Worth Watching: A Dancing Parent Trap, Women ‘Roar’ on Apple, Creepy Western ‘Outer Range’
CBS launches a new dance competition where talented kids team with their less skilled parent. The very starry (Nicole Kidman! Issa Rae!) Apple anthology Roar spins short feminist allegories. Other streaming titles include Prime Video’s Outer Range, starring Josh Brolin in a supernatural contemporary Western, and Netflix’s twisty Anatomy of a Scandal, starring Sienna Miller and Rupert Friend. And Dateline NBC still can’t get enough of its favorite villainess, Pam Hupp.
Recalling Fred Astaire warbling, “I won’t dance, don’t ask me,” this light-hearted competition introduces 12 mismatched dance teams comprised of a very talented youth (ages 9 to 15) and their parent, still struggling with two-left-feet issues. The moms and dads are the opposite of pros—although one of the dads is the drummer for Limp Bizkit, so at least he can follow a beat—as they learn dance styles from hip hop to ballroom. Grammy-winning songwriter Philip Lawrence hosts, with Jenna Dewan judging alongside Dexter Mayfield and Tricia Miranda. In the two-hour opener, the teams trip the light fantastic (or maybe just trip) to Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me.”
Helen Reddy would be proud to know women are still roaring, and in this stylized eight-episode anthology—unlike most Apple series, they drop all at once for a binge experience—a diverse variety of stars appears in allegories of the female experience that sometimes skirt the edge of The Twilight Zone. Example: Executive producer Nicole Kidman stars opposite Judy Davis in “The Woman Who Ate Photographs,” about an Australian woman who copes with stressful family issues by devouring snapshots from old photo albums in a desperate attempt to hold on to the past. Insecure’s Issa Rae stars in “The Woman Who Disappeared,” about a successful Black author who heads to Hollywood and seems to lose her voice and identity when her memoir is co-opted by white executives. Other stars include Cynthia Erivo, Merritt Wever, GLOW’s Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie in fables with titles like “The Woman Who Was Kept on a Shelf” and “The Woman Who Solved Her Own Murder.”
Imagine if H.P. Lovecraft had written a season of Yellowstone, to describe the tone of this enthrallingly offbeat supernatural contemporary Western. Outer Range visits the not-quite-tamed West in an eight-part drama (dropping two episodes a week) starring Josh Brolin as stoic Wyoming rancher Royal Abbott, who’s the first to discover a spooky large black hole (with accompanying eerie sounds) on his disputed property. Weird events begin to happen when a new-agey hippie (Imogen Poots) camps out on their land, and the Abbotts’ feud with a neighboring ranch family turns deadly. Through it all, the mystery looms of that black void in the middle of the pasture. The strong cast includes Lili Taylor as Royal’s wife, Ozark’s Tom Pelphrey as his most troubled son, and Yellowstone’s Will Patton as Royal’s misanthropic rival.
The prolific producer David E. Kelley doesn’t often repeat himself, but in this six-episode adaptation of Sarah Vaughan’s novel, he spins a less murderous version of his hit HBO series The Undoing. Once again, a glamorous spouse (Sienna Miller) begins to regret standing by her handsome disgraced husband (a sheepish Rupert Friend)—in this case, a powerful Parliament politician accused of raping his co-worker lover. Michelle Dockery is the brittle prosecutor with a secret agenda that is only one of the many skeletons to tumble out during a high-profile trial. (See the full review.)
Hard to imagine, but if the recent miniseries The Thing About Pam (which was basically a long Dateline episode with actors) left you wanting to know more about Pam Hupp, Dateline complies with a two-hour update. Keith Morrison interviews prosecutor Leah Askey (portrayed in the series by Judy Greer), who defends participating in the wrongful conviction of murder victim Betsy Faria’s husband Russ.
Inside Friday TV:
- CMT Music Awards Extended Cut (8/7c, CMT): If Monday’s broadcast on CBS felt incomplete, CMT offers a version with 30 more minutes of bonus content and performances that didn’t make the original cut.
- RuPaul’s Drag Race (8/7c, VH1): In a buildup to next week’s Las Vegas finale, the queens reunite to dish the highlights and lowlights of the current season.
- La Madrina: The [Savage] Life of Lorine Padilla (8/7c, Showtime): Part of Showtime’s Hip Hop 50 initiative, this documentary profiles a South Bronx gang leader turned community activist, doubling as a reflection of the neighborhood’s hip hop and salsa culture.
- Vacation House Rules (9/8c,HGTV): Contractor Scott McGillivray is back for a third season of helping homeowners make the most of their vacation properties without breaking the bank.
- Bill Maher: #Adulting (10/9c, HBO): The longtime host of Real Time delivers his 12th HBO stand-up special, filmed at Miami’s Fillmore Theater, featuring his trademark repertoire of outrageous social commentary.
On the Stream:
- It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown (streaming on Apple TV+): A new Earth Day-themed Peanuts cartoon focuses on Sally Brown’s advocacy for a small flower on the baseball field that could disrupt brother Charlie’s big game. For the grown-ups, Apple’s offerings include the fourth chapter of the spy thriller Slow Horses, in which the underdog spies are on the run from boss lady Taverner’s (Kristin Scott Thomas) goons, and the sixth episode of the Korean-Japanese epic Pachinko.
- Swimming with Sharks (streaming on Roku Channel): Based on the 1994 movie, but with an agenda all its own, this Hollywood satire stars Diane Kruger as an abusive Devil Wears Prada-like studio CEO whose new intern (former Sabrina Kiernan Shipka) is not as naïve as she appears.
- Choose or Die (streaming on Netflix): In this horror thriller, “Game over” takes on ominous new meaning when a cash-strapped coder plays a 1980s computer game that upends reality in terrifying, deadly ways.
- The Cellar (streaming on Shudder): More horror in this Irish import starring 24’s Elisha Cuthbert and La Brea’s Eoin Macken as a couple confronting ancient evil when their daughter disappears in the cellar of their new country home.
- Titanic 666 (streaming on Tubi): This movie poses the question: Who thought it would be a good idea to sail a Titanic III replica into the watery site of the original tragedy on its 110th anniversary? What are the odds that history will repeat itself?