Worth Watching: ‘Hamilton’ Rocks on Disney, ‘Hanna’ Returns, Carl Reiner’s ‘Dick Van Dyke’ Classics, ‘Baby-Sitters Club’
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Hamilton (streaming on Disney+): In what could arguably be called the TV event of the summer, a live-capture filmed version of the Broadway phenomenon, with most of the Tony-winning original cast, bypasses the big screen — since most movie theaters are currently as dark as Broadway houses — and arrives ahead of schedule as a streaming exclusive. It’s hard to imagine a more meaningful curtain-raiser to the 4th of July weekend than this dazzling and multi-cultural take on the nation’s founding fathers, elevated by composer-star Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s linguistic and melodic brilliance. Tony winners Leslie Odom Jr. (as Aaron Burr), Renée Elise Goldsberry (as Angelica Schuyler) and Daveed Diggs (in a sensational dual role as LaFayette and Thomas Jefferson) join Miranda’s title character in a rapping rhapsody of early American history.
For a deep dive into the show’s history and impact, Disney+ collaborates with TheUndefeated.com for Hamilton In-Depth with Kelley Carter, in which the journalist conducts a virtual roundtable with much of the cast and director (of the show and the film) Thomas Kail.
Hanna (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): In the second season of the relentless spy thriller, the orphaned teenage fugitive Hanna (Esmé Creed-Miles) adopts a fake name, “Mia Wolff,” as if to confirm the show’s debt to Alias. On the run from Utrax, the rogue government agency that genetically engineered a race of female sleeper assassins, Hanna vows to protect her fellow escapee, Clara (Yasmin Monet Price). Is there anyone they can trust? (See the full review.)
The Dick Van Dyke Show — Now in Living Color! A Special Tribute to Carl Reiner (8/7c, CBS): In the original pilot of the classic 1960s sitcom, then titled Head of the Family, series creator Carl Reiner tried on the role of TV writer and suburban dad Rob Petrie. When that didn’t sell, The Dick Van Dyke Show was born, and the rest is TV history. As an homage to the legendary Reiner, who passed away earlier this week at 98, two episodes featuring Reiner — one as dyspeptic TV star/boss Alan Brady, the other as an eccentric artist who unveils a scandalous painting of Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) — will be shown in colorized versions personally supervised by Reiner when they were originally broadcast in 2016 and 2017. (The scene in which Laura tries to apologize to Alan Brady for accidentally revealing in public that he wears a toupee is a series highlight.)
The Baby-Sitters Club (streaming on Netflix): The popular book series by Ann M. Martin comes to life in a series with a sterling pedigree; its executive producers hail from GLOW and Broad City, two terrific series about female friendship and empowerment. Likewise, the seventh-graders who start a babysitting business bond while coming of age through their myriad adventures. The cast includes Alicia Silverstone as Elizabeth, the mom of club founder Kristy Thomas (Sophie Grace), and Mark Feuerstein as Elizabeth’s likable, wealthy beau.
Inside Friday TV: Some early July 4th celebrations on Live with Kelly and Ryan (syndicated, check local listings), with the perky hosts video-chatting from their back yards with Hamilton‘s aforementioned Goldsberry and sharing “Good News” stories; and The CW’s iHeartCountry 4th of July BBQ (8/7c), hosted by Bobby Bones, with country stars Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina and Old Dominion performing live from their own backyards… Aimee Mann is guest songwriter for an episode of the charming Apple TV+ animated series Central Park, in which Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.) and son Cole (Tituss Burgess) enjoy a Squavenger Hunt in the park… Newly available On Demand: John Lewis: Good Trouble, a documentary profile of the legendary civil-rights leader and congressman who at 80 continues to fight the good fight.