A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Greyhound (streaming on Apple TV+): Once again, the big screen’s loss is streaming TV’s coup. Tom Hanks writes and stars in a WWII action thriller intended for movie theaters before the pandemic kept everyone indoors. Hanks plays a Navy veteran and first-time captain who must fend off Nazi U-boats in the Atlantic waters to protect a convoy of 37 supply and troop ships on their way to Europe.
Little Voice (streaming on Apple TV+): Producer J.J. Abrams returns to his Felicity roots, collaborating with songwriter Sara Bareilles and showrunner Jessie Nelson (Broadway’s Waitress) in a charming coming-of-age musical dramedy. Star‘s Brittany O’Grady is enchanting as Bess King, a fledgling singer-songwriter trying to make it after all in New York City, if she can find the confidence to put her not-so-little voice out there. (Read the full review.)
Also new on the suddenly busy Apple streaming service: Greatness Code, a short-form docuseries featuring sports superstars reflecting on moments that defined their careers. The subjects in the first season include LeBron James, Tom Brady, Usain Bolt, Shaun White, Katie Ledecky, Kelly Slater and Alex Morgan.
Palm Springs (streaming on Hulu, also showing in select drive-in theaters): A clever twist on the Groundhog Day and rom-com formulas stars Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andy Samberg as Nyles, a genial goofball who keeps reliving the same day over and over. He’s a guest at a Palm Springs wedding he could care less about — until he accidentally ensnares Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the unhappy sister of the bride, into “one of those infinite time loop situations you might have heard about.” Nyles has been doing this so long he’s pretty much just going with the flow: “I try to live my life at this point with as little effort as possible.” Sarah isn’t as complacent, and as variations on the day take on madcap and even macabre dimensions, the odd couple grows closer even as she becomes more determined to find a way out. J.K. Simmons co-stars as another unfortunate soul caught in the time trap, which is well worth your time.
The Old Guard (streaming on Netflix): We loved her as the ferocious Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, and Charlize Theron is back in the female warrior game in this movie adaptation of the graphic novel series. She’s Andy, leader of a secret society of immortal mercenaries who’ve been saving the world for centuries. But when their secret gets out, it’s up to her and new recruit Nile (Kiki Layne) to take down enemies who are trying to replicate and monetize their powers. Maybe the newbie can teach the old guard some fresh tricks?
Hamilton: History Has Its Eyes on You (streaming on Disney+): Still on a high from Disney’s premiere last week of the filmed version of Broadway phenomenon Hamilton? (I know I am.) The streamer capitalizes on this major acquisition with a discussion led by Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts including the musical’s creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail and cast members including Tony winners Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry and Daveed Diggs. They help put this remarkable production in context of both theatrical and American history. And after hearing them speak, you’ll likely just want to watch the show all over again.
The New York Times Presents (10/9c, FX and Hulu): FX is back in business with the pre-eminent daily metropolitan newspaper, with the first of 10 new documentaries from the team that produced The Weekly, spotlighting the Times’ team of investigative, news and feature reporters. First up: “They Get Brave,” a front-line look at the doctors and nurses dealing with the coronavirus pandemic at its height in New York City. Maybe this will work as an object lesson for other parts of the country now experiencing a surge in cases and hospitalizations.
Remembering Carl Reiner: The Decades nostalgia network devotes the weekend to the memory of TV comedy legend Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show), who passed away last month at 98. The tribute begins at 9/8c with a replay of an interview on The Dick Cavett Show, followed at 9:30/8:30c with the failed pilot Head of the Family, in which Reiner wrote and starred as Rob Petrie, a character based on his own life as a married TV-comedy writer living in New Rochelle, N.Y. When the show didn’t sell, it evolved into the iconic The Dick Van Dyke Show. Two classic episodes featuring Reiner’s role as dyspeptic boss Alan Brady air at 10/9c. A weekend binge of the Van Dyke Show begins Saturday at midnight/11c and continues through early Monday morning.
Inside Friday TV: As a companion piece to Netflix’s latest hit, The Baby-Sitters Club, The Claudia Kishi Club is a fond recollection by Asian-American artists and writers of how important a role model the book series’ character of Claudia Kishi was for them. Representation matters, then and now… Guess who’s coming to dinner on the Apple TV+ animated musical Central Park? Molly’s boyfriend Brendan, who has yet to reveal to her family his connection to the park’s arch-nemesis, Bitsy. Meghan Trainor is the guest songwriter… Lifetime expands its usual woman-in-jeopardy formula to a three-night “thrillogy,” starting with Obsession: Stalked by My Lover (8/7c), in which college student Madison (Celeste Desjardins) gets more than she bargained for when she invites hunky Blake (Travis Nelson) to be her roomie. The Obsession saga continues Saturday with Escaping My Ex and Sunday with Her Final Vengance… PBS’s American Masters breaks form with a salute to five unsung female heroes who affected political change in America in Unladylike2020: The Changemakers (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org). The subjects are Martha Hughes Cannon, the country’s first female state senator; Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress; anti-lynching activist Mary Church Terrell, a founder of the NAACP; journalist Jovita Idar, president of the first Mexican-American civil rights organization; and Zitkála-Šá, who lobbied for civil rights for Native Americans a century ago.