Worth Watching: ‘Lovecraft Country,’ a Show That ‘Goes Wrong,’ a Royal ‘Photo Album,’ Shark Week Gets ‘Naked’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Lovecraft Country (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): It’s hard to know what’s scarier in this well-timed horror fantasy: the grotesque monsters leaping from the pages of pulp fiction, or the flesh-and-blood racists who also bedevil the heroes in a harrowing picaresque road trip through 1950s Jim Crow America. Jonathan Majors stars as Atticus, a bookish Korean War veteran who sets off on a bizarre journey with childhood friend Letitia (the sensational Jurnee Smollett) to learn what’s behind his mysterious birthright. (See the full review.)
The Goes Wrong Show (Saturday, streaming on Amazon Prime Video): Brought to you by Murphy’s Law… Based on The Play That Goes Wrong, the raucous stage comedy that took the U.K.’s West End and Broadway by storm, this slapstick series adaptation stars the original Mischief cast members. They play members of the hapless amateur Cornley Dramatic Society, who attempt to tackle all sorts of awful made-for-TV plays — a horror story, a war drama, a period romance, a Christmas fable, a Deep South melodrama — with predictably and hilariously disastrous results. I know what I’ll be binge-watching this weekend.
Lucy Worsley’s Royal Photo Album (Sunday, 8/7c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but who’s to say how much a photo of the British royals is worth? A new special from royal historian Lucy Worsley looks at the history of the British monarchy through the lens of photography, starting with Queen Victoria’s earliest use of the medium to present a relatable image of her family to a royalty-averse public. Sometimes photography led to scandal, as with Edward VIII’s abdication, and other times adoration, with Princess Diana using her glamour and publicity to spotlight social issues. Although Worsley contends that Diana’s death, attributed in part to aggressive paparazzi, may have soured the royals for good on photographers.
Naked & Afraid of Sharks 2 (Sunday, 8/7c, Discovery): Capping a busy weekend of Shark Week specials to bring this year’s shark-a-palooza to a close, Discovery drops five Naked and Afraid veterans on islands near the Bermuda Triangle. Surrounded by the infested waters of “Shark Alley,” these unprotected survivalists face a real challenge when it comes to fishing for food. Other titles in Shark Week’s final nights: Sharks of Ghost Island (Saturday, 8/7c), Wicked Sharks (Saturday, 9/8c), Sharks Gone Wild 3 (Saturday, 10/9c) and I Was Prey: Terrors from the Deep (Saturday, 11/10c).
Inside Weekend TV: With the Biden/Harris and Trump/Pence campaigns heading into their nominating conventions the next two weeks, Showtime revives its political behind-the-scenes docuseries The Circus (Sunday, 8/7c)… Two stars of big and small screen open up about their high-profile lives in Reelz’ In My Own Words specials on Sunday: Bo Derek (9/8c) and Fran Drescher (10/9c)… With only one episode more in its third season, Paramount Network’s Yellowstone (Sunday, 9/8c) finds the bunkhouse boys up in arms over what just happened to two of their own… TLC’s Darcey & Stacey (Sunday, 10/9c) spins off a spinoff with a series focusing on 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days fan favorites, as Darcey Silva tries to get over her ex, Tom, while twin sister Stacey welcomes her Albanian fiancé to America… After the latest tragic twist, the penultimate episode of AMC’s NOS4A2 (Sunday, 10/9c) sends Vic (Ashleigh Cummings) and Maggie (Jahkara J. Smith) into enemy territory. Episode title: “Welcome to Christmasland,” a place where the Grinch would be about as scary as a Hello Kitty doll.