Worth Watching: Second Look at Oprah’s Royal Interview, Colbert’s Year in Quarantine, ’20/20,’ ‘kid 90’ & More Streaming
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Oprah with Meghan and Harry (8/7c, CBS): Calling all commoners! Even those who didn’t think they were intrigued by the British royal schism got sucked into Oprah Winfrey’s riveting one-on-one (later two) with the estranged royals Meghan and Harry. (Oprah’s “What?!?” responses are each so GIF-worthy.) The two-hour special, which garnered the highest ratings to date this season for any “entertainment” event in prime time, gets a second airing for all those who missed it — or for anyone who wants to relive all of those bombshells about race, class, mental health and tabloid excess.
Late Show with Stephen Colbert (11:35/10:35, CBS): Marking a year’s anniversary from the late-night host’s last appearance from the fabled Ed Sullivan Theater, Colbert reflects on 12 months in quarantine, producing episodes remotely (167 to date, 13 of them live) from home. His special guest: Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A ubiquitous TV presence, Dr. Fauci somehow has never appeared on the Late Show until now. It’s about time.
Also looking back at the year of COVID: PBS’s Washington Week in Review (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org), which reconvenes the same panel from exactly a year ago to look back at how they were covering the beginning of the pandemic to where we are now. With NPR’s Susan Davis as guest moderator, guests include The Washington Post’s Yasmeen Abutaleb and Toluse Olorunipa, USA Today’s Susan Page and CNBC’s Eamon Javers.
20/20 (9/8c, ABC): He made his name as a novelist with the best-seller Presumed Innocent, and in “Stranger Than Fiction: The Murder of Angie Dodge,” the true-crime-obsessed newsmagazine welcomes prosecutor-turned-novelist Scott Turow as guide through an infamous case of a man presumed guilty who spent 20 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. The tangled tale begins with the brutal 1996 murder of Angie Dodge in Idaho Falls, for which a jury convicted Chris Tapp. Angie’s mother, Carol, began to question Tapp’s guilt, and with the help of Investigative Genetic Genealogist CeCe Moore (ABC’s The Genetic Detective), found DNA evidence to exonerate Tapp and connect another man to the crime. Turow uses his own legal expertise to help explain the circumstances that can lead to a false confession and subsequent injustice.
kid 90 (streaming on Hulu): Get nostalgic with former child star Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster, recently rebooted on Peacock) in a documentary borrowing from her video diaries of the 1990s, capturing life among follow child stars of the period in Hollywood and New York. Among those looking back with Soleil: Saved by the Bell’s Mark-Paul Gosselaar, 90210’s Brian Austin Green, Stephen Dorff, Balthazar Getty and David Arquette.
Other streaming highlights:
On Netflix: the uplifting comedy film Yes Day, starring the eternally winsome Jennifer Garner as a rigid mom who with her husband (Édgar Ramírez) decides to loosen up with their three kids and say “yes” for a full 24 hours to whatever the kids choose to do… A third season of the wacky cop comedy Paradise PD revisits the unit as they deal with such urgent matters as dog blackmail and sperm theft.
On Disney+: From National Geographic Documentary Films and the Emmy-winning filmmakers of Science Fair comes Own the Room, following students from across the globe as they compete in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, hoping to change the world with their visionary business ideas… And for those (like me) experiencing WandaVision withdrawal, go behind the scenes in Assembled: The Making of WandaVision, where the stars and producers of the genre-bending fantasy reveal how they borrowed from classic-TV techniques to recreate those spot-on sitcom homages.
On Apple TV+: Cherry, a showcase for Spider-Man Tom Holland to stretch his dramatic chops in the title role of a war veteran who returns from Iraq, where he served as an army medic, with undiagnosed PTSD that spirals into drug addiction and bank robbery. Can his true love (Ciara Bravo) steer him toward the road to redemption?
Inside Friday TV: Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox guests on NBC’s The Blacklist as a torture specialist deployed by Townsend (Reg Rogers) to get intel out of Red (James Spader) and Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) by any means necessary… Peacock’s sparklingly funny and biting The Amber Ruffin Show (9/8c) marks its first-season finale, but we haven’t heard the last from this young and rising comedy star… While stages are still dark in New York City, PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center revives two starry concerts from 2018 featuring Tony-winning talents: first, anything goes with Sutton Foster (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org), followed by The Cher Show’s gravity-defying Stephanie J. Block (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org).