Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

What to Watch on TV This Week Skip to content

Refresh your driving skills with the AARP Smart Driver online course! Use promo code THANKS to save 25 percent.

 

What to Watch on TV This Week

Sean Spicer on 'Dancing With the Stars,' 'Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates,' Emmys and more

Dancing With the Stars, Season 28

(ABC, Sept. 16, 8 p.m. ET, on ABC.com, the ABC app and Hulu Sept. 17)

In the new season of the show that boasts the strangest assortment of celebrities you ever saw doing the paso doble, grownups Christie Brinkley, 65, and Mary Wilson, 75 (the most talented ex-Supreme), try to out-mambo former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, 47, along with The Office's Kate Flannery, Fifth Harmony's Ally Brooke, American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina, NBA star Lamar Odom, NFL ex-linebacker Ray Lewis, The Bachelorette's Hannah Brown, Kel Mitchell of Kenan & Kel, Queer Eye's Karamo Brown and Dawson's Creek's James Van Der Beek.  Christie Brinkley, 65, broke her arm in rehearsal, so daughter Sailor Brinkley Cook will dance in her place.—Tim Appelo (T.A.)

Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates

(Netflix, Sept. 20)

You maybe knew Bill Gates cofounded Microsoft and devotes much of his $105 billion fortune to eradicating polio and other global ills, but did you know he cries at movies, gnaws his spectacles, eats Tang without water (right out of the jar!), reads entire David Foster Wallace novels and state budgets for entertainment and — having a once-brilliant lawyer father afflicted by Alzheimer's — says, “I don't want my brain to stop working?” Find out in this three-part documentary by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth). Who knew his future wife caught him writing the arguments for and against marriage on a whiteboard? —T.A.

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards

(Fox, Sept. 22, 8 p.m. ET)

On TV's most prestigious awards show, hosted by Jenny McCarthy, 46, Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe, 51, and Kelly Osbourne, the honors will be presented by Michael Douglas, 74, Naomi Watts, 50, Viola Davis, 54, Stephen Colbert, 55, and Angela Bassett, 61 — plus a few youngsters. Days before the dramatic finale of the high-stakes race, Hollywood pundits were predicting wins for Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, 50, Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 58, Barry's Henry Winkler, 73, and the aforementioned Douglas (The Kominsky Method). We'd vote for them. See aarp.org/entertainment to see how many grownups brought home the gold. —T.A.

Catch Up With

The Deuce, Season 3

(HBO, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)

In the final, gripping season of the Times Square drama by the creators of The Wire, a porn star-turned-filmmaker (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and twin brothers who don’t see eye to eye (both played by James Franco) cope with the scary new challenges of 1985: the arrival of HIV, cocaine, porn-theater-killing VHS and sky-high Manhattan real-estate prices. —T.A.

A Very Brady Renovation

(HGTV, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)

Six grownup cast members of The Brady Bunch (Barry Williams, Maureen McCormack, Christopher Knight, Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland, and Susan Olsen) reunite at the TV house they made famous from 1969-74. But it’s just the façade — the inside was actually a soundstage. So each actor teams up with a designer and tries to recreate one room the way they remember it from the show. If you’re old enough to remember, you may not be able to resist tuning in. —T.A.

Unbelievable

(Netflix, streaming anytime)

Amazing, enraging and utterly absorbing, this eight-episode series by the writer of Erin Brockovich and the director of The Kids Are All Right dramatizes the horribly true story of a Lynnwood, Washington, teen (Booksmart’s skyrocket star Kaitlyn Dever) who was raped by a man obsessed with recreating Princess Leia’s chained-by-Jabba the Hutt scene in Return of the Jedi. Pressured by male cops to recant her testimony, she was disgraced. But female Colorado detectives (Merritt Wever and Toni Collette) nabbed the rapist, who also attacked women in their 60s in several states and got him a prison sentence of 327 ½ years. The series is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning report that was also featured on the radio show This American Life. —T.A.

Country Music

(PBS, check local listings)

Ken Burns, 66, TV’s most gifted teacher of U.S. history, tells the entire story of country music from Bill Monroe, Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers to Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton — the masters of what has been called “three chords and the truth.” —T.A. READ KEN BURNS INTERVIEW

Untouchable

(Hulu, streaming anytime)

How the once high-flying Hollywood super-producer Harvey Weinstein fell after years of sex-abuse allegations and multiple indictments, as told by accusers including Rosanna Arquette and Paz de la Huerta, ashamed Weinstein execs Mark Gill and John Schmidt, and journalists Ronan Farrow, Kim Masters and Jodi Kantor. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)

Victoria, Season 3

(Amazon, PBS.org streaming anytime)

Season 4 of the hit show about Britain's Queen Victoria doesn't arrive on PBS until 2020, but get ready — now you can stream Seasons 1, 2, and 3 on Amazon Prime Video (or on PBS.org). In the addictive Season 3, it's 1848, and the queen (Jenna Coleman) faces assassins, revolutionary mobs who want her head, unwanted relatives and an angry husband. —T.A.

Greenleaf, Season 4

(OWN, Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET)

Hollywood is buzzing about Danny McBride and John Goodman's good new HBO show about a preacher's flawed family, The Righteous Gemstones, but Greenleaf is better, because it takes its characters (and religion) more seriously. Keith David (Platoon, Crash, There's Something About Mary), 63, is terrific as a megachurch minister in trouble with his wife (incredibly youthful Lynn Whitfield, 66, Emmy-honored for The Josephine Baker Story). He bedded her sister (Oprah Winfrey), but her feet are clay, too — she's like Joan Collins in Dynasty. When Beau Bridges (Homeland) fights them for church control, all hell breaks loose. —T.A.

Couples Therapy

(Showtime, streaming anytime)

If you liked Showtime's hit The Affair, try this reality show revealing what four couples in therapy tell New York's Orna Guralnik. From the creators of the eye-opening documentary Weiner, about the troubled New York congressman. —T.A.

The Spy

(Netflix, Sept. 6, streaming anytime)

In a must-see show, Sacha Baron Cohen, 48 next month, turns from comedy (Ali G, Borat) to a dramatic role that's appropriate, since he's the grandson of a Holocaust survivor: the real Israeli Mossad secret agent Eli Cohen (no relation), who went undercover to infiltrate Syria for years in the 1960s. It's a spy adventure with a serious message Kurt Vonnegut articulated in the ‘60s: “We must be careful who we pretend to be.” Costarring Noah Emmerich (The Americans), written and directed by Homeland creator Gideon Raff. —T.A.

On Becoming a God in Central Florida

(Showtime, streaming anytime)

In 1992, as God is her witness, minimum-wage water-park employee Krystal Stubbs (Kirsten Dunst) will never be poor again. But her dim hubby (Alexander Skarsgard) just blew their money on a pyramid scheme, so she must don a fetching mermaid costume, con lots of suckers and climb to the peak of that pyramid in a dark comedy produced by George Clooney. Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs’ killer) is the pyramid schemer, NYPD Blue's Sharon Lawrence is his wife, and Mary Steenburgen is a snooty rich woman. —T.A.

The Affair, Season 5

(Showtime, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)

Soulful, sexy waitress Alison (Ruth Wilson), whose fiery fling with Noah (Dominic West) made him dump his wife, Helen (ER’s Maura Tierney,) in the great first season, died in Season 4, so now Showtime’s soap opera for grownups is a quite different affair. Helen, whose new guy has what looks like terminal cancer, will strike sparks with an even newer guy, a movie star (Claes Bang) who’s interested in a movie of Noah’s novel. (Ironic, since it’s about him dumping Helen for Alison). In a parallel plot set decades later, Alison’s daughter (True Blood’s Anna Paquin) seeks the truth about her mom’s death. Still more mysteriously, Jennifer Jason Leigh, 57 (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Hateful Eight) joins the cast in a top-secret role. The soapy plot is getting ridiculously bubblier — but some of us remain determined to find out what crazy thing happens next, dramatized by some of the best actors on TV.  — T.A.

Power, Season 6

(Starz, Sundays)

In the final season of the most popular show in Starz history, Ghost (Omari Hardwick), a drug dealer who wants to go straight, faces his resentful son Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), who doesn’t want to, and his former best friend Tommy (Joseph Sikora), who tried to kill him in the Season 5 finale but got Ghost’s lover instead. The brutal betrayals have just begun. This show is worth a look. — T.A.

Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America

(HBO, streaming anytime)

Traditional burials are no longer typical in America: since 2018, cremations have outnumbered them. And as this moving and absorbing documentary shows, Americans are changing end-of-life traditions in all kinds of new ways. Two documentarians accompanied six families as they have a living wake; go on a green-burial site-scouting mission; prepare to shoot a beloved father’s ashes into space; dive to place remains in a coral reef; and stage a celebration of life full of bounce houses to honor a 5-year-old cancer patient who did not want his funeral to be “sad.”  — T.A.


The Terror: Infamy

(AMC, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)

In a 10-part, hyper-realistic and supernatural drama, producer and Star Trek veteran George Takei, 82, stars as a retired California immigrant fisherman. Like 120,000 other innocent citizens, he's put behind barbed wire to avenge Pearl Harbor, which wasn't his fault. Takei spent ages 5 through 8 1/2 in a World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans. He made sure the TV camp was authentic, down to the last chipped plate in the mess hall and the stink of the stables they sleep in after the government steals their homes. His character warns the youngsters that a homicidally vengeful spirit from the kaidan (the ancient genre of horror stories, which translates to “folktales of the weirdly mysterious") has followed them from Japan. Takei is better than the younger cast, but the tale's supernatural blend is interestingly evocative. On the day of the premiere, Japan celebrates Obon, the equivalent of Halloween or the Day of the Dead. Spooky! —T.A.

Lodge 49, Season 2

(AMC, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET)

You'd think his near-fatal shark attack in the Season 1 finale would faze Dud (Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell's son, Wyatt Russell), the (Big Lebowski) Dude-like surfer hero of this word-of-mouth hit about mystics and losers in run-down Long Beach, California. No way! He's still exploring the uncanny Ancient & Benevolent Order of the Lynx (a secret society partly inspired by Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49). And this season, producer Paul Giamatti, 52, joins the cast as a weird, Clive Cussler-like novelist, and Cheech Marin, 73, plays an artist named El Confidente, whose paintings predict the future. We predict Season 2 will have more viewers than Season 1. —T.A.

Why Women Kill

(CBS All Access, Thursdays, streaming anytime)

Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry offers three parallel storylines about women on the verge of a homicidal breakdown in his new series for the CBS streaming service. Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) is a contented homemaker in 1963, suddenly unhappy about her husband's fling with a waitress. Lucy Liu, 50, is a 1980s socialite who craves the lifestyles of the rich and famous and thinks it's a bad look when her husband of 10 years comes out as gay. Kirby Howell-Baptiste is a 2019 attorney whose open marriage to a chronically unemployed writer gets complicated when she brings a lover home who strikes her man's fancy. —T.A.


Mindhunter, Season 2

(Netflix, premieres Aug. 16)

Damon Herriman, who plays Charles Manson in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, also plays him in David Fincher's hit adaptation of the true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit. The show also focuses on the BTK Killer, Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz, and the Atlanta Child Murderer — with a reprise appearance of the most interesting real-life monster from Season 1, the Co-Ed Killer Ed Kemper, whose IQ is 145. —T.A.


BH90210

(Fox, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET)

The old Beverly Hills, 90210 gang is back (sadly without the late Luke Perry, whose last performance is in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood). The six-episode BH90210 isn't simply a reboot reunion like The Conners — it's more meta and ambitious. Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green (who's appeared on the Magnum P.I. reboot) and Tori Spelling play fictionalized versions of their real selves. Spelling — who really did lose most of her fortune and has serious money troubles — plays herself as a dead-broke mother of six who rallies her old cast members to put the show back on. So you get the show within a show — plus the backstage dramas. Two soap operas in one! —T.A.

GLOW

Netflix

GLOW, Season 3

(Netflix, streaming anytime)

In the third season of the superb, funny, emotionally absorbing show about the 1980s Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the grapplers have lost their TV show, so they're doing a live show in Las Vegas, ruled by a new character: Geena Davis, 63, as Sandy Devereaux St. Clair, a showgirl turned entertainment director of the Fan-Tan Hotel and Casino. Davis brings a new jolt of star power, and there are dramatic developments — from the space shuttle Challenger explosion's impact on their act to the upcoming episode when the wrestlers swap their stage personas. The story is less focused on the frenemy rivalry of the all-American beauty (Betty Gilpin) and the fake Russian blowhard (Alison Brie), so the plot wanders a bit. Stick with it. In some ways, it's a better show than ever. —T.A.


Lights Out With David Spade

(Comedy Central, Mondays through Thursdays, 11:30 p.m. ET)

Sick of bitter comedy about politics? Saturday Night Live veteran snipe-meister David Spade plans to focus instead on mocking pop culture and “weird stories about the news” along with a panel of his celebrity pals, plus some pieces shot out in the field. He told Variety he intends to be less mean than usual: “I still like to make fun of everyone and what they are doing, but it's more good-natured.” —T.A.


Four Weddings and a Funeral

(Hulu, Wednesdays)

It's not a remake of the classic Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell film, even though MacDowell is in a couple episodes. It's more like the superb TV versions of Fargo or Get Shorty, a new story with different characters and the same setup. You get a funeral, four weddings, 10 episodes, about a dozen f-words in the opening, and in the Grant part, there's Game of Thrones’ extremely appealing Nathalie Emmanuel as an American speechwriter who's having an affair with her married boss, a senator, and landing in London for the wedding of her best friend (Rebecca Rittenhouse). And who does she meet-cute at Heathrow? The cute groom (Nikesh Patel)! Let's hope those wedding gifts are returnable. It's not quite as brilliant as the original, but it's witty and good. Creator Mindy Kaling knows what made that rom-com (as well as Love Actually and Bridget Jones’ Diary) work, and Hulu likely has a hit on its hands. —T.A.

Harlots, Season 3

(Hulu, Wednesdays, streaming anytime)

There's new blood this season in Hulu's feisty feminist costume drama set in London's brothels of the 1750s. Last year, enemies got madam Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville, 63) locked up in the Bedlam insane asylum. So it's new brothel boss Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay, Downton Abbey's Lady Sybil Crawley) who faces a showdown with the scary new pimp in town, Isaac Pincher (Alfie Allen, the late Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones). She gets help from her close friend Lady Fitz (Liv Tyler), who's rich yet still oppressed by men — and her own scandalous secret. But don't count Lydia out: Even from inside Bedlam, she may be a threat. Harlots’ second season was better than the first, and this one could make you flip your powered wig. — T.A.


Hollywood Game Night, Season 6

(NBC, Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET)

Sure, Jane Lynch, 58, won an Emmy for Glee, and she'll probably win this year for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. But she won two Emmys for Hollywood Game Night, the show where she invites celebrities to a beach-house backyard and coaches them in contests like building ice-cream cones until they fall, or diving into her backyard pool full of rubber balls, or identifying a pop song played backward. First contestants this season: castmembers of SuperstoreThe Good Place and American Ninja Warrior. Coming up: actors from Veep and Orange Is the New Black— T.A.

Grantchester, Season 4

(PBS, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)

The bad news is that beloved hunk James Norton is quitting the role of Sidney Chambers, the two-fisted vicar who fights crime and his own romantic yearnings in a picturesque 1950s village near Cambridge on the Masterpiece Mystery hit that's like Father Brown with sex appeal. The good news is that Norton's still there for part of Season 4, and his coming departure is good for fiddling heartstrings. Can his old-school police detective partner (Robson Green, 54) ever find a platonic bromance so great with another vicar? Say, with Grantchester's new hot priest Will Davenport (Tom Brittney, OutlanderUnReal)? Brittney does well as the new holy gumshoe, roaring in on a motorbike with James Dean attitude. Unlike Norton's and Green's characters, Will didn't fight in World War II: He embodies the first stirrings of the British counterculture, so in some ways he's a better foil for Green's Elvis Presley-loathing, anti-counterculture veteran detective. — T.A.


Divorce Season 3

(HBO, Sundays, 10 p.m. ET)

The oddly age-proof Sarah Jessica Parker, 54, brings back her star-studded show about middle-aged divorce with a new producer (from her old show Sex and the City), and the third season is better than the second — which got 34 percent higher ratings from critics than the way-too-bitter Season 1. She's got a new beau; her ex (Sideways Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church, 59), has even bigger news; and she's losing her beautiful house and art gallery in lovely Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. But she's got friends (SNL's Molly Shannon, 54, and Talia Balsam, 60) as tight as her Sex and the City crew. Showtime's The Affair lost its mojo after a strong start; Divorce faltered at first, then became first-rate grownup drama. —T.A.

 


The Loudest Voice

(Showtime, streaming anytime)

Spotlight writer-director Tom McCarthy's seven-part adaptation of Gabriel Sherman's book about Roger Ailes, the brilliantly successful creator of Fox News who lost his job because of sexual harassment charges, will likely only please people who loathe Fox News and peeve everyone else. But you have to admit that Russell Crowe, 55, looks impressively more like bald, plump Ailes than his usual self. Sienna Miller plays his news-exec wife Elizabeth Ailes, and Naomi Watts, 50, plays Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News host whose lawsuit sparked his fall. —T.A.

Always Be My Maybe

(Netflix, stream anytime)

Even better than Crazy Rich Asians (and more highly rated by audiences as well as critics), this delightful Asian American rom-com is more like real life: Randall Park plays a self-doubting, self-sabotaging underachiever courting his childhood sweetheart (Ali Wong), who's now a madly successful chef — with competition from the hottest star of the moment, Asian Canadian Keanu Reeves, 54, in an utterly hilarious role as the most pretentious, obnoxious possible version of himself. He's the kind of star who picks up the restaurant check, saying: “Six thousand four hundred dollars, less than the residuals from my movie Speed!” —T.A.

Kevin Costner (Right) and Woody Harrelson star in 'The Highwaymen' on Netflix.

Merrick Morton/Netflix

The Highwaymen

(Netflix, streaming anytime)

In a straight-shooting chase drama, Kevin Costner, 64, and Woody Harrelson, 57, play the real-life Texas Rangers who, despite carrying a few extra pounds that make it hard to vault fences in pursuit of criminals, managed to track down Bonnie and Clyde. The aging buddies have star power and excellent chemistry, and Kathy Bates, 70, is good as Texas Gov. Miriam “Ma” Ferguson. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.) FULL REVIEW | READ KEVIN COSTNER INTERVIEW 

Martin Clunes in 'Manhunt'

Acorn TV


Manhunt

(Acorn TV, streaming anytime)

When this smart true-crime mystery starring Doc Martin's Martin Clunes aired in England in January, it got over twice the percentage of U.K. viewers that The Big Bang Theory got in the U.S. Based on a book by the London detective who caught Levi Bellfield, killer of two women and a 13-year-old girl, it's as good as Helen Mirren's Prime Suspect — and the crime is solved in three episodes, faster than Yank killer thrillers usually manage. Clunes proves as good at drama as he is at comedy. — T.A. READ MARTIN CLUNES INTERVIEW

Aidy Bryant walks down the street in a scene from 'Shrill'

Hulu

Shrill

(Hulu, streaming anytime)

Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant helped write herself a major career-boosting show that will put fat-shaming people to shame and win everyone's hearts. It stars Bryant as a young journalist, John Cameron Mitchell as her sarcastically perfectionist boss and SNL's Julia Sweeney, 59 — who's just returned to Hollywood after 10 years as a full-time mom — as her diet-obsessed mother. As delightful as Girls, only about a totally nice person. —T.A READ JULIA SWEENEY INTERVEW

More TV for Grownups

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.

GO TO THIS ARTICLE