Worth Watching: Finales of ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘Madam Secretary,’ SpongeBob Musical, CW Superhero Crossover, ‘L Word’ and ‘Work in Progress’ on Showtime
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Silicon Valley (Sunday, 10/9c, HBO): Throughout six seasons of inspired tech-world satire, the nerdy geniuses behind Pied Piper have always managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of success. But with their biggest launch looming in the series finale, could these bumbling heroes finally make it after all? An existential crisis, and something Jared (Zach Woods) calls “the most courageous act of cowardice I’ve ever seen,” contribute to a bittersweet and clever sendoff to one of HBO’s all-time-great comedies.
Madam Secretary (Sunday, 10:30/9:30c, 10/PT, CBS): Having finally and thankfully put the fictional impeachment inquiry behind them, the McCord administration takes a victory lap in the series finale of the political drama. As President Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) kicks off a new initiative with a boost from the champion U.S. Women’s Soccer team, the First Family gathers for a long-awaited celebration. Guest stars include a number of former cast members, plus Cicely Tyson as a woman born the day women got the right to vote, Tyne Daly (brother of series star Tim) and singer Peter Frampton.
Supergirl (Sunday, 8/7c, The CW): Launching the network’s most extensive superhero crossover event to date, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) teams with a multiverse of heroes — Flash (Grant Gustin), Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), Batwoman (Ruby Rose), White Canary (Caity Lotz), The Atom (Brandon Routh) and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) — to save their worlds — yes, worlds — from imminent doom. The action continues Monday on Batwoman (on a special night, 8/7c) and Tuesday on The Flash (8/7c) before concluding after the New Year on Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Watchmen (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): Have your jaws recovered from dropping after last week’s revelation that Angela (Regina King) has been cohabiting with… the omnipotent Doctor Manhattan, who’s been cloaking his mighty blue self in ordinary — if buff — human disguise (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II)? In the penultimate episode of Damon Lindelof‘s dazzling and endlessly provocative fantasia on heroism amid the darker undercurrents of the American character, much will be revealed about the iridescent Doctor’s relationship with the Vietnam-born Tulsa crimefighter. There’s a ton of exposition to stimulate the Watchmen cultists, but also enough wit, suspense and climactic action to enthrall the rest of us mere mortals.
The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage! (Saturday, 7/6c, Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Nicktoons): Revel in some high-spirited Broadway magic, and the fanciful Tony-winning scenic design of David Zinn, in a recreation of the tuneful SpongeBob Musical stage show, filmed in front of a live audience. Tony nominees Ethan Slater (a pitch-perfect SpongeBob) and Gavin Lee (a wonderfully dour Squidward, whose multi-tentacled tap dance is a show-stopper) reprise their roles, and joining the cast from the animated series is Tom Kenny as Patchy the Pirate, singing an original Sara Bareilles song, “Poor Pirates.” Even grown-up might be enchanted by this pop-rock extravaganza for all ages, smartly directed by Tina Landau.
Work in Progress (Sunday, 11/10c, Showtime): This exceedingly offbeat slice-of-life comedy stars, and is cowritten by, Abby McEnany, playing Abby, a self-described “fat queer dyke” from Chicago who, at 45, is “sick of struggling” and has declared a 180-day deadline to turn her life around. Or else. Perfect timing for this insecure neurotic to catch the eye of the considerably younger Chris (The Politician‘s Theo Germaine), a trans man who disarms Abby with attention and affection. Could this relationship be real? Stay tuned for an amazing cameo by former Saturday Night Live star Julia Sweeney, whose androgynous character of Pat is something Abby swears ruined her life.
This is preceded by Showtime’s The L Word: Generation Q (Sunday, 10/9c), revisiting the groundbreaking drama 10 years after its signoff. Original stars Jennifer Beals (as Bette, who’s running for L.A. mayor), Katherine Moennig (whose character recently departed Ray Donovan) and Leisha Hailey return for the eight-episode series, joined by a new generation of up-and-comers of all sexual orientations in Southern California.
Holiday Movie Roundup: The weekend’s headliner is Tony and Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth, making her Hallmark debut in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie A Christmas Love Story (Saturday, 8/7c), playing a youth-choir director who tries to enlist an angelic-voiced teen (Kevin Quinn) despite his widowed father’s (Scott Wolf) objections. Eventually, beautiful music will be made… Lifetime’s Mistleton & Menorahs (Saturday, 6/5c) is that rare faith-inclusive holiday movie, in which co-workers at a toy company (Kelley Jakle and Jake Epstein), one Christian and one Jewish, introduce each other to their respective traditions (Christmas and Hannukah) as romance blooms… Laura Osnes, who has enjoyed a busy Broadway and concert career since winning the Grease: You’re the One that I Want! TV competition 12 years ago, stars in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ A Homecoming for the Holidays (Saturday, 9/8c) as a singer-songwriter who meets the guy of her dreams (Stephen Huszar) while entertaining the troops… Ray J and Reagan Gomez-Preston play siblings betting on who’ll be the first to first love by Christmas on TV One’s Santa, I Need a Date (Sunday, 7/6c)… The ubiquitous Dolly Parton is back again, acting as matchmaker to an event planner (Danica McKellar) and an operations director (Niall Matter) in Hallmark’s Christmas at Dollywood (Sunday, 8/7c)… Another fan favorite, Alison Sweeney, plays a widow finding new love in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ laboriously titled Time for You to Come Home for Christmas (Sunday, 9/8c)… Bounce’s Greyson Family Christmas (Sunday, 9/8c) stars Kalilah Harris as an African-American law student bringing her boyfriend (Karson Kern), who happens to be white, home to meet and perhaps win over her family during the holidays.
Inside Weekend TV: Jennifer Lopez brings her style and sass for a third appearance as host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live (11:30/10:30c), with DaBaby as first-time musical guest… Adam Sandler, whose dramatic turn in the upcoming movie Uncut Gems has earned industry buzz, gives a very personal interview to CBS’s 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7:30/6:30c, 7/PT), inviting Sharyn Alfonsi into his childhood New Hampshire home. … Steve Harvey hosts the 2019 Miss Universe competition (Sunday, 7/6c, Fox), with women from more than 90 countries competing in Atlanta… ABC marks the 30th anniversary of America’s Funniest Home Videos with a new Christmas episode (Sunday, 7/6c), followed by a retrospective special, AFV: America, This Is You! (Sunday, 8/7c), in which former hosts Bob Saget and Tom Bergeron join Alfonso Ribeiro to look back at classic clips, revisit contestants from years past, and reflect on changes in video technology over the decades… Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa host the 13th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute (Sunday, 8/7c), profiling a Top 10 assembly of inspiring people, with celebrity presenters and Andy Grammer and the PS 22 Chorus performing… Airdate correction: Travel Channel’s self-explanatory Expedition Bigfoot, originally scheduled to premiere last Wednesday, now begins its search Sunday at 10/9c.