats, the golden-voiced singer-turned-actress who ruled the box office in the 1950s and ’60s, is celebrated in a day-long (no pun intended) marathon of her movies, interrupted at 1:30 pm/12:30c for a Carson on TCM segment featuring her rare 1976 appearance with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Highlights include her dramatic breakthrough as torch singer Ruth Etting in 1955’s Love Me or Leave Me (1:45 pm/12:45c) and her Oscar-nominated performance opposite Rock Hudson in 1959’s saucy rom-com Pillow Talk (8/7c), which leads into a night full of her successful comedies, including Lover Come Back (10/9c) and Move Over, Darling (12 am/11c) opposite James Garner.
Game Show Mania: With new versions of game-show classics Press Your Luck and Card Sharks bowing next week, ABC is going all in on its “Fun and Games” initiative, which kicks off its returning Sunday lineup with a new season of Celebrity Family Feud (8/7c), in which host Steve Harvey welcomes Chrissy Teigen and John Legend facing off against Lisa Vanderpump and the cast of Vanderpump Rules in the first round, followed by Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown going up against Brooklyn Nine-Nine star and new America’s Got Talent host Terry Crews. Next up: The $100,000 Pyramid (9/8c), with Rosie O’Donnell and Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones squaring off, and Cheryl Hines facing Anthony Anderson — the latter hosting a new season of To Tell the Truth (10/9c), where Snoop Dogg, Oliver Hudson, Justin Long and Amanda Seales join the celebrity panel of truth-seekers.
Inside Weekend TV: In the finals of the French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament on the tennis calendar, the women play Saturday (9 am/8c, NBC) and the men Sunday (9 am/8c, NBC)… Hallmark’s popular romantic fantasy Good Witch launches its fifth season (Sunday, 8/7c) with a two-night event, concluding Monday, which promises to finally tie the knot between Cassie (Catherine Bell) and Dr. Sam Radford (Jamie Denton)… TNT’s raucous Claws (Sunday, 9/8c) scratches its way to a third season, with widowed Desna (Niecy Nash) and her salon crew inheriting a piece of the Bayside Rapture Casino, where they tangle with treacherous new business partners (Michael Horse and Rebecca Creskoff)… Reboot alert: Travel Channel presents a new version of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (Sunday, 9/8c), hosted by Bruce Campbell and marking the 100th anniversary of Ripley’s. First up in the survey of the weird and wondrous: “Natural Born Thrillers,” including a sword-swallower and a “human pretzel.”