A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Homecoming (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): If we gave away any of the twists in the taut second season of Amazon Prime's gripping memory mystery, we'd have to try to find ways of making you forget. Disorientation is the point — also the device that hooks you immediately into the new season, which introduces Janelle Monáe as the new lead (Julia Roberts starred in the first season), first seen as a Jane Doe who awakens in a rowboat in the middle of a lake with no idea who she is or how she got there. Following clues that are often false leads (shades of the cult film Memento) eventually guides her to the sinister Evil Corp of the Geist Group. Stephan James of the first season, as an ex-military guinea pig of Geist's memory-blurring Homecoming project, joins Monáe on her quest, leading to a shocking, satisfying ending that will be hard to forget. Chris Cooper and Joan Cusack, both new to the cast as well, also make memorable impressions. (See the full review.)
Mythic Quest: Quarantine (streaming on Apple TV+): A workplace comedy, from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Rob McElhenney, that deserves cult status returns for a special social-distancing episode, and the multiple-screen gimmick works especially well for the dysfunctional company that operates Mythic Quest, the biggest multiplayer video game ever. Filmed and edited remotely on iPhones, the episode finds the team estranged not only by distance, but by ego. It builds to a powerful depiction of loneliness in self-isolation, when Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) finally forces herself to stop working. The final gag, though, is truly euphoric, celebrating the connectivity that is helping to get many of us through this crisis.
AKA Jane Roe (9/8c, FX): The world first knew her as Jane Roe, but this documentary takes an unvarnished look at Norma McCorvey, the complicated Texas woman whose unwanted pregnancy led to the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling. In the year before her death in 2017, McCorney gave revealing "deathbed confession" interviews to producer/director Nick Sweeney, explaining the shocking truth behind her unexpected conversion in the mid-1990s to the anti-abortion movement. Hers is a cautionary tale amid the ever-polarizing debate over reproductive rights.
Inside Friday TV: Originally set for a theatrical release, Lovebirds opens on Netflix, starring Insecure's Issa Rae and The Big Sick's Kumail Nanjiani as the title couple, who get caught up in a frantic rom-com caper after witnessing a murder and going on the run from killers and cops… Yvette Nicole Brown hosts the Disney+ game show The Big Fib, in which kids must deduce which of two people, one of them an expert, is lying about a very specific topic. If the contestant chooses correctly, the liar gets foamed… Discovery's All on the Line (9/8c) follows rival crews of tuna fishermen struggling to land monster tuna off the coast of Gloucester, Mass.
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