Worth Watching: Dolly's 'Heartstrings' Anthology and More Streaming, 'Much Ado' From Central Park, 'Carole's Christmas' on OWN
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Dolly Parton's Heartstrings (streaming on Netflix): Irresistible as ever, the country legend lends her name, and the stories embedded in her prolific song catalog, for an eight-episode anthology of heartwarming movies, smartly produced and cast on a more elevated level than the typical Hallmark flick. Dolly introduces each episode, including two available for preview. These Old Bones, set in the 1940s, stars Kathleen Turner as a feisty clairvoyant Smoky Mountains "witch" and Ginnifer Goodwin as the lawyer returning home to convince the colorful old seer to sell her land. Dolly herself appears in the relatively racy Jolene as a honky-tonk owner who employs, and gives Oprah-style life lessons, to a free-spirited bartender (Julianna Hough) whose casual attitude toward matters like sex — with married men — could endanger her budding friendship with a Junior League housewife (Kimberly Williams-Paisley). Other films feature Gerald McRaney and wife Delta Burke, Sarah Shahi, thirtysomething veterans Patricia Wettig and Timothy Busfield, Homicide's Melissa Leo and Rectify creator Ray McKinnon.
Another feel-good Netflix binge: Nailed It! Holiday, with Nicole Byer returning to host a holiday edition of the hilarious baking-catastrophe competition. Guest judges include Maya Rudolph, David Burkta and Bridget Everett.
More serious streaming options: Amazon Prime Video's 10-episode Feed, a cautionary sci-fi thriller about an addictive high-tech implant that allows users to share emotions and memories. Which naturally backfires. David Thewlis and Game of Thrones' Michelle Fairley star… Even heavier: Hulu's four-episode The Accident, from Jack Thorne (National Treasure, His Dark Materials), starrings Happy Valley's Sarah Lancashire in the tragic story of a community shattered and seeking justice after a construction-site explosion kills a group of local teens.
Much Ado About Nothing (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): The Public Theatre's Free Shakespeare in the Park is a New York and Central Park tradition, and this Great Performances presentation. filmed last summer, is the first play recorded live from the park for TV in more than 40 years. Orange Is the New Black's Danielle Brooks stars opposite Grantham Coleman as bantering Beatrice and Benedick in director Kenny Leon's acclaimed production of the spirited and timeless romantic comedy.
Carole's Christmas (9/8c, OWN): Hallmark gets another competitor in the Christmas-movie game with this OWN premiere, starring Kimberly Elise in the title role of a workaholic who makes the fateful It's a Wonderful Life mistake of wishing she'd taken a different path in life. When her wish comes true, nightmare-style, her only confidante is Iris (Jackée Harry), whom she recognizes from her past life. (Could Iris maybe be a guardian angel?) Carole soon realizes she shouldn't have taken her blessings for granted, and we can name that tune in three "Auld Lang Syne" notes.
Inside Friday TV: Danny (Scott Caan) moves in with McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) on a Thanksgiving-themed episode of CBS's Hawaii Five-0 (8/7c)… The two-hour season finale of WE tv's Love After Lockup (8/7c) is full of soap-opera worthy twists, following couples from prison to (maybe) the altar. Among the storylines: Lacey and John facing off over paternity results, then John crashing her wedding to Shane. How very Days of Our Lives of them… Showtime's topical documentary Ready for War (9/8c) tracks the fate of three U.S. military veterans fighting deportation from America, at least one of whom gets caught up in another war, with drug cartels, across the Mexican border.