On a busy Friday for streaming, movie highlights include Emily Mortimer’s delightful three-part adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love and (for an extra fee) Disney’s madcap adventure movie inspired by the Jungle Cruise ride. Bob Costas no longer hosts the Olympics, but he’s back on HBO to talk sports in a late-night show. The CW’s Burden of Truth returns for a final season of legal drama. The Olympics continues with track and field and swimming among prime-time highlights.
Emily Mortimer writes, directs and plays a key role—as the bohemian “Bolter” (as in, leaving her family behind)—in a fabulously saucy three-part adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel set between the World Wars in Europe. Downton Abbey veteran Lily James stars as the free-spirited Linda, who falls in and out of love while her more inhibited best friend-for-life Fanny (Emily Beecham) looks on: sometimes with envy, sometimes with despair. The superb cast includes Fleabag’s irresistible Andrew Scott as the flamboyant Lord Merlin and The Affair’s Dominic West as Linda’s hilariously overbearing father. Love at times feels like the friskiest, funniest Masterpiece romance in ages.
The Jungle Cruise isn’t the buzziest Disney theme-park ride to ever inspire a movie, but the result is a diverting though inconsequential comedy-adventure in the Indiana Jones tradition. Mashing up Pirates of the Caribbean-style supernatural action and slapstick with an African Queen vibe—the heroine even describes a tumultuous ride through the rapids as “exhilarating”—Cruise stars Dwayne Johnson as Frank, the captain of a rundown steamer who welcomes aboard Emily Blunt as Lily, an ahead-of-her-time historical researcher in 1916 London. With her dandy-ish brother (Jack Whitehall) in tow, Lily hires Frank to take them on a wild ride through the Amazon rainforest to find a legendary “Tears of the Moon” tree with magical healing powers. Among their adversaries: sinister Germans (led by Jesse Plemons) and ghoulish, ghostly conquistadors.
It’s still an adjustment not to see multiple Emmy-winning broadcaster Bob Costas as the Olympics’ TV host, but he’s back on HBO with a new sports-oriented late-night talk show. In the series opener, he welcomes Olympic gold-medal gymnast Aly Raisman and the ever-outspoken Charles Barkley for in-studio one-on-one interviews. He’s joined by award-winning ESPN podcaster Bomani Jones for a roundtable discussion of hot sports topics with former MLB pitcher David Cone and the WNBA’s Renee Montgomery.
The fourth and final season of the Canadian legal drama once again puts its heroine, Joanna Chang (Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk), in the underdog seat as she represents indigenous farm owner Helen Graham (Pamela Matthews) against a mining company that’s strong-arming her to sell her land. Even Joanna’s lover/partner Billy Crawford (Peter Mooney) thinks she should settle the case, if only for her own well-being as the new parent of a baby daughter.
More swimming finals air live as a centerpiece of the network’s prime-time coverage, which also includes women’s beach volleyball and track and field. Other highlights include Team USA facing Israel in baseball and the women’s singles tennis final airing live in late-night on Olympic Channel. For the most complete rundown of events and when and where to watch, go to nbcolympics.com/schedule.
The channel’s top-rated show spins off again with a series set during the frigid off-season, when fan-favorite miners including Tony Beets, Rick Ness, Dave Turin, Fred Lewis and Dustin Hurt stay busy prospecting and preparing for the spring thaw. Hurt in particular could be feeling the hurt when he goes to check to see if his camp was destroyed by recent landslides.
The dog whisperer returns to TV in a new 10-part series, airing weekly with back-to-back episodes, in which famous dog-behavior expert Cesar Millan helps canines and their owners find harmony, a task amplified by a 90% rise in adoption rates during the pandemic. In the opener, clients at the Dog Psychology Center ranch retreat in California include a dangerous pit bull, an Insta-famous Yorkie and an excitable Australian kelpie whose fascination with bricks is unsettling the dog’s 68-year-old retired owner.
Inside Friday TV:
- Central Park (streaming on Apple TV+): In the animated musical’s uplifting midseason finale, Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.) gets a job offer in Connecticut that inspires the Tillerman family to imagine a version of their lives if they didn’t live inside the magical park.
- In Apple’s other musical treat, Schimigadoon!, Melissa (Cecily Strong) gives a sex talk the “Do Re Mi” treatment, then observes, “Romance in musicals isn’t always logical. That’s why they usually let the songs do the heavy lifting.” Love this show!
- Ted Lasso (streaming on Apple TV+): Coach Ted (Jason Sudekis) risks disrupting the team’s morale when he considers taking back the outcast and widely disliked Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). In a hilarious subplot, the profane ex-player Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) tries his hand at broadcasting. Censors beware!
- Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson (streaming on Apple TV+): Joining Apple’s cluttered lineup is a six-part musical docuseries featuring the famed DJ/producer Mark Ronson as he explains the technological revolutions that shaped the evolution of music through sound creation. Interviews include Paul McCartney, Questlove, Dave Grohl and the Beastie Boys’ Mike D.
- Outer Banks (streaming on Netflix): A second season of the coming-of-age mystery adventure sends John B (Chase Stokes) and Sarah (Madelyn Cline) on the run to the Bahamas, where they encounter new friends and enemies in their hunt for $400 million in gold.
- Centaurworld (streaming on Netflix): Broadway stars Megan Hilty and Tony winner Jessie Mueller are among the voices in a musical ’toon about a war-hardened horse (Kimiko Glenn) who’s transported to a magical land populated by sweet singing centaurs of all shapes and sizes.
- Secret Celebrity Renovation (8/7c, CBS): Grammy winner Eve goes down memory lane when she heads home to Philadelphia to fix up the row house she grew up in and where her mother still lives.