Worth Watching: ‘Shrill,’ ‘Sabrina,’ ‘Ranch’ Return, ‘Goop Lab,’ Nickelodeon’s ‘Crystal Maze’
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Shrill (streaming on Hulu): “I’m trying to be the person that I actually want to be,” says Annie (Saturday Night Live‘s marvelous Aidy Bryant) in the second season of the sweetly raunchy character study of wishful self-fulfillment. Annie has quit her job at a trendy Portland, Oregon weekly The Thorn — which nicely describes the officious editor (John Cameron Mitchell) — and in her independence, she chooses as her first freelance assignment an interview with the Internet troll (SNL‘s Beck Bennett) she confronted in last season’s finale. While she and slacker boyfriend Ryan (Luka Jones) will learn that freedom comes with a price, who’s more worth rooting for than Annie?
Also streaming new seasons: Part 3 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix), in which the teenage witch (Kiernan Shipka) enlists her “Fright Club” gang to help rescue boyfriend Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) from hell, now that her father Lucifer is trapped inside Nick. Sabrina also takes the title “Queen” to defend against the Prince of Hell, while a carnival rides into Greendale with a tribe of pagans presenting a new threat to the Spellman coven… The Ranch (Netflix) drops its final 10 episodes, with the Bennett family (including Ashton Kutcher and Sam Elliott) facing an uncertain future now that the Iron River Ranch is in rival Lisa Neumann’s (Wendie Malick) hands.
And yet more streaming: The highest profile premiere on Netflix is Gwyneth Paltrow‘s The Goop Lab, a six-part look inside her new-age lifestyle brand as her team explores wellness in areas including psychedelics, female orgasms, energy healing and even psychic mediums. More like ewwww lab, but to each their own… Season finales on Disney+ include Encore! with a high-school revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes after 44 years, The World According to Jeff Goldblum as the actor takes a survey of jewelry, and it’s graduation day for the pups on Pick of the Litter.
The Crystal Maze (7/6c, Nickelodeon): Comedian Adam Conover is host of an elaborate family game show based on a U.K. hit format. As “Maze Master,” he guides families through physical and mental challenges in four themed zones — Aztec, Eastern, Futuristic and Industrial — within a giant labyrinth. The challenges have an escape-room quality, with the youngest family member acting as team captain, and the family gathers “time crystals” as they head to the finish line and the final “Crystal Dome” for an against-the-clock countdown to win up to $25,000.
Inside Friday TV: The 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships continues (8/7c, NBC) with the ladies’ free skate… MTV Presents: A 2020 Grammy Celebration (9/8c, MTV) is a countdown special detailing the top categories and nominees, featuring Grammy trivia past and present. Look for encore airings all weekend on MTV, VH1 and CMT, building to Sunday’s ceremony on CBS… The CW’s Dynasty (9/8c) promises a “historically epic encounter” between Cristal (Daniella Alonso) and Alexis (Elaine Hendrix), just like the good old days. Sorry, ladies, you’re no Linda Evans and Joan Collins.