TV

Weekend Preview: The ‘Mare Of Easttown’ Finale, The Return Of ‘The Shop,’ And The Origins Of ‘Cruella’

Mare Of Easttown (Sunday, HBO 10:00 p.m.) — It’s finale time! Kate Winslet returns not only to TV but to HBO (a decade after her award-winning Mildred Pierce turn) to star as a hard-vaping detective in a small town where she both portrays and elevates the “complicated” cop trope. This show will suck you in, and you won’t mind one bit. Also you’ll be wondering about this: what the heck was in that picture?

The Shop: Uninterrupted (Friday, HBO 9:30 p.m.) — LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s barbershop-centered, unscripted show continues with a Season 4 debut featuring Jay-Z, Bad Bunny, Paul Rivera, and Nneka Ogwumike. All topics are fair game, but expect to hear them shoot the sh*t on everything from their respective businesses to, uh, WrestleMania.

These top streaming picks make excellent appetizers:

Cruella (Disney movie on Disney+) — Yes, Cruella de Vil is finally getting her origin story. Even if you don’t agree that she needed one, no one can argue that Emma Stone is the actress who could deliver a damn good time in this role. Granted, the film starts out slow (the runtime’s over two hours) with a protracted childhood era that doesn’t illustrate much about why she villained out and murdered puppies. Yet it does speed up, with lots of mayhem and a cackling Emma hanging off a truck in a billowing dress. Fashion can be evil! Also, the soundtrack feels like a character in its own right.

Plan B (Hulu film) — Oh boy, does this story ever hit home for countless ladies who find themselves driving from drug store to drugstore in the heartland. That’s exactly what happens in this film, after a regrettable sexual encounter sends a high school student (Kuhoo Verma) and her best friend (Victoria Moroles) on a bit of a road trip with the clock ticking to find Plan B in America’s heartland. It’s actually a twist on the teen sex comedy, and it arrives by way of Cobra Kai and Harold & Kumar producers.

Lucifer: Season 5B (Netflix series) — The Devil is still up to no good. Even worse, Lucifer is still plagued by his twin brother, Michael, who’s trying to take his place, and Lucifer also decides that he wants to be God? Alright. Well, God’s apparently retiring, so there’s an opening for that gig. Heaven help us all if this show ever starts to make sense (and Tom Ellis has so much swaggering fun with his lead role), but Netflix’s synopsis promises that “God himself comes to Earth. Secrets will be revealed, heroic sacrifices will be made, and the world will never be the same.” Season 6 will be the show’s final run, and I’m secretly rooting for Chloe to shake off her destiny and ditch the Devil.

And back to the scheduled programming here:

Pause With Sam Jay (Friday, HBO 9:00 p.m.) — The Emmy-nominated SNL writer aims to revamp the late-night talk show format with each episode taking place at Sam’s apartment, where she’s throwing a party. Get ready for some feisty conversations and, hopefully, a sense of understanding between those who hold different perspectives.

A Black Lady Sketch Show (Friday, HBO 11:00 p.m.) — The fast-paced, quick-witted narrative series returns with loads of celebrity guests, but of course, the sketches all happen by the grace of the core cast, including Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, and Gabrielle Dennis with Issa Rae executive producing,

Oslo (Saturday, HBO 8:00 p.m.) — This film may or may not be considered too timely, considering current events, but the movie’s adapted from a Tony Award-winning play and is based upon the real-life negotiations that spawned the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords. Essentially, it focuses upon a peace agreement between Palestine and Israel that’s forged between citizens of both, along with a Norwegian couple.

Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday, AMC 9:00 p.m.) — Weeks after the show brilliantly subverted Negan’s storyline, there’s a gap week here before the next episode, so expect a “Bonus Edition” of the “Mother” episode that includes some behind-the-scenes moments that weren’t previously seen.

The Chi (Sunday, Showtime 9:00 p.m.) — Emmett ‘fesses up to Tiff while Kevin and Jake are weighing their future options, and Jada’s dealing with a surprise. There’s also a podcast and a reunion coming your way.

Black Monday (Sunday, Showtime 9:55 p.m.) — Don Cheadle’s Mo Monroe (and his coke-snorting ways) keep going strong with Mo and Dawn taking a no-holds barred approach to work-life balance. Meanwhile, a near-death sexperience is in store for Blair.

Flatbush Misdemeanors (Sunday, Showtime 10:25 p.m.) — Kevin scores a freelance-painting job while Dan’s on the way to a birthday party, but Drew is being demanding, and Zayna’s fending off a terrible rumor.

Ziwe (Sunday, Showtime 10:53 p.m.) — Ziwe Fumudoh’s former status as a Desus & Mero writer will be no shocker for anyone who catches her new variety series. This week, Phoebe Bridgers visits to dig into allyship for minorities.

Here are some more fresh streaming picks:

Master of None: Season 3 (Netflix series) — It’s been (four) years since we’ve seen Aziz Ansari’s brainchild do its thing, and that’s not even (officially, at least) down to the pandemic. Ansari’s been largely out of the public eye following sexual misconduct allegations, although he did emerge a few years ago for an insightful comedy special that goes a long way to show that gazing inward, and this new batch of episodes proves it. Aziz takes a step behind the camera to direct in a season that he cowrote with the Emmy-winning Lena Waithe, whose character moves to the forefront.

Hacks (HBO Max series premiere) — Jean Smart’s not-so-quiet domination of recent prestige TV shows (Fargo, Watchmen, Mare of Easttown, Legion) and other popular shows of late (Big Mouth, Dirty John) has finally culminated with this leading-lady turn in a role she was arguably meant to play. Hacks hails from executive producer Michael Schur and has three Broad City alums in the writers’ room, so get ready for a (Las Vegas) buffet of complex female characters. Smart portrays a legendary comedian who forges a “dark mentorship” to a 20-something newcomer in town. Don’t miss this one.

Friends: The Reunion (HBO Max feature-length special) — The whole O.G. gang is back in one place, which means that Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courteney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Ross (David Schwimmer), and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) are all here. Sadly, Paul Rudd is not on the scene, but there’s a buffay (get it?) of guest stars here to reinforce why this pop-culture phenomenon remains popular to this day, and why, oftentimes, friends can become your family.

Panic: Season 1 (Amazon Prime series) — This show’s a bit like The Purge in concept, only it revolves around a dangerous game that takes place over the course of a summer for graduating seniors in a tiny Texas town. They compete for a pot of money (while hoping to escape their tiny-town lives, of course), but the stakes are high and risky as players must confront their deepest fears. The story, which is based upon the bestselling novel by Lauren Oliver, will likely hook you, so be ready to binge.

Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. (Hulu series) — Patton Oswalt’s indisputable knack for voice work recently managed to shock The Boys audience (that’s what happens when you “cameo” as a set of gills for the lead pervert character), and now he’s the leading man in a very adult-oriented animated series. Here, Oswalt’s portraying an egomaniacal supervillain (with a massive, unwieldy noggin) who’s struggling to balance his day job as a bad dude with family life (it happens, even to the most evil among us!). In the process, he’s gotta deal with a certain busybody named Tony Stark/Iron Man, who’s voiced by freaking Jon Hamm. Expect to hear Bill Hader, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Schwartz, and Nathan Fillion all join the chorus as everyone on this show seems to want to push a bad man down.

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