Worth Watching: ‘Lincoln Rhyme’ Comes to TV, ‘Medical Police’ & RuPaul on Netflix, ‘ET’ Turns 10,000
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector (8/7c, NBC): Eventually all good literary detectives come to TV. And so after 14 novels (and a cameo in at least one other), Jeffery Deaver’s irascible paraplegic sleuth headlines a weekly procedural, starting with his first case (also the basis of a 1999 movie starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie). Russell Hornsby (late of Grimm) provides a strong center as Lincoln, a gifted — and doesn’t-he-know-it — forensics wizard whose time on the NYPD was cut short by a tragic accident on the job that left him paralyzed. The return of his serial-killer nemesis, the titular “Bone Collector,” brings Lincoln back into the NYPD fold as a consultant, using officer Amelia Sachs (Arielle Kebbel), who Lincoln sees as “a blank slate with great instincts,” to do his legwork. The plot mechanics are nothing new, but the partnership of Lincoln and Amelia shows promise. (It definitely sells books.)
Medical Police (streaming on Netflix): The first joke you hear in this spinoff from the twisted minds behind Childrens Hospital is meta one — about spinoffs. A few gags later, Hospital regulars Lola Spratt (Erinn Hayes) and cocky Owen Maestro (Rob Huebel) find themselves conscripted to the top-secret “G932” division of the CDC as “provisional special agents,” trotting the globe from Brazil to Berlin to Florence to Sunday, tracking bioterrorists and seeking a cure for a world-threatening new virus. As the promo boasts, they’re doctors — and cops! “Yeah, it’s a big concept we’re still wrapping our heads around,” quips Lola in one of many self-referential moments. Wacky slapstick comedy in Police Academy/Airplane style, if that’s your thing.
Also new to Netflix: AJ and the Queen, a 10-episode dramatic/comedic showcase for the Emmy-winning Drag Race host RuPaul, collaborating with Sex and the City‘s Michael Patrick King. Ru is drag star Ruby Red, who hits the road with 10-year-old stowaway AJ (Izzy Gaspersz) in a vintage RV after her life savings are stolen. Along the way, Ruby encounters many an alum from RuPaul’s Drag Race in a search for the ex-lover (Josh Segarra) and accomplice, Lady Danger (Tia Carrere), who absconded with the earnings she had hoped to use to open her own club.
Entertainment Tonight (syndicated, check local listings): Now here’s a milestone worthy of a Guinness World Records title: The pioneering show-biz newsmag celebrates its 10,000th episode with a special look back at how ET has evolved over 40 years. Highlights include an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey and a celebration of Rod Stewart’s 75th birthday.
Inside Friday TV: The season finale of the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series takes us to Act Two of opening night, after last-minute cast changes in Act One… If that weren’t enough, Encore! (also on Disney+) revisits an actual high-school production of High School Musical from 12 years ago in a Wisconsin high school, when the cast returns after all this time to play it again… New to streaming: last year’s cult horror hit Midsommar debuts on Amazon Prime Video. Directed by Ari Aster (the freaky Hereditary), the creepy film stars Florence Pugh (The Little Drummer Girl), Jack Reynor (Strange Angel) and The Good Place‘s William Jackson Harper as American tourists who attend a once-every-90 years midsummer festival in Sweden which takes a very sinister turn.… Travel Channel’s Kindred Spirits (9/8c) visits the actual haunted house featured in the film The Conjuring… ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) offers a true-crime bonus in the two-hour “Tainted Love, Murder & Pamela Smart,” featuring Juju Chang’s interview with the convicted murderess, who’s hoping for a new chance at freedom after nearly 30 years behind bars