TV

Weekend Preview: ‘Genius: Aretha’ Spotlights The Queen Of Soul Amid A Double Dose Of Comic Book Excitement

Genius: Aretha (Sunday, National Geographic 9:00 p.m.) — The Emmy-winning anthology series (which starred Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein and Antonio Banderas as Pablo Picasso during previous seasons) presents the Oscar-nominated (and Tony-, Emmy- and Grammy Award-winning) Cynthia Erivo to showcase the legendary and innovative Aretha Franklin’s incomparable career and legacy. Her lasting influence also gains the spotlight with a supporting turn by the Emmy-winning Courtney B. Vance as Aretha’s dad. It’s an eight-part series (spread over four nights, two episodes apiece), and Hulu will stream episodes the next day with the final double-dose arriving (and streaming) by Aretha’s birthday, March 25.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+ series) — After WandaVision proved that Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige could still bring their A+ game, even on the small screen, we’re getting the (begrudging) buddy comedy for Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes that was forecast when they grumbled over a back seat in Captain America: Civil War. Baron Helmut Zemo (portrayed by Daniel Brühl) is the big bad, but what Marvel viewers will truly love to see is the return of Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who’s kicking ass and making her aunt’s Peggy’s spirit proud. Also, yes, “Who will be the next Cap?” will be the question on everyone’s mind, so get ready.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (HBO Max) — Fans hoped this day would come, and finally, “we live in a society” where the fabled “Snyder Cut” is fabled no more. This four-hour installment is a vast improvement on Joss Whedon’s much maligned theatrical cut, and there’s a smidge of Jared Leto’s Joker to add some “WTF” flavor. Finally, there’s loads of character development, which the hard-core nerds will appreciate, so even though Joss’ version remains canon, the Snyder Cut is here to satisfy the hearts and minds of DC Comics fans.

Q: Into the Storm (HBO Max limited series) — You’ve heard all of those wild QAnon conspiracy theories, and this weekend, thia six-part documentary series begins to chronicle the movement’s evolution. Filmmaker Cullen Hoback drives into the rabbit hole to reveal how the mysterious “Q” wields conspiracies as information warfare to manipulate thinking and influence American culture. In the end, this series will touch upon the Internet’s darkest corners and explore how “unfettered free speech” (according to the synopsis) can go to dangerous places.

Waffles + Mochi (Netflix series) — Michelle Freaking Obama stars in this show about two curious puppets, (obviously) Waffles and Mochi, who explore the world through food and culture. This also doubles as an educational series about fresh-ingredient cooking, so learn how to become a chef, along with the puppets and a former first lady. Don’t resist this one! It’s ridiculously charming, and the series travels the globe (by way of the kitchen) to help kids and grown-ups connect with far-flung traditions. From the Miso soup in Japan to spices in Italy and potatoes from the Andes of Peru, the food here might actually be more interesting than the celebrity guests.

The Craft: Legacy (Friday, Starz 9:00 p.m.) — The reboot of the teen drama-fantasy film finally comes to cable with a bullied newcomer working to establish a coven of witches that’s culturally diverse. Fairuza Balk’s doing the cameo thing, so check it out.

Supermarket Sweep (Sunday, ABC 8:00 p.m.) — Leslie Jones and every bit of her enthusiasm will host contestants in this revival of the grocery-shopping game show.

Batwoman (Sunday, CW 8:00 p.m.) — Alice keeps searching for Kate while Batman finds her abilities challenged like none other.

American Gods (Sunday, Starz 8:00 p.m.) — The gods are mourning a loss while teetering on the brink of war and peace while Shadow’s seizing his destiny, and Bilquis takes a divine journey.

Charmed (Sunday, CW 9:00 p.m.) — The Tomb of Chaos is the name of the venue here while the Charmed Ones are also wrestling with hefty professional challenges.

The Walking Dead (Sunday, AMC 9:00 p.m.) — The bonus episodes of Season 10 continue with a claustrophobic Princess after she’s captured and separated by mysterious troopers from Eugene, Ezekiel, and Yumiko.

The Gloaming (Sunday, Starz 9:00 p.m.) — This miniseries launches while taking on a brutal 20-year-old crime while two detectives and old flames reunite for this common cause.

Shameless (Sunday, Showtime 9:00 p.m.) — Frank ones to pull off one last heist (famous last words) while Debbie’s incensed with Lip over the sledgehammer thing, and the Born Free guys are apparently mob guys, too.

Last Week Tonight (Sunday, HBO 10:00 p.m.) — Everyone’s favorite sarcastic and satiric late-night host returned last month, and not a moment too soon. Can’t wait to see who he skewers this week.

In case you missed these recent streaming picks:

Kid 90 (Hulu movie) — Punky Brewster star Soleil Moon Frye has been playing the long game with this film. Ever since the 1990s, she carried a video camera throughout her adventures — while hanging out with fellow teen stars David Arquette, Stephen Dorff, Balthazar Getty, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Brian Austin Green, and more — as they navigated Hollywood and New York City fame. Then she stuffed this footage away for over two decades, which means that this documentary is a time capsule of what it was like to come of age in the public eye before the whole internet thing. Frye presents her very own spin on the coming of age story, and yes, expect some Punky Power.

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (Netflix film) — Matthew Modine stars as Rick Singer, the man standing at the center of the enormous storm cloud that rocked the Ivy League world. Once all was said and done, Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman received prison sentences for their participation in an elaborate scheme to get children of wealthy parents into elite colleges, and yes, there’s still plenty of scandal left in this saga to entertain.

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