Worth Watching: Revisit ‘Person of Interest,’ Salt-N-Pepa’s Spicy Biopic, a ‘Wild Year’ in Nature, NFL Championships
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Person of Interest (Saturday, now streaming on HBO Max): If I had infinite time, I’d be spending the next few weeks reliving the five seasons of a provocative sci-fi/procedural/action hybrid that’s so original and unpredictable it’s hard to believe it ever aired on CBS (2011-16). Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel star as the men behind “The Machine,” an AI device that can identify crimes and victims before a bad act occurs. Its creator, Finch (Emerson), enlists ex-Special Forces op Reese (Caviezel) to intervene with those deemed “irrelevant” by the government. With two NYPD detectives (Taraji P. Henson and Kevin Chapman) — and later an assassin (Sarah Shahi) and an unstable hacker (Amy Acker) — on their side, POI evolves into one of TV’s great conspiracy thrillers. If you never discovered it, dive right in.
Salt-N-Pepa (Saturday, 8/7, Lifetime): Travel back to the ’80s for a musical biopic depicting the rise of pioneering female hip-hop stars Cheryl “Salt” James (GG Townson) and Sandra “Pepa” Denton (Laila Odom) — and later Deidra “DJ Spinderella” Roper (Monique Paul) — as they conquer the charts, going platinum and winning a Grammy for their spicy, sexy, rapping repertoire. Battling the music industry’s institutional sexism makes their victory that much sweeter. Followed by the interview special Let’s Talk About Salt-N-Pepa (11/10c), hosted by Loni Love, in which the actual Queens of Hip Hop discuss their 35-year partnership.
A Wild Year on Earth (Saturday, 8/7c, BBC America): 12 months go by so quickly on this planet, and yet some aspects of nature evolve right on schedule. Downton Abbey‘s Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) narrates a six-part nature series for Wonderstruck, canvassing the globe while tracking the changing seasons and the patterns of migration and transformation over the course of a single year. The journey begins in January, contrasting the frigid Arctic environment with the sultry climate of the tropics.
NFL Football: This year’s Super Bowl contenders will be decided on Sunday, with the battle of the Bays at the NFC Championship (3 pm/2c, Fox), when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, a showdown between star QB’s Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers; and the relentless underdogs of the Buffalo Bills taking on the reigning champs of the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship (6:30/5:30c, CBS) at Arrowhead Stadium.
Bridge and Tunnel (Sunday, 9/8c, Epix): Another blast of 1980s nostalgia, courtesy of writer/director Ed Burns, who plays the dad in a shrill half-hour dramedy about working-class Long Islanders in their 20s who are yearning to start their lives in the big city or the world beyond — if only they can break free from the relationships that may be holding them back. Sam Vartholomeos stars as Jimmy, newly graduated and anticipating a career as a National Geographic photographer with a trip to Alaska a month away. His buds warn him not to take back up with his ex, Jill (Caitlin Stasey), a headstrong aspiring fashion designer. But if he listened, there’d be no show.
Agatha Christie’s England (Sunday, 10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): This breezy biographical travelogue takes the viewer to the country homes, villages (including one named Marple!), estates and locales throughout Britain that are said to have inspired many of the Queen of Mystery’s best-remembered novels and characters. With Agatha Christie’s readership behind only Shakespeare and the Bible, this counts as iconography.
Inside Weekend TV: Flipping the script on the typical Hallmark romance, where a prince pretends to be a commoner, the channel’s A Winter Getaway (Saturday, 9/8c) stars Brooks Darnell as a guy who wins a trip to a luxury mountain resort, is mistaken for a millionaire, and goes along with the ruse after falling for the concierge (Nazneen Contractor)… Broadcaster Rich Eisen interviews sports and entertainment celebrities in Epix’s The Eisen Hour (Saturday, 10/9c)… HBO’s Emmy-winning Euphoria returns for a second special (Sunday, 9/8c), this time focusing on Jules (Hunter Schafer) during the Christmas holiday… The second episode of Masterpiece Mystery‘s Miss Scarlet & The Duke (Sunday, 8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) reveals a secret side of Victorian society as the fledgling female detective (Kate Phillips) attempts to prove the innocence of a man found with a bloody knife at a murder scene in his own home… The third season of The CW’s Charmed (Sunday, 9/8c) opens with The Faction closing in on The Charmed Ones… Airing immediately after the AFC Championship on a new night, CBS’s FBI (approximately 10/9c, 8/MT, 7/PT) returns from winter break with a case involving fatal shootings at a quinceañera. Another new episode airs Tuesday in its regular time period.