Worth Watching: Musicals on PBS (‘King and I’) & ABC (Preview of ‘High School Musical’ Spinoff), Dr. Seuss on Netflix
The King and I (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Shall they dance! Great Performances lives up to its billing with the opulent Lincoln Center revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic, featuring Tony-winning performances by Kelli O’Hara as British widow and tutor Anna Leonowens and Ruthie Ann Miles (All Rise) as Lady Thiang, “head wife” of the Siamese king (Ken Watanabe). Filmed during the show’s West End run in London in 2018, this whistle-a-happy-tuneful hit is always worth getting to know, and know again. It has never looked better.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (8/7c, ABC): As a curtain raiser for next Tuesday’s launch of the Disney+ subscription service, ABC teases one of the streamer’s original series, which obviously isn’t all that original. This very meta, but mostly meh, homage to the hit Disney Channel franchise is set in the same Utah high school where the original HSM was filmed — and where the new ditzy new drama teacher (Kate Reinders, apparently channeling Kristin Chenoweth) announces the school will finally stage its own version of the musical. So begins a show-within-a-show, with backstage intrigues and (initially) not nearly enough music.
Green Eggs and Ham (streaming on Netflix): Whether you like the title ingredients or not, it’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t worshipped Dr. Seuss at some point in their life. (I can’t imagine a Christmas season without watching the Grinch.) A new animated romp evokes the Seuss madcap spirit, as Sam and Guy inadvertently swap briefcases, setting off a chain of colorful misadventures. The tremendous voice cast includes Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Adam Devine, Ilana Glazer, Keegan-Michael key, Eddie Izzard, Jeffrey Wright, Jillian Bell, John Turturro, Tracy Morgan and Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs. That’s a lot of ham on one plate.
Also new to Netflix: a fan favorite returns with The Great British Baking Show: Holidays: Season 2, in which Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith welcome back former contestants to bake, and be judged on, their holiday-themed specialties… Sabrina‘s Kiernan Shipka swaps Halloween for Christmas in Let It Snow, a millenial Love Actually about a group of high-school seniors whose relationships are tested during a Christmas Eve snowstorm.
The Morning Show (streaming on Apple+): Apple’s flagship drama begins its weekly episodic phase by depicting new co-anchor Bradley Jackson’s (Reese Witherspoon) eventful first week on the air of The Morning Show. She may be a little too real for her bosses’ comfort, but Alex (Jennifer Aniston) initially defends her new on-air partner’s bluntness. She has no choice. But can they, and the show, survive the big Friday interview, when Bradley sits down with the former employee who accused the disgraced Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) of sexual misconduct? All eyes are watching.
Also on Apple, the alternate history of the space-race drama For All Mankind moves into the 1970s, as NASA rebounds from tragedy by fast-tracking four female candidates into the astronaut program.
Inside Friday TV: Original Magnum star Larry Manetti returns to the CBS reboot Magnum P.I. (8/7c) in an episode featuring Lee Majors as a hotel’s security chief and Corbin Bernsen as Icepick, who’s released from jail… ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) revisits the Amy Fisher scandal from the 1990s, this time telling the story from the POV of shooting victim Mary Jo Buttafuoco, husband Joey and daughter Jessie, who was only 9 when the tabloid scandal broke… What’s Judge Judy doing on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher (10/9c)? Tune in early, because she’s the top-of-show interview, with director Judd Apatow as mid-show guest.