Worth Watching: ‘Ozark’ Returns, ‘As We See It’ on Prime Video, ‘Blue Bloods’ Confessional Crisis, ‘Fraggle Rock’
It’s the beginning of the end for Netflix’s signature drama Ozark, with the first half of its final season. Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) presents As We See It, a moving dramedy about three young roommates on the spectrum. Blue Bloods tackles a case complicated by the church’s confessional seal. Apple TV+ brings back Jim Henson’s beloved Fraggle Rock characters in a new series.
How will things end for Marty and Wendy Byrde (the excellent Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) and their many criminal counterparts on both sides of the border? Too soon to tell, but on the evidence of the first half of the suspense drama’s final season—seven episodes drop now, with the remaining seven coming later this year—it’s not looking good. Now under the thumb of cartel boss Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), who wants to use his American minions to establish legit credentials in the U.S., the Byrdes walk a delicate tightrope also involving the FBI and their local antagonists—most notably the psycho opium farmer Darlene Snell (terrifying Lisa Emery) and her new deputy, the irrepressible Ruth Langmore (Emmy winner Julia Garner), who has drawn the Byrdes’ alienated son Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) to her dark side. New to the cast: Tony winner Katrina Lenk (currently starring in Broadway’s gender-swapped Company revival) as a pharmaceutical CEO who has the bad luck to get mixed up in the Byrdes’ latest survival scheme.
With Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, Jason Katims proved he knew how to pluck the heartstrings. He does so again, adapting an Israeli series into this moving half-hour dramedy about three young adult L.A. roommates with autism who are taking their first uneasy steps towards independence. Each is played by an actor who identifies with being on the spectrum, giving As We See It an impressively emotional authenticity. As we get to know them—brilliant and blunt Jack (Rick Glassman), who wants to be able to support himself; impulsive and needy Violet (Sue Ann Pien), who really wants a boyfriend; and lonely agoraphobe Harrison (Albert Rutecki), who’d like a new friend as long as he doesn’t have to leave the apartment—we root for their small victories as we laugh, cry and cringe at their setbacks and often predictable meltdowns. Sosie Bacon is terrific as their loving aide, with strong support from Joe Mantegna as Jack’s ailing and concerned dad and Chris Pang as Violet’s supporting but stressed brother. It takes a village, and you should check this one out.
Stacy Keach returns as Archbishop Kearns, who clashes with Frank (Tom Selleck) when he refuses to break the confessional seal to reveal a killer’s identity, though he readily tells the police that they’ve arrested the wrong man. And there’s conflict at the Reagan dinner table when long-lost grandson Joe (Will Hochman) argues with his uncle Jamie (Will Estes) about police procedure, always a touchy subject.
The controversial comedian returns for a milestone 20th season of social and political commentary and barbed humor. His guests on the opener include Yale professor Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, and New York Congressman Rep. Ritchie Torres. Followed by the Season 2 launch of Back on the Record with Bob Costas (11/10c), where guests include fellow veteran sportscaster Al Michaels and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn (who has joined NBC’s Olympics broadcasting team and is an executive producer of Picabo, Peacock’s biographical portrait of alpine icon Picabo Street that begins streaming today).
Those lovable and tuneful Fraggles are back with new adventures and music in a 13-episode series that joins Apple’s Fraggle Rock: Rock On! Shorts. Gobo, Boober, Mokey, Red, Wembley, Mokey and the gang are delightful company, now with the entire Fraggle library at our bingeing disposal.
Inside Friday TV:
- Servant (Streaming on Apple TV+): The third season of M. Night Shyamalan’s ultra-creepy thriller, starring Lauren Ambrose and Toby Kebbell as parents of a very mysterious baby, and Nell Tiger Free as the nanny who disrupts their bizarre domestic lives.
- Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): A breakout in the casts of the TV versions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Rent: Live, Broadway belter Brandon Victor Dixon has Tony, Emmy and Grammy nominations to show for his talent. In this concert that ends the Westport season, Dixon sings a mix of Broadway, pop and soul standards.
- True Crime Watch: On Dateline NBC (9/8c), Andrea Canning reports the story of Connecticut mother Donna Palomba’s long ordeal to seek justice against her rapist, whose identity remained a mystery for 11 years, during which time investigators accused the victim of lying. ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) revisits the horrifying case of Lori Vallow, whose relationship with doomsday prepper Chad Daybell took a grisly turn when her children disappeared and were later found buried in his backyard. Ryan Smith has the first TV interview with Vallow’s brother, Adam Cox.
- Munich—The Edge of War (streaming on Netflix):Based on Robert Harris’ page-turner Munich, this historical drama follows two former classmates on opposite sides of peace negotiations as WWII looms in 1938. Hugh Legat (1917’s George MacKay) is a British civil servant accompanying Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Jeremy Irons) to high-stakes meetings at the Munich Conference with Adolf Hitler. Hugh has a fateful reunion with Paul von Hartmann (Jannis Niewöhner), a German diplomat secretly working against the Fuhrer’s plans for European conquest.
- The Royal Beat (streaming on True Royalty TV): The talk show devoted to all things royal gathers a panel of experts to discuss the current crisis involving Prince Andrew and his fall from grace after being associated with convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
- The Fix (streaming on The Roku Channel): Samuel L. Jackson narrates an eight-part docuseries addressing misconceptions about drugs and addiction as it explores the nation’s war on drugs and addiction crisis.