Worth Watching: ‘Mandalorian’ Returns, ‘Sesame Street’ Swings, Lorraine Bracco in Italy
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
The Mandalorian (streaming on Disney+): Where Baby Yoda goes, we will follow — thankfully still in the protective company of stoic Mandalorian Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), who’s trying to get the adorable “Child” back to his own kind. The show that first put Disney’s streaming service on the map returns for a second season of adventures, geared to Star Wars fans of all ages, with mercenary Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and bounty hunter Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) along for the ride.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents: A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Having passed the half-century mark, Sesame Street is getting used to everyone singing its praises — and that includes the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. In a sold-out concert from Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre, iconic characters including Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Grover Oscar the Grouch, Abby and The Count swing to classics like “Rubber Duckie” with big-bang arrangements.
My Big Italian Adventure (9/8c, HGTV): The house came cheap — a single Euro (about $1.10 in U.S. money). But when The Sopranos star Lorraine Bracco jumped at the chance to buy a sprawling 200-year-old property on Sicily, the Italian isle of her ancestry, her investment would be considerable. A new series follows the actress’s adventures in renovation of a home that lacks electricity, running water, kitchen, bathrooms or sturdy floors, walls and roof. Among those who show up to give her emotional support: former Rizzoli & Isles co-star Angie Harmon.
The Deciders (9/8c, CBS): Reflecting the diversity of a divided nation, CBS News sends its correspondents across the country to talk to voters about what many regard as The Most Important Election In Our Lifetime. CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell anchors the special, with reporting from Gayle King (white female voters), Mark Strassmann (white male voters), James Brown (the Black vote), Maria Elena Salinas (Latino Americans), Elaine Quijano (Asian Americans), Jonathan Vigilotti (LGTGQ voters) and Jericka Duncan (young voters).
Similarly, PBS’s Washington Week (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) sends its moderator, The Washington Post‘s Robert Costa, back to his home state of Pennsylvania to retrace a report from four years that seemed to forecast that state’s vote that helped sway the tide for the current president. Costa’s update includes such 2020 factors as the pandemic, the battered economy, racial unrest and protests for police reform.
Truth Seekers (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): Shades of Supernatural‘s “Ghostfacers” and The X-Files‘ spinoff The Lone Gunmen in an eight-episode paranormal comedy about amateur investigators who dabble in the occult when they’re not busy installing broadband and cable. Nick Frost, who created the series with co-star Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), leads the cast as the shambling Gus, who resents his new sidekick Elton (Samson Kayo) until the “noob” reveals an affinity for the spirit world. As you might expect, the truth is out there, in the form of a deadly conspiracy.
Inside Friday TV: While the Peanuts classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is available for free streaming on Apple TV+ through Sunday, a lesser-known Halloween cartoon, the hour-long The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone is resurrected on nostalgia channel MeTV (9/8c, repeats Saturday at 7/6c)… Also on Apple TV+: the season finale of nail-biting international spy thriller Tehran… The delightful Netflix foodie travelogue Somebody Feed Phil is back with new episodes, as Phil Rosenthal digs into local cuisines in Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Singapore, Hawaii and the Mississippi Delta… If The Haunting of Bly Manor piqued your interest, Britbox streams a more faithful 1999 adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, starring Jodhi May as the governess and Colin Firth her employer… Gospel greats are honored in the 51st Annual Dove Awards (8/7c, TBN)… Showtime’s documentary Citizen Bio (9/8c) investigates the controversial practice of biohacking, in which people skirt formal science and government approvals to perform genetic experiments, often using themselves as guinea pigs, in hopes of developing cost-effective medical breakthroughs and possibly vaccines… Even PBS is getting into the Halloween spirit. In Exhumed: A History of Zombies (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), Monstrum’s Dr. Emily Zarka studies the zombie myth in various folklores and pop culture to reveal what stories of the undead say about the living… In a week of transition for the Supreme Court, Comedy Central offers The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents: Remembering RBG-A Nation Ugly Cries with Desi Lydic (11/10c), in tribute to the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg.