Worth Watching: ‘Dickinson’ Returns, a Stroker of Genius on ‘Blue Bloods, Alex Trebek’s Last Episode
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Dickinson (streaming on Apple TV+): Raucous, raunchy, laced with hip-hop flourishes to suggest just how ahead of her time the poet Emily Dickinson truly was, this unconventionally funky fantasia is back for a second season, imagining a ribald and proudly anachronistic inner life for the reclusive, elusive 19th-century legend. Hailee Steinfeld is bold, brash and brazenly unpredictable as the young Emily, who flirts with danger — including with Sue (Ella Hunt), who has married her brother (Adrian Blake Enscoe) — as well as the prospect of a fame she would never realize in her own lifetime. Guest stars include Veep‘s Timothy Simons as renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and Nick Kroll as the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe. Hands-down, this is the ballsiest Belle of Amherst you’ll ever see. (Three episodes launch the season, with weekly episodes following. A third season has already been commissioned.)
Blue Bloods (10/9c, CBS): Like many series filmed in New York City, this long-running police drama often takes advantage of the rich talent nurtured on Broadway’s stages. This week, that includes Ali Stroker, the groundbreaking Tony-winning star of the recent Oklahoma! revival. She guests as Det. Allison Mulaney, who makes a personal plea to Frank (Tom Selleck) to stay active in the field after being wounded in the line of duty and now using a wheelchair.
Jeopardy! (syndicated, check local listings): The day fans have dreaded has finally arrived, with the final original episode of the late Alex Trebek‘s celebrated run as host of TV’s best-ever quiz show. Do not tune out after Final Jeopardy, because the producers have prepared a special tribute to Trebek at the end of the show. Ken Jennings takes over next week as the first of many interim guest hosts, a list that reportedly will also include Katie Couric. Good luck to them all.
Pretend It’s a City (streaming on Netflix): “I’m filled with opinions,” declares urban wit Fran Lebowitz, who’s made a living from sharing with fans such barbed observations as, “In New York, there are millions of people, and the only person looking where she’s going is me.” This is her second collaboration with director Martin Scorsese — the first, Public Speaking, aired on HBO in 2010 — and he hangs on and delights in her every word, as Lebowitz riffs on all aspects of city life in her distinctively funny, acerbic way, with a kvetch for every occasion.
Also new to Netflix: a fifth season of Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons, in which host Raphael Rowe — who was unjustly incarcerated in a British prison for 12 years — looks behind the bars to investigate prison life in Greenland, South African and the Philippines… Lupin, a European caper, stars Omar Sy as Senegalese immigrant and “gentleman thief” Assane Diop, who models himself after the fictional icon Arsene Lupin to avenge a wrong inflicted upon his family.
Inside Friday TV: PBS’s long-running public-affairs show Washington Week in Review (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) gets a new look after the departure of moderator Robert Costa, who’s writing a book. Filling in as guest moderator for the next two weeks, with plenty to talk about: NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, with her NewsHour colleagues Amna Nawaz and Lisa Desjardins to follow… HGTV”s Self-Made Mansions (8/7c) teams lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly with nouveau riche entrepreneurs to upgrade into deluxe estates that would do a Clampett proud… ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) profiles serial killer Rodney Alcala, best known for appearing on — and winning — The Dating Game in 1978 during his decade-long crime spree.