A Pivotal ‘Mare’ Episode, ‘Zoey’ Finale, MTV Movie and TV Awards, ‘Good Witch’ and More Premieres
An investigation takes a thrilling turn on HBO’s Mare of Easttown. A musical farewell caps Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’s second season, while The Rookie wraps its third. Leslie Jones hosts the first of two nights of MTV’s pop-culture awards. Premieres include Hallmark’s Good Witch (Season 7) and the premium-cable launches of a comedy (Run the World) and period drama (Death and Nightingales) on Starz, and the Epix true-crime docuseries Fall River.
Mare of Easttown
Though she’s alienated most everyone in her own police department, Mare Sheehan (the terrific Kate Winslet) can’t let things rest. As she works a source to get to the bottom of her cases involving missing and murdered girls in the small Pennsylvania town, she grows closer to visiting county detective Colin (Evan Peters), who opens up about his own insecurities. Be prepared for a rare event—a moment of unabashed hilarity at a wake—and then strap in for a climax that left me breathless. Only two more episodes to go in a limited series that earned the ultimate compliment last week: a Saturday Night Live parody.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Having hit its stride again in its second season, the exuberant musical dramedy goes out on an emotionally satisfying high note, with a few tunes from some major artists’ catalogues. The occasion: a farewell party for New York-bound Max (Skylar Astin), former bestie of Zoey (Jane Levy), who struggles with her feelings as her own relationship status changes and an epiphany brings her enlightenment on how best to seize the moment.
MTV Movie & TV Awards
Raucous Saturday Night Live veteran Leslie Jones, a nominee for her work in Coming 2 America, hosts the irreverent pop-culture celebration, which this year expands to a second night with Monday’s inaugural Unscripted follow-up. Among the highlights: Sacha Baron “Borat” Cohen is the fourth entertainer to be presented the “Comedic Genius Award,” while Scarlett Johansson accepts the “Generation Award.”
The popular series mixing magic and romance is back for a seventh season, with title character Cassie (Catherine Bell) and mortal husband Sam (James Denton) sneaking away for some alone time on a boating trip that brings a surprising discovery. Might it have something to do with the purple velvet pouches of soil she discovered with Abigail (Sarah Power) and Joy (Katherine Barrell) in last season’s finale?
- Run the World (Sunday, 8:30/7:30c, Starz): From creator Leigh Davenport (Boomerang) and sitcom veteran/showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser (Living Single) comes a new comedy about four Black women BFFs in Harlem, supporting each other through professional and personal highs and lows. For struggling writer Ella (Andrea Bordeaux), this means leaning on Whitney (Amber Stevens West), Renee (Bresha Webb) and Sondi (Corbin Reid) to massage her bruised ego after she accepts a job at a tabloid website she once used to mock.
- Death and Nightingales (Sunday, 10/9c, Starz): The Nevers’ emerging star Ann Skelly stars alongside Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason) and Jamie Dornan (The Fall) in a moody three-part period romance set in 1880s Northern Ireland. Skelly plays Beth Winters, who over a 24-hour period on her 23rd birthday must decide whether to flee from her family farm, ruled by a stern Protestant stepfather (Rhys), and go off with her charming lover, Irish independent radical Liam (Dornan).
- Fall River (Sunday, 10/9c, Epix): In a four-part true-crime docuseries, the Massachusetts hometown of Lizzie Borden becomes a focal point of so-called “Satanic Panic” in the 1980s after a series of brutal murders are connected to a satanic cult leader, who’s sentenced to life without parole. Fall River picks up 20 years later, when now-retired lead investigator Paul Carey examines inconsistencies in the case and attempts to correct a possible miscarriage of justice.
- Pose (Sunday, 10/9c, FX): In a sensational showcase episode for the series’ breakout Emmy-winning star Billy Porter, his character Pray Tell goes on a pilgrimage to his Pittsburgh hometown to reconnect with his family, including a mother (Anna Maria Horsford) and aunt (Jackée Harry) who have very different attitudes toward their prodigal son. Pray Tell also visits his old church, where the pastor (Broadway star Norm Lewis) shares a special childhood bond with the flamboyant MC.
Inside Weekend TV:
- The Rookie (Sunday, 10/9c, ABC): The show ends its third season with Officer Nolan (Nathan Fillion) meeting a new neighbor and suffering a mild injury while chasing a shoplifter, who could be charged with assault despite Nolan’s protests.
- The Nevers (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): The midseason finale of the fantasy series reveals Amalia’s (Laura Donnelly) origin story and sets the stage for a meaningful reunion.
- China: Nature’s Ancient Kingdom (Saturday, 8/7c, BBC America): A new nature series goes inside the world’s largest conservation project—10 new national parks within China—to observe the wildlife thriving in the most extreme conditions. The opener travels from mountainous lands with foxes, antelopes and snow leopards to dense forests providing a home for snub-nosed monkeys and giant pandas.
- Race for the Vaccine (Saturday, 9/8c, CNN): Especially timely after a week of new CDC guidelines, this news special is narrated and produced by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, with cameras capturing scientists’ real-time reactions during 12 months of filming on five continents as the various Covid vaccines were developed.
- Saturday Night Live (11:30/10:30c, 8:30/PT): After last week’s detour, an actual comedian—Keegan-Michael Key—makes his debut as guest host. Olivia Rodrigo is first-time musical guest.
- Buzzr Broadway Matinee (Sunday, 3 pm/ET): To mark a week in which Broadway theaters began announcing plans for reopening in the fall (and selling pricey tickets), the game-show channel presents a four-hour block of vintage episodes featuring Broadway luminaries. The “matinee” marathon kicks off with a 1966 Christmas episode of Password featuring a rare TV appearance by legendary composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, playing alongside his friend Lee Remick, who starred in his very short-lived musical Anyone Can Whistle.
- The Simpsons (Sunday, 8/7c, Fox): Springfield welcomes the hilarious Stephen Fry, who guest-voices the role of a British secret agent in search of a Russian spy. Followed by the first-season finale of the delightful The Great North (8:30/7:30c), where the family prepares for Wolf and Honeybee’s wedding; and the 19th-season finale of Family Guy (9:30/8:30c), in which the guys look back on “Tales of Former Sports Glory.” But can any of them be believed?
- Uncensored: DMX (Sunday, 8/7c, TV One): In an interview taped three weeks before his untimely death, DMX opens up about his life and career on the autobiographical series. (A second special about DMX’s legacy airs Monday.) Followed by the annual Urban One Honors (9/8c).
- The Story of Late Night (Sunday, 9/8c, CNN): The focus turns to the David Letterman era, as he burst on the scene in the 1980s with his revolutionary Late Night. Many saw him as Johnny Carson’s successor on The Tonight Show as the ’90s loomed, but we all know how that turned out.