Worth Watching: Revisiting the ‘Fatal Vision’ Crime, Streaming Thrills in ‘Utopia’ and ‘Tehran,’ Amber Ruffin Takes the Stage
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
A Wilderness of Error (8/7c, FX): Don’t expect definitive answers, but do expect to be drawn into decades of true-crime intrigue in this five-part docuseries from the Emmy-winning producer of The Jinx. Based on the book by filmmaker Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line), who appears in the series, Error revisits the notorious so-called Fatal Vision case, in which Green Beret and Army surgeon Jeffrey McDonald was convicted of the 1970 murder of his pregnant wife, Colette, and their two daughters. (Joe McGinniss’s book Fatal Vision inspired a 1984 NBC miniseries.) Morris’s obsession with the case, including the “woman in a floppy hat” who McDonald claimed led the hippie gang he accused of the murder, becomes a search for an elusive truth that might someday even exonerate McDonald 41 years after his conviction.
Utopia (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): The Boys not enough for you? Get ready for a new cult obsession in an eight-part conspiracy thriller from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, adapting a 2013-14 British series. The twisty adventure follows a group of comic-book fans (including You’re the Worst‘s Desmin Borges and Cougar Town‘s Dan Byrd) who bond over a fictional comic called Utopia, which may hold the clue to stop a looming virus — how unfortunately timely — from destroying the world.
Tehran (streaming on Apple TV+): Still in Homeland withdrawal? Consider this international spy thriller, starring Israeli actress Niv Sultan as Mossad agent Tamar Rabinyan, who enters the Iranian capital on a deep undercover assignment. Wherever she goes, danger follows. After a three-episode premiere, the remaining five episodes air weekly.
The Great British Baking Show (streaming on Netflix): Or, if you need your nerves soothed — and who doesn’t these days? — Netflix helpfully premieres the eighth “collection” (as in season) of the universally adored cooking competition, which reportedly was filmed this summer in a “bubble” in an empty hotel. Matt Lucas is the new host, but it’s really about the bakers. New episodes drop each Friday, three days after their U.K. premiere.
The Amber Ruffin Show (streaming on Peacock): The delightful and sharp-witted comedian, who first captured public attention while a staff writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers for on-camera segments including “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” and “Amber Says What,” gets her own showcase for topical comedy. She’ll have plenty to riff on in her premiere episode, which promises plenty of comic bits like you see at the start of most late-night TV shows.
Ted Lasso (streaming on Apple TV+): Another plug, with only one more episode to go in the first season of this sports comedy, which is so heartwarming it could even bring a tear to the eye when soccer-team boss Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) finally comes clean to American coach Ted (Jason Sudeikis) about her schemes to sabotage the team and her improbable new hire. Ted’s got his own problems, as he is forced to consider benching the aging and combative team captain Roy (Brett Goldstein).
Inside Friday TV: CBS revives its summer series The Greatest #AtHome Videos (8/7c), with rapper MC Hammer guesting in a Zoom segment where he surprises a high-school principal in Alabama who covered his hit “U Can’t Touch This” in a video… The all-star cast of the Father of the Bride movies — including Steve Martin, Diane Keaton and Martin Short — reunites for a mini-sequel written and directed by Nancy Meyers as a benefit for World Central Kitchen. Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish) will be available for streaming on Netflix, YouTube and Facebook at 6/5c, 3 pm/PT… The Disney+ movie Secret Society of Second-Born Royals stars Andi Mack‘s Peyton Elizabeth Lee as rebellious princess Sam, second in line to the Illyria throne, who discovers she’s part of a group of second-born royal kids with special superpowers.