Worth Watching: Spongebob’s Birthday Blowout, ‘Point Blank’ on Netflix, Showtime’s ‘Shangri-La’
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout (7/6c, Nickelodeon): It’s a Bikini Bottom birthday celebration as SpongeBob SquarePants marks its 20th anniversary — already?? — by showing its beloved characters in a new light: above ground! In a mix of live action and animation, SpongeBob’s voice cast (including star Tom Kenny) are seen as human doppelgangers of their cartoon selves, with guest stars including David Hasselhoff (in an homage to his cameo in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie), Kel Mitchell, Jack Griffo and Daniella Perkins. This special kicks off a “Best Year Ever” celebration that culminates in the release of another feature film in 2020: The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge. He certainly is.
Point Blank (streaming on Netflix): Why go out of the house for a mindless summer action movie when you can get one at home? Such seems to be the programming logic for this improbable thriller. Anthony Mackie stars as an ER nurse whose pregnant wife is kidnapped, used as collateral to force him to spring a murder suspect (Frank Grillo) from the hospital and deliver the wounded crook to a cabal of corrupt cops. The rest is pretty much mayhem as usual.
Also streaming: the extreme reality competition Blown Away, where things get hot when 10 master glass-blowers try to keep from cracking up as they take on grueling challenges. (Being told your creation belongs in a gift shop is not a compliment.)
Shangri-La (9/8c, Showtime): Not to be confused with the mystical mountain retreat of Lost Horizon, this Shangri-La is the name of the fabled recording studio in Malibu where revered music producer Rick Rubin does his magic. The co-founder of Def Jam Records, who’s worked with everyone from Kanye West and Black Sabbath to Lady Gaga and Adele, Rubin welcomes cameras into his enclave for a four-part docuseries promising “creative conversation” and a look at the emotional side of music-making.
Inside Friday TV: Turner Classic Movies continues its celebration of the movies of 1939 with Bette Davis’s luminous portrayal of a dying socialite in Dark Victory (8/7c). She and every other actress that year were upstaged by Vivian Leigh’s immortal performance in the highly coveted role of Scarlett O’Hara in the truly epic Gone With the Wind (10/9c)… In the conclusion of a two-part adventure on ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (8/7c), the team has little time to catch up, because there’s a planet to save… Vivica A. Fox and Tracy Nelson are among the stars of LMN’s The Wrong Boy Next Door (8/7c), in which teenage Katie (Calli Taylor) begins to think getting involved with her handsome neighbor (Travis Burns) wasn’t such a good idea. One problem with breaking it off and getting some distance: She’s under house arrest… Auto theft is the next assignment for Jett (Carla Gugino) in Cinemax’s stylish noir drama Jett (10/9c), when her Russian gangster boss Bestic (Greg Bryk) tasks her to steal a classic car. But the episode is titled “Bennie,” after the likable henchman (Christopher Backus), who’s forced to clean up another gruesome mess.