Worth Watching: ‘Endeavour’ Meets the 1970s, Mike Tyson Takes on Shark Week, ‘Perry Mason’ Finale
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Endeavour (Sunday, 9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Still years away from becoming the Inspector Morse of Masterpiece Mystery! legend, young Det. Sgt. Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) welcomes the 1970s in the seventh season, with the team thankfully reunited and Chief Superintendent Bright (Anton Lesser) back in charge. Series star Evans directs the 90-minute opener, in which a woman’s body is found on Oxford’s canal towpath on New Year’s Day.
Shark Week (Sunday, 8/7c, Discovery): The underwater franchise that launched a cottage industry is back, and opening night features Mike Tyson sparring with seaworthy predators like the black tip reef shark. First, though, is Air Jaws: Ultimate Breach Off, in which three research teams head to South Africa’s Mossel Bay to see who can capture the most shark breaches on film with the newest technology. Followed by Tyson vs. Jaws: Rumble on the Reef (9/8c), with iconic announcer Michael Buffer calling the shots as the fabled boxer, who’s planning a return to the ring in September, goes mano-a-fin below the surface, with no biting allowed from either camp. The night ends with Shark Lockdown (10/9c), which reflects life in a pandemic as researchers in New Zealand isolate themselves in self-propelled cages to investigate hunting patterns of female great whites.
Perry Mason (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): I’m happy to report that the response I’m seeing in my mailbag regarding this bold reimagining of TV’s most famous lawyer has considerably lightened up from the initial backlash. That could have something to do with Perry (Matthew Rhys) making his transition from grizzled private eye to underdog defense lawyer within the first season. In the finale, Perry has a tough decision to make: whether to put accused killer Emily Dodson (Gayle Rankin) on the stand. And however the verdict goes, Perry still has to deal with all of those dirty cops trying to take him down. Looking forward to seeing Perry and his team, including an ambitious Della Street (Juliet Rylance) and principled police veteran Paul Drake (Chris Chalk), back in action in Season 2.
ESPN 8: The Ocho (Saturday, starts at 2 pm/1c, ESPN2): In honor of August 8 (8/8), the sports network once again transforms itself into the quirkier ESPN8 for a nine-and-a-half-hour binge of offbeat sports, including a world deadlift attempt by 2018 World’s Strongest Man Hafþór Björnsson (aka Game of Thrones‘ “Mountain”), the Ohio Grocery Baggers Bowl 2020, a Foosball World Cup from 2019 and the documentary Foosballers, which goes inside the world of professional table soccer.
We Hunt Together (Sunday, 10/9c, Showtime): Eve Myles (Torchwood) stars in a gripping and grisly British crime drama as Lola, a brusque detective uneasily paired with Jackson (Babou Ceesay), a relentlessly chipper transfer from internal affairs. Their first case together is a doozy, as they follow the bloody trail of another odd couple: amoral and sensual Freddy (Hermione Corfield), who seduces haunted African immigrant Baba (Dipo Ola) to become the Clyde to her remorseless Bonnie. (See the full review.)
Inside Weekend TV: In honor of Lucille Ball, whose birthday (Aug. 6, 1911) was this week, game show-oriented Buzzr devotes a five-hour marathon Saturday (starts at 3 pm/2c) to the legendary comedian’s appearances on classic game shows including What’s My Line, Password and I’ve Got a Secret, where she was the “mystery guest” while appearing on Broadway in Wildcat. Hey, look her over. … Nickelodeon’s Danger Force returns with a five-week series of remotely produced “mini-sodes” (Saturday, 8/7c), the first featuring Frankie Grande as arch-villain Frankini while the city of Swellview remains in quarantine. … Lifetime’s two-night Surviving Jeffrey Epstein (Sunday, 8/7c, concludes Monday), airing on the anniversary of the convicted sex offender’s suspected suicide in prison, gives voice to eight of his victims, who tell how he preyed on underage girls for years, almost escaping justice. … The two-part finale of TNT’s The Alienist: Angel of Darkness (Sunday, 9/8c) finds Sara (Dakota Fanning) and John Moore (Luke Evans) exploring their romantic feelings even while the hunt for unhinged baby killer Libby (Rosy McEwen) reaches a fever peak.