Worth Watching: Golden Globes, ‘Walking Dead’ Returns, Love and ‘The Great North,’ Lifetime’s ‘Girl in the Basement’
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
The 78th Annual Golden Globes (Sunday, 8/7c, 5/PT): Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are a great hosting tag team — but this year they’ll be trading quips from across the country, with Fey in New York at the Rainbow Room and Poehler in the Globes’ usual setting of the Beverly Hilton for a mostly remote ceremony. Jane Fonda accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement, and 98-year-old TV legend Norman Lear gets the Carol Burnett Award for lifetime achievement in comedy. Even if you don’t take the Globes seriously, let alone the secretive Hollywood Foreign Press Association that administers them, the show is usually fun — although without all the TV and movie stars imbibing in close quarters, that thrill is gone as well. Expect Netflix (Mank, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit) to do well — although I’m kind of rooting for a Ted Lasso upset in the comedy categories.
The Walking Dead (Sunday, 9/8c, AMC): The Whisperers are thankfully gone, but as the 10th season returns to close out with six episodes, there’s still plenty of tension among the survivors in this harrowing zombie jamboree. That’s especially true now that Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has returned to the fold, after helping her former comrades wage battle in October’s midseason finale. She’s not thrilled to discover they’ve let her nemesis, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), roam free. Maggie still hasn’t forgiven him for the savage murder of Glenn (Steven Yuen), and why should she?
The Great North (Sunday, 8:30/7:30c, Fox): Stealthily, this quirky animated comedy from the Bob’s Burgers team has become a new favorite, and this episode is a terrifically sweet and funny escapade of the heart for the Tobin family in the snowy remote burg of Lone Moose. Hyperactively awkward teen Judy (Jenny Slate) is worried that she’ll turn out to be as unlucky in love as her single dad, Beef (Nick Offerman), so she rallies her sibs to urge Beef to go a “meat and meet” singles mixer, where she can also work out her feelings toward classmate Steven Huang (Kelvin Yu), whose first kiss went calamitously wrong.
Girl in the Basement (Saturday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Even by this network’s women-in-peril standards, this film from first-time director Elisabeth Röhm (Law & Order) sounds especially grim. Inspired by an incident in Austria, Basement depicts the ordeal of Sara (Stefanie Scott), whose birthday present upon turning 18 is to be imprisoned by her sadistic dad (Judd Nelson) in the family home’s basement. For years, she remains his prisoner, subjected to rape and impregnation, all while her mom (Joely Fisher) and the rest of the family believe she ran away. Followed by more real-life accounts in a documentary special Beyond the Headlines: Surviving Child Abduction and Imprisonment (10/9c).
Inside Weekend TV: BBC America’s A Wild Year on Earth nature series (Saturday, 8/7c) comes full circle in the series finale, charting migration patterns for Monarch butterflies in November, which also marks the rainy season in Southern Africa and coral spawning on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef… Hallmark Channel star Erin Krakow moonlights in the channel’s movie It Was Always You (Saturday, 9/8c), as a dentist whose engagement to a fellow DDS is derailed when she falls for his more carefree brother (Tyler Hynes). Shades of Sabrina… Nick Jonas does double duty on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (11:30/10:30c), debuting as guest host and making his second appearance as solo musical guest… CBS’s 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7/6c) profiles two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead, whose The Underground Railroad is being adapted as a limited series on Amazon Prime Video in May. John Dickerson interviews Whitehead and his wife, literary agent Julie Barer… ABC’s The Rookie (Sunday, 10/9c) goes meta when the squad undergoes true-crime docuseries scrutiny in a case involving a notorious former child actor (Malcolm in the Middle’s Frankie Muniz)… Another blow for CBS’s NCIS: New Orleans (Sunday, 10/9c). Not only did the spinoff get its pink slip, being canceled after seven seasons, but Pride (Scott Bakula) learns that Rita (real-life mate Chelsea Field) has been offered a lucrative job — in Kansas City.