Worth Watching: Jeff Bridges Is ‘The Old Man,’ Julie Andrews Tribute, ‘Rutherford Falls’ Returns, ‘Martin’ Reunion
Jeff Bridges stars as an ex-spy on the run in FX’s thriller The Old Man. Living legend Julie Andrews receives the AFI Life Achievement Award—and a special serenade. Peacock’s acclaimed comedy Rutherford Falls is back for a second season. The cast of Martin reunites on the sitcom’s 30th anniversary.
Dan Chase, or whatever he’s calling himself, is a survivor. So is Jeff Bridges, who survived bouts with lymphoma and COVID-19 while filming this taut thriller loosely based on Thomas Perry’s novel. Chase is an ex-CIA agent who’s been living off the grid for decades. But when he resurfaces on the government’s radar, this grizzled but deadly old man snaps back into action, and with two trusty big dogs for extra protection, he goes on the run, adopting new identities and eventually drawing a wary divorcee (Amy Brenneman) into his dangerous orbit. Leading the hunt for the FBI: John Lithgow as the conflicted Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, who knew his prey as a young man. (See the full review.)
The Oscar-winning musical star, now 86, receives the annual American Film Institute tribute with a little help from the Von Trapp Family Singers—or more accurately, the surviving cast members from The Sound of Music who played the warbling kids (Angela Cartwright, Duane Chase, Nicholas Hammond, Kym Karath and Debbie Turner). Their sing-along to “Do-Re-Mi” is a highlight of the ceremony, in which Carol Burnett—Andrews’ co-star in several memorable TV and concert specials—presents her with the honor. Cynthia Erivo provides music, and notable co-stars including Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins) and Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries) weigh in with recorded messages.
The more things change, the funnier this endearing comedy becomes, starring The Office’s Ed Helms (a series co-creator) as well-meaning Nathan Rutherford, whose family-named small town bordering a Native American reservation has undergone a recent awakening. With best friend Reagan Wells (the wonderful Jana Schmieding) looking to expand the Minishonka Cultural Center and get some tribal land of her own, and Tribal Casino CEO Terry Thomas (Michael Greyeyes) making moves during a fraught political year, there’s more than enough comic conflict to propel an eight-episode binge.
Today’s time-flies epiphany: Martin, the hit Martin Lawrence sitcom that aired on Fox for five seasons (1992-97), is officially 30 years old this summer. To acknowledge the milestone, Lawrence gathers co-stars Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold and Carl Anthony Payne II on a recreation of the show’s living-room set to remember the good times. Comedian Affion Crockett hosts the 90-minute reunion, which includes a tribute to the late Tommy Ford, musical performances and surprise visits by celebrity fans.
With the same attention to detail and faux authenticity they used for their Netflix hit American Vandal, creators Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault dive into the world of professional gaming. Their sports mockumentary follows a fictional team participating alongside real-life players in the League of Legends Championship Series. The series opens with three episodes, more following weekly.
The dark humor in the British medical dramedy escalates when the maternity ward prepares for a visit by a prominent politician—but what to do about the emergency alarm siren that keeps going off? Or the patient they suspect is being abused by her partner? In more personal news, Adam (Ben Whishaw) tries convincing his impossibly severe mother (the imperious Harriet Walter) that he’s gay, later telling his boyfriend (Rory Fleck Byrne) that “she can’t wait to meet you properly next time she’s in London stealing dalmatians.” This show hurts so good.
Seen to good advantage on Big Sky and Queer as Folk, trans actor Jesse James Keitel boards the Enterprise in a strong guest appearance as Dr. Aspen, a former Starfleet counselor now doing humanitarian work on the far edge of Federation space, where intergalactic pirates are causing havoc. Aspen’s non-binary nature has metaphorical ramifications for Spock (Ethan Peck), who continues his existential struggle to reconcile his human and Vulcan sides. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Keitel on this open-minded space drama.
Inside Thursday TV:
- NBA Finals (9 pm/ET, ABC): Golden State Warriors, fueled by Stephen Curry, could clinch the championship with a fourth win over Boston Celtics in Game 6. Preceded in the Eastern and Central time periods by Jimmy Kimmel Live: NBA Finals Game Night (8 pm/ET), where the host is joined by Only Murders in the Building stars Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez.
- Legacies (9/8c, The CW): The supernatural thriller reaches the end in the series finale, with Hope (Danielle Rose Russell), Alaric (Matt Davis) and the rest of the gang at the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted looking toward the future.
- Impractical Jokers (10/9c, truTV): The prank series starring BFFs Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray and Sal Vulcano resumes Season 9 by welcoming back Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost (whose older brother Casey is a Jokers producer). Expect uniquely embarrassing tortures.
On the Stream:
- Leave No Trace (streaming on Hulu): A damning documentary from ABC News Studios and director Irene Taylor reveals a century-long cover-up by the Boy Scouts of America to conceal pedophiles and sexual abuse within the organization in top-secret “perversion files.”
- The Dog House: UK (streaming on HBO Max): All nine episodes of the third season are available for those who have been panting for more of this doggone adorable reality show about the British animal rescue center that matches eager would-be owners with homeless canines.
- Doug to the Rescue (streaming on Curiosity Stream): Also for animal lovers, a second season of the docuseries featuring activist-rescuer Doug Thron follows him and his infrared drone as they locate animals in need around the world. First stop: the Dominican Republic, where Doug comes to the aid of puppies abandoned in the town dump.
- Mad God (streaming on Shudder): In his long-awaited directorial debut, which took 30 years to complete, Oscar-winning special-effects wizard Phil Tippett creates a bizarre stop-motion animated world of monsters and mad scientists.
- The Offer (streaming on Paramount+): In the series finale of the docudrama about the making of The Godfather, the movie opens to raves and box-office success, thanks to a revolutionary movie-distribution strategy. Next stop: the Oscars.