Worth Watching: Final Season of 'Orange,' Amazon's 'The Boys,' 'Andi Mack' Finale
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Orange Is the New Black (streaming on Netflix): Prison is a state of mind in the emotionally epic final season of Netflix's signature dramedy. Even freedom carries a heavy burden, as Piper (Taylor Schilling) endures a rocky and often humiliating readjustment to civilian life. Inside Litchfield, many compelling stories play out, including a dejected Taystee (the magnificent Danielle Brooks) seeking purpose after her unjust life sentence. And in the most topical subplot, several undocumented former inmates are caught in the unyielding web of ICE detention, which makes their time in the big house seem a picnic. It's a long 13-episode season, but don't bail before the poignant end credits, which remind us what a remarkable and diverse cast this groundbreaking show proudly supported.
The Boys (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): Maybe because I've had my fill of TV's way-too-many superhero series, of both the Marvel and D.C. varieties, I really dig Eric Kripke's (Supernatural) series adaptation of the raucous and very adult comic he describes as "the anti-superhero show." In this world, superheroes are marketed and branded by corporations, and like many celebrities, are way less than honorable in private. When a Flash-like jerk causes devastating personal damage to mild-mannered clerk Hughie (The Hunger Games' Jack Quaid), the grieving mensch channels his rage by joining a covert unit that goes after the presumed good guys. Leader of The Boys is the aptly named Billy Butcher (a very good Karl Urban, from the Star Trek movies).
Andi Mack (8/7c, Disney Channel): The socially conscious family comedy goes out after three seasons with a celebratory bang in its series finale. Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) teams with mom Bex (Lilan Bowden) to throw a party while grandmother Celia (Lauren Tom) is out of town, an occasion for Andi to share a secret.
Inside Friday TV: Turner Classic Movies continues its weekly salute to the classics of 1939, with the prime-time centerpiece of George Cukor's sparkling all-female comedy The Women (8/7c). The incredible cast features Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, Paulette Goddard, Marjorie Main and many, many more, all at the top of their MGM game… Hulu's supernatural thriller Light as a Feather is back for a second season, split in two eight-episode halves — the second part airs in October — in which McKenna (Liana Liberato) inherits the curse from the Feather game. Being the hero of the story, she's unwilling to play a new round that would put someone else in danger, but how long can she hold out?… The agents of ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (8/7c) face a reckoning with their past, as so many Marvel heroes do, as the next-to-last season airs its next-to-last episode.