Worth Watching: Get a ‘Room 104’ With Gary Cole!, 9/11 Remembrances, ‘Ted Lasso’ to Liverpool
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Room 104 (11/10c, HBO): Two great TV veterans check into the offbeat anthology as the final season winds down. In “No Dice,” Gary Cole turns the smarm meter to the highest setting as game-show host Chip Crawford, whose slipping ratings and subsequent forced fan outreach bring him face to face in Room 104 with his biggest fan, 80-year-old Enid. Linda Lavin is marvelous, as usual, as the super-fan with an agenda, her hero worship laced with a lifetime’s worth of grievance and disappointment. The story’s not much, but they’re a joy to watch.
9/11 Remembered: The Day We Came Together (8/7c): As a tribute to those who died on September 11, 2001, their families and first responders, this special revisits the opening ceremony in May 2014 that dedicated the 9/11 Memorial Museum on the site of the World Trade Center. Personal testimonials are featured, as well as addresses from then-President Obama and then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Performances include “Somewhere” by a 300-voide children’s choir, “Fanfare for the Common Man” from the New York Philharmonic, and “Amazing Grace” sung by Tony-winning artist La Chanze, whose husband died in the attack.
9/11: The Final Minutes of Flight 93 (8/7c, History) and 9/11: The Pentagon (9/8c, History): In back-to-back documentaries reliving the tragic attacks 19 years ago, History first turns to the hijacked airliner that crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Using previously classified evidence — Secret Service documents, transmissions from air traffic control, a top-secret audio recording — the special provides a minute-by-minute account of the heroism that prevented Flight 93 from reaching its target. In The Pentagon, eyewitnesses tell their story of what happened within the building in the minutes after impact.
Ted Lasso (streaming on Apple TV+): Can’t think of a happier way to spend a half-hour than in the company of this charming comedy. One of the best episodes yet takes Midwestern fish-out-of-water U.K. soccer coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) and the team to Liverpool, hoping to reverse a 60-year losing streak against the home team. Emotions run high not just because of the game, but a mopier-than-usual Ted has divorce papers to sign, and team owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddington) is trying not to obsess on her first anniversary since her own much-uglier divorce. As Rebecca tries to let her gorgeous hair down, Ted has a brainstorm: Let nebbishy Nathan (Nick Mohammed) give the pre-game talk. The results are amazing.
Inside Friday TV: Katherine Ryan writes and stars in the Netflix comedy The Duchess as an irreverent single mom living in London who wishes to grow her family — but dare she have a second child with her beloved daughter Olive’s less beloved daddy?… Just renewed for a sixth season, Nickelodeon’s animated The Loud House launches its fifth with an hour-long special (7/6c), in which Lincoln and his friends start middle school while the rest of his sibs also advance a grade, including Lori, who’s starting her freshman year in college… PBS’s Great Performances (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org) tells Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet story through dance, in a deluxe 2019 film version of the ballet, staging the Prokofiev score and Kenneth McMillan’s choreography in gorgeous Hungarian locations… A new edition of ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) looks into the murder in April of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, who had reportedly alleged sexual harassment at the Army base before her brutal death… Dateline NBC (10/9c) revisits the notorious murder trial of South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who shot and killed his girlfriend in 2013.