Worth Watching: Nicki Minaj Visits ‘Drag Race,’ ‘Shark Tank’ Returns to Friday, ‘Kingmaker’ on Showtime, ‘Queen Sono’ & More Streaming
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
RuPaul’s Drag Race (8/7c, VH1): How much high camp can a single season premiere embrace? To launch the 12th season of the Emmy-winning reality competition, hip-hop superstar Nicki Minaj shocks the queens on the runway with a surprise appearance as she joins host RuPaul and judges Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews in the 90-minute premiere. Among the drag divas strutting their stuff: Crystal Methyd, Heidi N Closet and Sherry Pie. How Delish!
Shark Tank (8/7c, ABC): How’s this for timing? Having just announced her retirement from tennis at 32, Maria Sharapova joins the revolving tank of guest sharks (having founded Sugarpova) as the show moves back to the Friday lineup. Among the pitches: innovations in dog food, resistance training and hair- and skin-softening.
The Kingmaker (9/8c, Showtime): Described by the New York Times as “an unsettling look at imperial power,” this acclaimed documentary from Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles) profiles Imelda Marcos, notorious former first lady of the Philippines. Though best known for her lavish lifestyle — and shoes, so many shoes — Marcos reveals in this intimate portrait a keen sense of political manipulation in her self-promotion.
Queen Sono (streaming on Netflix): Said to be the streaming giant’s first fully produced African original series, filming in locations from South Africa to Zanzibar, Nigeria and Kenya, Queen Sono has elements of Alias in its spy-thriller DNA. Quantico‘s Pearl Thusi stars as Queen Sono, a maverick and glamorous agent working for South Africa’s Special Operations Group. Haunted by having witnessed the assassination of her anti-apartheid activist mother as a child, Queen seeks the truth while conducting a mission to take down a terrorist organization. Where’s Sydney Bristow when you need her?
Also new to Netflix: a third season of the German crime drama Babylon Berlin, with a new murder mystery unfolding in 1929, weeks before the calamitous stock-market crash; a second season of Formula 1: Drive to Survive, going behind the scenes of the racing circuit, this time including Ferrari and Mercedes teams; and the movie All the Bright Places, starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith as the emotionally scarred romantic heroes of Jennifer Niven’s novel.
Inside Friday TV: Disney+ goes to Shop Class in a new competition series featuring teams of young builders. In the opener, they’re challenged to create their own mini-golf holes… While Magnum P.I. is on hiatus, series co-star Zachary Knighton crosses over to CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 (9/8c) to help the team with a case involving a murder on a cargo ship where pirates impersonated the Coast Guard to gain access… FX’s The Weekly (10/9c) investigates “The Sicario,” the story of a Mexican hitman who may have killed as many as 100 people and could walk away without being charged of a single crime.