‘Girls5Eva,’ ‘That Damn Michael Che,’ ‘From Cradle to Stage,’ TCM Film Festival, A Familiar Face on ‘Grey’s’
On a busy Thursday, new streaming highlights include a music-filled comedy from producers of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a topical sketch comedy from Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che and a salute to musicians’ moms just in time for Mother’s Day. TCM’s annual Classic Film Festival goes virtual with a 60th anniversary screening of West Side Story. Grey’s Anatomy welcomes back a fan-favorite character.
The fickle and fleeting finger of fame beckons to a one-hit-wonder girl group from the ’90s in a sparkling comedy from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt scribe Meredith Scardino, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. All of the former members of Girls5Eva have seen better days, and the survivors are well played by Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) as the flashy Wickie, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles as the domesticated Dawn, Busy Phillips as soporific suburbanite Summer and the caustic Paula Pell (A.P. Bio) as Gloria, a discontented dentist. They hit all the right notes as they try to jump-start their career after a rising rap star samples their one memorable pop song.
That Damn Michael Che
Saturday Night Live’s co-anchor on Weekend Update takes top billing in a pungently topical sketch comedy riffing on such hot topics as policing. In the opener, fellow SNL performer Cecily Strong appears in a series of vignettes as an overly woke woman trapped in an elevator with Che, with sketches including a barbed NYPD public-service announcement with “Quick and Easy Things You Can Do To Not Get Shot By Police.” Look for former SNL cast member Ellen Cleghorne in a terrific bit as a mom none too thrilled to learn her son has donned a badge.
From Cradle to Stage
Behind every great musician is a supportive mother. So goes the theory behind this affectionate and emotional series that each week spotlights a famous performer with his or her mom. Dave Grohl directs and co-hosts the series with mother Virginia Hanlon Grohl, author of From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars. First up, they visit Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds in Las Vegas with his devout Mormon “super mom” Christene. (In future weeks, we’ll meet the moms of Pharrell Williams, Miranda Lambert, Brandi Carlile, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Rush’s Geddy Lee.)
West Side Story
Once again, the channel’s Classic Film Festival goes virtual, this year in collaboration with its streaming partner HBO Max and its Classics Curated by TCM Hub. The festival, which goes through Sunday, opens with a 60th-anniversary screening of the Oscar-winning 1961 musical, a property that got new buzz after a teaser for Steven Spielberg’s big-screen remake aired during the Oscars. Oscar winners Rita Moreno (Anita) and George Chakiris (Bernardo) join Russ Tamblyn (Riff) for a special reunion chat.
While we’re all thrilled that Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) has finally awakened for the sake of her kids—not to mention the show’s fans—the focus this week falls on Jackson (Jesse Williams), who makes a pilgrimage to his father (Eric Roberts as Robert Avery) to get some perspective. Along the way, he reconnects with April (Sarah Drew), the mother of his child and whose abrupt departure from the show several seasons ago left fans wanting more.
In the penultimate episode of this great ensemble comedy, Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) takes the spotlight at a gala in her honor, which seems more than deserved. But when the sponsor’s greatest success story, Bonnie (Allison Janney), takes the stage on behalf of her friend, things go sideways. Don’t they always?
Returning from a month’s hiatus, the powerful Silence of the Lambs sequel finds Agent Clarice Starling (Rebecca Breeds) opening up to a new therapist (Grace Lynn Kung) just as a new case, tied to the sinister lawyer Joe Hudlin (Raoul Bhaneia), rocks her emotionally. In other FBI matters, her ambitious roomie Ardelia Mapp (Devyn Tyler) hopes the publicity surrounding her latest success will advance her career, and Clarice’s boss Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz) makes a move that might help him regain the trust of his rogue team.
Inside Thursday TV:
- The Drowning (streaming on Sundance Now, Acorn TV and AMC+): Binge alert: This four-part thriller stars Jill Halfpenny (Humans) as a mother still grieving the loss of her 4-year-old son, Tom, when she thinks she spots him nine years later. Could it be true? And how can she be sure?
- Citizen Penn (streaming on discovery+): An acclaimed documentary follows activist actor Sean Penn and a team of volunteers over 10 years of a humanitarian mission to bring aid and relief to Haitians after 2010’s devastating earthquake.
- Legendary (streaming on HBO Max): With the final season of Pose now airing on FX, no better time to launch the second season of the ballroom competition, with 10 new houses vying for a $100,000 cash prize.
- Last Man Standing (9/8c, Fox): As the popular family sitcom nears the end of its run, Mike (Tim Allen) tries any excuse to get out of yoga class with Vanessa (Nancy Travis) after his doctor recommends stretching. Talk about your downward dogs.
- Dark Side of the Ring (9/8c, VICE TV): The third season of the docuseries exposing pro wrestling’s troubled past opens with a two-hour episode about Brian “The Loose Cannon” Pillman, whose self-destructive dedication to his outrageous character led to personal and financial ruin.
- Million Dollar Listing New York (9/8c, Bravo): The ninth season diversifies, welcoming its first female broker (Kirsten Jordan) just in time for the agents to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the New York real-estate market.