Worth Watching: ‘Lance’ on ESPN (and a ‘Last Dance’ Replay on ABC), Memorial Day Concert, a Killer ‘Eve’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Lance (Sunday, 9/8c, ESPN): Having reaped record ratings for a documentary with the epic The Last Dance, ESPN continues to fill the sports vacuum on Sundays with high-profile non-fiction programming from its “30 for 30” catalogue. Less celebratory than the Chicago Bulls-Michael Jordan story, the two-part Lance (concluding May 31) is built around extensive and revealing interviews with the iconic, then infamous, cycling legend Lance Armstrong. His commentary, and that of friends, teammates, rivals and journalists, shape a fascinating story of athletic triumph and disgrace.
If you somehow missed out on the action over the last month, in an act of corporate synergy, ABC begins a replay of The Last Dance (Saturday, 8/7c), with back-to-back episodes airing over the next five Saturdays, revisiting the reign of the Chicago Bulls and its star player Michael Jordan as they pursued a sixth and championship title in a thrilling and controversial 1997-98 season.
National Memorial Day Concert (Sunday, 8/7c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): An annual tradition celebrating troops and veterans, past and present, can’t be sidelined by a pandemic. While no one will be gathering on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol this year because of the outbreak — I used to attend these concerts regularly when living in Washington, D.C. — the show will go on with new segments filmed remotely. Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise return as hosts, with Hamilton‘s Christopher Jackson opening the show with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. Also providing new musical moments: Cynthia Erivo (soon to be Aretha Franklin on TV), Broadway star Kelli O’Hara, opera great Renée Fleming, gospel legend CeCe Winans and the National Symphony Orchestra (directed by Jack Everly). Military bands and choruses will be heard in new and past performances, and among those appearing from previous concerts will be Sam Elliott, Laurence Fishburne and Esai Morales. Live or not, it’s always a memorable occasion.
Killing Eve (Sunday, 10/9c, BBC America and AMC): Hard to believe the season is almost over already for this kinky and twisted spy thriller. In the penultimate episode, an agent of The Twelve describes chaos thusly: “It’s monstrous, but it’s beautiful.” She’s also describing Villanelle (Jodie Comer), the mercurial assassin who may be thinking about leaving the deadly games behind with her burned-out handler, Konstantin (Kim Bodnia). But first, one more mission alongside her feisty mentor, Dasha (Harriet Walter), neither aware than an intrepid Eve (Sandra Oh) is hot on their trail. Even though she’s been warned by an out-of-sorts Caroline (Fiona Shaw) that “Heroes only get the girl in Hollywood.”
Run (Sunday, 10:30/9:30c, HBO): The most unconventional rom-com in ages approaches the end of the line in the bittersweet season finale, with runaways Ruby (Merritt Wever) and Billy (Domhnall Gleeson) still seeming to enjoy their fugitive status. They might reconsider if they knew the law, represented by small-town detective Babe (Tamara Podemski) and her new companion, quirky taxidermist Laurel (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), was only a step, or a stop, behind. But as the train heads into L.A.’s Union Station and real life beckons, will the couple (not to mention viewers) look back on the hectic trip and think it was worth it?
Inside Weekend TV: It wouldn’t be a holiday weekend without a marathon of Hallmark Channel movies. This year’s (continuing through Monday evening) kicks off with an original, Love at the Shore (Saturday, 9/8c), starring Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist) as a single mom who finds herself hanging more than ten with the surfer (Peter Porte) during a working beach vacation. Happy the Dog co-stars!… For the legion of fans who’ve savored those comical “This is Sports Center” ads over the last 25 years, ESPN salutes the tradition with three back-to-back-to-back The Best of This Is Sports Center specials (Sunday, noon/11c), hosted by anchors Steve Levy and Elle Duncan. The first hour spotlights the ESPN anchors, the second looks at the superstar athletes who played along and the third focuses on the hilarious team mascots… Sports-hungry fans can watch four legends face off on the golf course in The Match: Champions for Charity (Sunday, 3 pm/2c, simulcast on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN). Golf greats Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson reprise their rivalry from a similar match in 2018 — Mickelson won in a tiebreaker—while football icons Tom Brady and Peyton Manning face off, all playing for COVID-19 relief funds… And after scoring big numbers for the return of NASCAR last weekend at the Darlington Cup, Fox devotes its Sunday lineup to the 600-mile Charlotte Cup (5:30/4:30c)… Winner of 11 Oscars, 1997’s epic Titanic (Sunday, 7/6c) will sink or swim as the biggest blockbuster yet in CBS’s stopgap Sunday Night at the Movies franchise.