Worth Watching: ‘Cobra Kai,’ a Special ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ ‘The Office’ Moves to Peacock
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Happy New TV Year! And a busy one it already is on the first day of 2021.
Cobra Kai (streaming on Netflix): The long-awaited third season of the Karate Kid spinoff picks up in the aftermath of the brawl between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do that left Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) in the hospital, Robby (Tanner Buchanan) on the run, and the fate of the rival dojos in jeopardy. Can Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (William Zabka) ever escape their past, and will either of them be able to take down the menace that is Kreese (Martin Kove)?
Also on Netflix: the family-friendly action film We Can Be Heroes, a follow-up to director Robert Rodriguez’ The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl), in which the kids of Earth’s superheroes step up to save their parents — and the world — when alien invaders kidnap the good guys… And from the real world: A second season of Dream Home Makeover, an animated Headspace Guide to Meditation to help you find your bliss in the new year, and the documentary The Minimalists: Less Is Now, featuring two buddies who’ve found success by doing with less. Which is an odd fit for the most maximalist of streaming services, where less is never more.
Doctor Who (8/7c, BBC America): A special holiday episode, “Revolution of the Daleks,” opens with the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) still in intergalactic prison, leaving the earthbound companions bereft in the face of an impending threat from those pesky Daleks. Who to turn to? Cue that dashing Time Agent, Capt. Jack Harkness (Torchwood‘s John Barrowman), who stopped hanging with the Doctor three incarnations ago. Welcome back, Capt. Jack!
RuPaul’s Drag Race (8/7c, VH1, simulcast on The CW, MTV, MTV2, Logo and PopTV): The Emmy-winning drag competition sashays into its 13th dazzling season with the first-ever simulcast on a broadcast network, and statuesque host RuPaul has concocted a new twist for the occasion. Even before the 13 new queens are introduced, they’re told they must face off immediately in six lip syncs for their lives. No one said this race, however fabulous it might be, would be easy.
The Office (now streaming on Peacock): Those hapless Dunder Mifflin office drones have packed up and moved to a new streaming home, putting them back in the NBC fold. The first two seasons are free, but the remaining six seasons — including “Superfan Episodes” with extended, never-before-seen footage and deleted scenes – will require a Peacock Premium subscription.
Inside Friday TV: Among the plentiful post-season college football action this weekend are the playoff semifinals: the Rose Bowl, where No. 1 Alabama faces No. 4 Notre Dame at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas instead of in Pasadena because of COVID-19 restrictions (4 pm/3c, ESPN); and the Sugar Bowl (8/7c, ESPN) from New Orleans’ Superdome, where No. 2 Clemson takes on No. 3 Ohio State… National Geographic’s Emmy-winning docuseries Life Below Zero marks a milestone with its 150th episode (9/8c), set during Alaska’s too-short summer, during which Ricko helps his kids build a tree house while it’s still feasible… A PBS tradition continues with the annual Great Performances broadcast of From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2021 (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org), featuring the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Ballet, but because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) hosts remotely from the English estate of Goodwood House… Streaming on BritBox: An annual event every New Year’s Day in England, the special holiday episode of long-running sitcom Mrs. Brown’s Boys stars Brendan O’Carroll as the filthy-tongued matriarch Agnes Brown, whose family is unnerved by a local burglary.