TV listings
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TV listings for Friday, Oct. 16, 2020: 'The Queen's Gambit' begins tonight on Netflix

by Kevin McDonough How do you depict genius? Better, and lesser, efforts than the seven-part Netflix miniseries "The Queen's Gambit" have tried and failed at the task. Based on a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, "Queen's" stars Anya Taylor-Joy ("The … more

TV listings for Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 17-18: Kidman stars in Kelley's 'The Undoing' on Sunday

by Kevin McDonough Fans of "Big Little Lies" will certainly like "The Undoing" (9 p.m. Sunday, HBO, TV-MA). In so many ways, it's the same show, moved from Malibu's golden shores to a glossy look at very wealthy Manhattan society. Like "Lies," … more

Final presidential debate on just about every station at 9 tonight

There's an old saying about acting: Never share a scene with kids or animals. Apparently, Fluffy never got the memo. Actor and comedian Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias hosts the new series "Unleashed" (7 p.m., Nickelodeon, TV-G), an animal talent … more

Will Netflix viewers notice that 'Rebecca' is a remake?

By Kevin McDonough Not available (to mere TV critics at least) for review, a 2020 remake of "Rebecca" begins streaming on Netflix today. The original left an enduring impression on several generations of viewers. Most notably, it was Alfred … more

'American Masters' recalls Walter Winchell

By Kevin McDonough "American Masters" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) profiles Walter Winchell, a media innovator whose story is simply too big to condense into a one-hour documentary. Largely forgotten now, Winchell pretty much … more

David Byrne puts the 'meh' in 'American Utopia'

By Kevin McDonough With theaters shuttered, televised spectacles will have to suffice. HBO presents "David Byrne's American Utopia" (8 p.m. Saturday, TV-14), a filmed version of the hit Broadway production brought to the screen by director Spike … more

Streaming options, from puppets to courtrooms

By Kevin McDonough How do you teach cooperation and collaboration? With puppets, of course. Now in its second season, "The Helpsters," streaming on Apple TV+, entertains and educates preschoolers with lessons in sharing responsibilities through … more

'Social Distance' joins 'Connecting' in a Zoom chat

By Kevin McDonough With a title describing both its subject and its production, the eight-part anthology "Social Distance," now streaming on Netflix, offers different takes on friends and family coping with quarantine, separation and the need to … more

'The Con' recycles stories of fairy tales gone bad

By Kevin McDonough Nobody likes to be fooled. But watching others fall for "The Con" (10 p.m., ABC) can be entertaining. Whoopi Goldberg narrates this new nonfiction series about tales of Prince Charmings too good to be true, surefire investments … more

'Driving While Black': powerful, thought-provoking

By Kevin McDonough "See the USA in your Chevrolet" was the opening line to an upbeat ditty Dinah Shore sang in 1957, an anthem linking the open road, Detroit steel and national identity. For the target audience of Dinah Shore's TV show and … more

History of AC/DC voltages; 'Everest's Greatest Mystery'

By Kevin McDonough Ovation adds "The Fall" (7 p.m. Saturday, TV-MA) to its mystery lineup. Gillian Anderson stars in this brooding mystery as a detective on the trail of a serial killer (Jamie Dornan, "50 Shades of Grey") in Belfast. Anderson, … more

How many ways does 'The Right Stuff' go wrong?

By Kevin McDonough t's hard to make a reboot and still "boldly go where no man has gone before." Disney+ begins streaming a "new" take on "The Right Stuff," inspired both by Tom Wolfe's 1979 best-seller and the 1983 screen adaptation of the saga … more

'Connecting' takes a stab at quarantine comedy

By Kevin McDonough Creating television while observing social distance is difficult. And that's perhaps the reason why "Connecting" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) may represent the "best" we can hope for during this peculiar period, which is a little … more

'Devils': The CW adds another unlikely import

By Kevin McDonough Proof that COVID affects even superheroes arrives on the CW. With the production of its shows set in the DC Comics Universe on hold, it has been importing a number of series that have begun to transform the network's … more

'Next' harnesses artificial intelligence as bogeyman

By Kevin McDonough Technology enhances our lives and frightens us at the same time. The history of entertainment is filled with movies and series about the threats posed by new and mysterious devices and knowledge. One of my favorite movie … more

Impressively produced 'Good Lord Bird' premieres

By Kevin McDonough A week after "60 Minutes" kicked off its 53rd season, "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m. Saturday, NBC, TV-14) will begin season No. 46. The season opener will take place in the Rockefeller Center studio with an audience … more

Darren Star's star falls: 'Emily in Paris' on Netflix

By Kevin McDonough Sometimes exceptionally atrocious shows have to be seen to be believed. Particularly those from established creators. Streaming today on Netflix, "Emily in Paris" explores the familiar theme of the clueless American expatriate … more

'Let's Be Real': The return of puppet punditry

By Kevin McDonough With a month to go until election day, Fox brings out something new and yet familiar: puppets. "Let's Be Real" (9 p.m., TV-14) will feature puppets commenting on current news, popular culture and events. It's produced by Robert … more

Will Shepard Smith bring his audience to CNBC?

By Kevin McDonough With little more than a month to go before Election Day, a new face joins the nightly news lineup. Make that a familiar face in a new spot. The hourlong newscast "The News With Shepard Smith" (7 p.m., CNBC) debuts tonight. A … more

'Don't Forget the Driver': A low-key comedy gem

By Kevin McDonough Fifty years ago, Joni Mitchell reminded us that "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." But sometimes you don't know what you've been missing until you see it. Streaming now on Britbox, with new episodes arriving … more
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