Worth Watching: All-Star ‘Coastal Elites,’ ‘Van der Valk’ Mysteries, Bob Woodward on ’60 Minutes’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Coastal Elites (Saturday, 8/7c, HBO): There’s preaching to the converted — and then there’s ranting, as in this inspired collection of mostly comic monologues about life in a politically polarized society during a pandemic, from master satirist Paul Rudnick. Shot in quarantine, the all-star cast includes Bette Midler, Schitt’s Creek‘s Dan Levy, Insecure‘s Issa Rae, Emmy winner Sarah Paulson and the remarkable Kaitlyn Dever, who keeps it the most real as a Wyoming nurse who comes to New York to help in the pandemic. (Read the full review.)
Van der Valk (Sunday, 9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Edgier and grislier than the normal Masterpiece Mystery!, this contemporary three-part series is an updated remake of a long-running series that aired in the U.K. in the 1970s and ’90s. Hustle‘s Marc Warren is the new Piet Van der Valk, a seasoned Dutch detective notable for his steely demeanor and testy temperament. (In classic tradition, he’s haunted by a tragic loss.) Amsterdam has never looked lovelier, or deadlier, than in these three twist-filled cases. (See the full review.)
60 Minutes (Sunday, 7/6c, CBS): The venerable newsmagazine is still a week away from its official premiere, but the news won’t wait — especially when it involves the exclusive first TV interview with journalist Bob Woodward, whose explosive new book Rage (and audio excerpts from the president) has been dominating political headlines in recent days. Woodward will discuss the revelations within the book, declaring it a “tragedy” that the president failed to tell the public how deadly the coronavirus was in the early days before the pandemic changed life in America.
Lovecraft Country (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): In the horror allegory’s freakiest episode to date — and that’s saying something — Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) takes center stage in a Twilight Zone-style interlude where she finally gets the chance to see how the other half — white society — lives, when the mysterious William (Jordan Patrick Smith) gives her an elixir for racial transformation. As you’d expect, shedding one’s skin on this show isn’t pretty, but for Ruby — now calling herself Hillary Davenport — the gruesome process may be worth it to get the promotion she’s always dreamed of. Until she realizes the true price of her awakening, that is.
We Hunt Together (Sunday, 10/9c, Showtime): In the suspenseful climax of the six-part British crime drama, Bonnie and Clyde-like Baba (Dipo Ola) and Freddy (Hermione Corfield) reach the end of their crime spree in a country cabin, where a standoff ensues with their pursuers, the mismatched coppers Jackson (Babou Ceesay) and Lola (Eve Myles). Before the blood has dried, it becomes clear that Freddy is one of the more memorable TV femme fatales since Luther‘s Alice (Ruth Wilson).
Inside Weekend TV: CNN teams with Sesame Street characters including Big Bird, Abby Cadabby and Super Grover for the latest all-family Town Hall, The ABCs of Back to School (Saturday, 10 am/9c), with hosts Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Erica Hill welcoming children and Muppets remotely to discuss the challenges of education during a pandemic… Ovation TV launches a four-part political thriller from 2012, Secret State (Saturday, 7/6c, 4 PT), a remake of 1988’s A Very British Coup. Gabriel Byrne stars as a British deputy prime minister who ascends to the top job after a tragedy and uncovers (you guessed it) a conspiracy. Preacher‘s Ruth Negga co-stars as an intelligence analyst… The Reelz special Lucille Ball: We Love Lucy (8/7c, 5/PT) celebrates the life and career of the comedy legend, with reminiscences from Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin and Debra Messing, who memorably impersonated Lucy in a recent episode of Will & Grace… In PBS’s Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets (Sunday, 7:30/6:30c, check local listings at pbs.org), the historian and curator of England’s historic royal palaces conducts a private tour of the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace… Court TV launches a weekly series, Judgment with Ashleigh Banfield (Sunday, 8/7c) in which the veteran anchor and legal analyst looks back at notorious court cases, starting with “Florida vs. Casey Anthony,” about the Florida mother accused but acquitted of the murder of 3-year-old daughter Caylee… Showtime’s animated satire Our Cartoon President (Sunday, 8:30/7:30c) resumes its third season with nine new episodes, spoofing the race for the presidency through the height of the campaign season.