Worth Watching: ‘Zoey’s’ Epic Fail, a Grim ‘Homeland,’ ‘Outsider’ Finale, ‘Smothers Brothers’ Revisited
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (Sunday, 9/8c, NBC): In this clever musical dramedy, Zoey (the terrific Jane Levy) learns that gaining insights into people’s psyches through fantasy song-and-dance can be a set-up for failure. This is especially true when she witnesses a tortured duet — set to a P!nk classic — between brother David (Andrew Leeds) and his very pregnant wife Emily (Alice Lee), revealing strains Zoey should know better than to try to address. Things are pretty emo in the workplace as well, after a supposedly anonymous peer review sends one of the more intense coders into an “Everybody Hurts” spiral. Maybe she’ll have better luck comforting hunky co-worker Simon (John Clarence Stewart) as he approaches an emotionally painful anniversary. Or maybe she’ll just make matters worse.
Homeland (Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime): So much for peace in Afghanistan. In an exceedingly grim and tense chapter of the spy thriller’s final season, a stricken Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Carrie (Claire Danes) assess the damage now that the president’s (Beau Bridges) helicopter appears to have been shot down in Taliban territory with the Afghan president also on board. Battlegrounds include the White House, where the antagonist vice president (Sam Trammell) is forced to make some dire decisions, and the helicopter crash site, where poor Max (Maury Sterling) is caught in the crossfire.
The Walking Dead (Sunday, 9/8c, AMC): War is also brewing in an emotionally resonant episode of the zombie drama, as the Whisperers plan an all-out assault on the residents of Hilltop. While the heroes nervously await the approaching zombie horde, and no doubt other nefarious tricks, the tone shifts from fatalistic to sorrowful to defiant. They’re all determined to survive, none more than Eugene (Josh McDermitt), who’s unusually endearing as he bonds with the unseen Stephanie over the radio.
The Outsider (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO) [Notice a trend? How many choices are there in one hour of TV?]: Seems everyone’s under fire these days, including the investigative team led by Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) and Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), last seen ducking bullets from sniper Jack Hoskins (Marc Menchaca), the unwilling slave of boogeyman El Coco. In the finale of this first-rate Stephen King adaptation, we’ll see who’s left standing after the firefight, and who makes it out of the Bear Cave alive after a climactic showdown with the shape-shifting menace.
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (Saturday, 11/10c, getTV): Not shown in decades, the classic variety series from the turbulent 1960s is getting a revival on Saturdays through March. A lightning rod for controversy because of its satirical criticism of the Vietnam War and the Nixon presidency, the show became a cultural touchstone before it was unceremoniously canceled (replaced by the cornball security blanket of Hee Haw). Starting with a 1967 episode featuring Sonny and Cher and Mission: Impossible stars Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, getTV will air each of these hours with all of the censored material restored. (Guests in future installments include iconic ’60s rockers Jefferson Airplane and The Doors, and fabled comedians Jonathan Winters, George Carlin and Moms Mabley.)
Inside Weekend TV: As spectacular as nature series can be, learning how the crews capture these stunning images is just as fascinating. Which is why BBC America’s Making Of: Seven Worlds, One Planet (Saturday, 9/8c) comes highly recommended… OWN’s Love Goals (Saturday, 9/8c) puts five quasi-celebrity couples through intense relationship therapy… While the release of the next James Bond movie (No Time to Die) has been pushed back in reaction to the coronavirus panic, Daniel Craig returns to NBC’s Saturday Night Live (Saturday, 11:30/10:30c) for his second time as guest host. The Weeknd is musical guest for the third time… To mark International Women’s Day, in an NHL first, an all-female crew in front of and behind the camera will deliver coverage of the St. Louis Blues-vs-Chicago Blackhawks game (Sunday, 7:30/6:30c, NBCSN)… Good sports show up in cameos on CBS’s NCIS: Los Angeles (Sunday, 9/8c) when boxing’s Evander Holyfield and pro wrestler Bill Goldberg appear as NCIS and DOJ agents, respectively… A new special agent, Quentin Carter (Charles Michael Davis), joins the team on CBS’s NCIS: New Orleans (Sunday, 10/9c), and doesn’t make the best first impression.