Worth Watching: Changing Collars on ‘Grantchester,’ Custody Hearing on ‘Big Little Lies,’ National Geographic’s ‘SharkFest’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Grantchester (Sunday, 9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org)): There’s a changing of the guard — make that cloth — in the fourth season of the Masterpiece Mystery! hit, as town vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) finds a new passion in civil rights during a two-hour opener. As he considers pursuing a new calling, Grantchester will soon welcome a brooding, volatile — and, naturally, handsome — new vicar, Will Davenport (Tom Brittney), to help Geordie (Robson Green) solve crimes.
Big Little Lies(Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): Two Oscar winners square off in court in the second season’s riveting penultimate episode, when Celeste (Nicole Kidman) goes up against mother-in-law Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) in an emotionally grueling custody hearing. And with the secret of Perry’s death hanging over all of the Monterey Five, will any of them crack? If so, who? Yes, we’re looking at you, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon).
When Sharks Attack (Sunday, 9/8c, National Geographic Channel): Getting a jump by several weeks on Discovery Channel’s better-known Shark Week, the channel’s seventh-annual “SharkFest” returns with its signature program (airing nightly through Friday). In each episode, shark attacks are investigated to shed light on why and where they’re most likely to occur. The opener is followed by Cannibal Sharks (10/9c), a documentary suggesting that shark-on-shark attacks are becoming more common. Better them than us.
The Loudest Voice (Sunday, 10/9c, Showtime): In the third chapter of the dark docudrama, Barack Obama’s election to the presidency gives Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe) a new favorite target, resisting attempts by Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch (Simon McBurney) to tone down the incendiary coverage. “I’m the same paranoid nut job who is lining your pockets,” Ailes defensively bristles as he demands complete editorial control of his channel. Meanwhile, Ailes’ personal peccadilloes are getting increasingly sordid, and he’ll come to regret patronizing “Little Miss America” Gretchen Carlson (Naomi Watts), the channel’s up-and-coming “queen of morning television.”
Inside Weekend TV: Wimbledon tennis finals on ESPN will decide a winner in ladies’ singles (Saturday, 9 am/8c) and men’s (Sunday, 9 am/8c)… BBC America’s Best of The Hunt (Saturday, 9/8c), narrated by Sir David Attenborough, is a two-hour compilation of the 2016 nature series, profiling the planet’s most successful and inventive predators… New hosts Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness join Chris Harris to launch the 27th season of BBC America’s Top Gear (Sunday, 8/7c), with an excursion to Ethiopia, where the car enthusiasts relive their first experiences behind the wheel. … The hot-air balloon seemed like a good idea, but things have a way of going sideways on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday, 9/8c). Which is why Strand (Colman Domingo) and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) are up to their necks in radioactive zombies, having crash-landed near a faltering nuclear power plant… Starz’s New York foodie dramedy Sweetbitter (Sunday, 9/8c) is back for a second season, with Tess (Ella Purnell) now promoted to full-time back waiter. Way to move the story along! Check, please… History’s Moon Landing: The Lost Tapes (Sunday, 10/9c) uses new footage and previously untelevised audio interviews to relive the Apollo 11 mission, revealing the astronauts’ doubts and fears on the cusp of making history in space.