A revealing documentary profiles Michael J. Fox’s career and life with Parkinson’s disease. Sutton Foster and Chita Rivera are among those “Celebrating Broadway’s Best” in a Great Performances concert. Apple’s City on Fire is a sprawling panorama of New York City life wrapped in a mystery. Having barely escaped cancellation, CBS’s S.W.A.T. features Timothy Hutton as a DEA chief in the first of a two-part season finale. Jennifer Lopez is a mother of an action hero in Netflix’s The Mother as an assassin who’ll take down anyone who threatens the daughter she gave up years earlier.
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
“Some people would view the news of my disease as an ending. But I was starting to sense that it was really a beginning.” This is Michael J. Fox talking about the Parkinson’s disease, diagnosed when he was just 30 years old, that turned him from award-winning actor to an activist. Still, from filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, is a disarmingly personal, frank, and engaging documentary portrait, showing Fox in physical therapy, trying to ward off the inevitable falls and injuries that are associated with the disease (“Gravity is real, even if you’re only falling from my height,” he jokes). He also reflects on his career and Back to the Future-fueled superstardom: “You think it’s made of brick and rock, but it’s not, it’s made out of paper and feathers. It’s an illusion.” Be comparison, Parkinson’s, and the love and support of wife Tracy Pollan and their family, couldn’t be more real.
Courtesy of PBS
With the Tony Awards just a month away, Great Performances salutes its half-century of presenting musical theater to home audiences with a glittery and tuneful decade-by-decade revue of Broadway hits from the 1970s to today. Sutton Foster hosts and performs a medley from her own personal hit parade (Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and more). Other highlights include the legendary Chita Rivera shimmying through a rendition of Chicago’s “All That Jazz,” A Chorus Line’s Donna McKechnie reliving “The Music and the Mirror” with Robyn Hurder dancing the part, Sara Bareilles performing from her musical Waitress (with an assist from original star Jessie Mueller) and Hadestown Tony winner André De Shields, the original Wiz of The Wiz, singing “So You Wanted to See the Wizard” in high style.
City on Fire
The streamer has an affinity for adapting giant doorstop novels, and Garth Risk Hallberg’s sprawling 2015 saga proves an especially daunting challenge. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl) dilute the material by shifting the setting from gritty 1977 to post-9/11 2003 as the story encompasses New York City from the downtown club scene to Fifth Avenue penthouses. The link between these disparate worlds is Sam (the luminous Chase Sui Wonders), a punk-rock-loving, ’zine self-publishing NYU undergrad who lies in a coma for much of the eight-episode series after being shot in Central Park on July 4. A fine cast including Jemima Kirke, Ashley Zukerman, Nico Tortorella, and a demonic John Cameron Mitchell feel like big-city caricatures in this panorama of bomb-throwing hipsters, pretentious artists, and filthy rich developers. Only Wyatt Oleff, as the smitten Long Island teen straddling high and low society to find the truth about Sam, feels like an actual human being.
The cliffhanger has already been resolved, with the long-running crime drama barely escaping oblivion when it was canceled, then un-canceled, within the last week. Oscar winner Timothy Hutton adds some star power to the sixth season’s two-part season finale (concluding next Friday), playing DEA leader Mack Boyle, whose department joins the S.W.A.T. team for a gang sweep that turns into a revenge mission to stop a ruthless cartel box.
“I’m a killer. But I’m also a mother. And I will die protecting her.” That in a nutshell is the premise and purpose of Jennifer Lopez’s high-octane action film. She’s an ex-assassin who’s lived off the grid for years after giving up her daughter at birth to keep her safe. When her enemies (Joseph Fiennes and Gael García Bernal) nab her offspring, now 12, Lopez comes out swinging. Happy Mother’s Day!
The dystopian thriller set in a mile-deep bunker ratchets up the suspense when engineer Juliette (Rebecca Ferguson) makes a deal with the silo’s mayor (Geraldine James): She’ll accept the job as the new sheriff if she’s allowed to shut down the generator long enough to fix it. That means lights out for the 10,000 residents of this subterranean world while Juliette races the clock. As Deputy Marnes (Will Patton) puts it: “We’ve always been one catastrophic failure away from the end of it all—and this just makes everyone conscious of it.”
Inside Friday TV:
- 100 Day Dream Home: Beachfront Hotel (9/8c, HGTV): Before a new season of 100 Day Dream Home begins later this month, real estate pros Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt devote a two-episode special edition to overhauling a 12-room inn on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
- 20/20 (9/8c, ABC): Correspondent John Quiñones unravels the murderous deeds of Scott Kimball, who committed murders while working as an FBI informant. He interviews Kimball’s ex-wife and his FBI handler.
- Blue Bloods (10/9c, CBS): Treat Williams returns as Frank’s (Tom Selleck) buddy Lenny Ross, who raises a red flag for the commissioner upon his unexplained return to the city.
On the Stream:
- The Great (streaming on Hulu): The third season of the darkly comic historical dramedy finds Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) now ruling, after dethroning her infantile husband Peter III of Russia (Nicholas Hoult), whose doppelgänger she stabbed thinking it was him. Can this royal love-hate relationship be saved? Should it?
- Queer Eye (streaming on Netflix): The Fab Five head to New Orleans for the seventh season of moving makeovers. Let the good times, and the occasional tear, roll.
- Crater (streaming on Disney+): The moon is the setting for a coming-of-age sci-fi drama about young Caleb (Isaiah Russell-Bailey), who fulfills his late dad’s final wish by embarking with his buddies and a new girl from Earth (Young Sheldon’s Mckenna Grace) on a road trip in a hijacked rover to explore a mysterious crater.
- Mulligan (streaming on Netflix): From producers of 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, this “adult” animated comedy takes place on an Earth decimated by an alien invasion, with working-class schmo Matty Mulligan (The Conners’ Nat Faxon) as the hapless new leader who may not be the best choice to inspire humanity’s do-over.
- RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (streaming on Paramount+): The eighth season of the drag showdown brings back 12 veteran queens to compete, including Jimbo from Canada’s Drag Race and UK vs. the World. In a new twist, eliminated players square off in the Fame Games for a $50,000 prize.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (streaming on Prime Video): Hank Azaria (Brockmire) guests as a 1960s sitcom star so impressed by what he sees in Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) that he tries to poach her from Gordon Ford (Reid Scott).
- Mamas (streaming on The Roku Channel): Just in time for Mother’s Day, Connie Britton narrates the second season of a nature series that tracks animal moms within Zambia’s Kafue National Park, including three lionesses raising 11 cubs. Also new to Roku: the third season of parenting comedy Children Ruin Everything, starring Meaghan Rath and Aaron Abrams.