Among the tributes to Matthew Perry, TBS curates daily “Best of Chandler” Friends marathons for the rest of the week. Hulu’s multigenerational drama Black Cake hinges on the revelations of a mother’s secrets. Kenneth Branagh portrays controversial U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a six-part docudrama. A documentary short reveals how The Beatles’ “final song,” Now and Then, was produced after two of the band members’ deaths.
The title dessert is a traditional Caribbean treat, representing a melting-pot blending of global cultures. Which also describes Covey (an impressive Mia Isaac), a biracial 16-year-old in Jamaica who runs away from her arranged marriage, disappearing into the surf after the gangster groom is mysteriously poisoned. Her picaresque journey, to Europe and eventually the United States, provides the narrative thread in the eight-part Black Cake, adapted from Charmaine Wilkerson’s novel. Covey’s story is told through posthumous recordings left to her grown children, who knew their mom only as Eleanor Bennett. As Byron (Ashley Thomas) and Benny (Adrienne Warren) listen, flashbacks to Covey/Eleanor’s adventures hinge on a lingering mystery: Who killed her husband in Jamaica? The series launches with three episodes.
Kenneth Branagh sheds his Hercule Poirot mustache for latex jowls and the floppy hair of embattled former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a six-part docudrama greeted in the British press (much like the politician) with decidedly mixed reviews. The focus of the drama is on Johnson’s turbulent early months at 10 Downing Street, coinciding with the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ophelia Lovibond (Minx) co-stars as his soon-to-be-wife Carrie.
Now and Then – The Last Beatles Song
“How lucky was I to have those men in my life,” reflects Sir Paul McCartney of his former Beatles mates John Lennon and George Harrison in a 12-minute documentary short detailing the production of a long-shelved “last Beatles song,” being released this week, that was retrieved from Lennon’s archives. AI technology preserved Lennon’s vocals, which are combined with overdubs by McCartney and Ringo Starr, plus guitar tracks by Harrison from an earlier 1995 session. The documentary features footage and commentary from McCartney, Starr, Sean Ono Lennon and filmmaker Peter Jackson.
MATTHEW PERRY TRIBUTES:
- Best of Chandler Marathon (starts at 6 am/5c, TBS): Where do you start? Why would you stop? In remembrance of Matthew Perry, his unforgettably wry character of Chandler Bing on Friends will be celebrated in marathon compilations through the weekend. (Nickelodeon continues with its own Friends tributes each night at 9 pm/8c). TBS kicks off its “Best of Chandler” with 12 hours of classics through 6 pm/5c, continuing Thursday with six hours (starting at 6 am/5c) of the “Best of Chandler and Joey’s Friendship,” a mini-marathon Friday (starts at 10 am/9c) of “Best of Chandler & Monica’s Relationship,” with encores Saturday and Sunday. Could we be more into this?
INSIDE WEDNESDAY TV:
- Survivor (8/7c, CBS): With 13 players remaining, the tribes merge—and one of the castaways may live to regret a comment made on the first day of Season 45’s adventure. Followed by The Amazing Race (9:30/8:30c), with teams casting votes for the mandatory U-turn for the first time, forcing one team to carry out both detours in India.
- Quantum Leap (8/7c, NBC): The 1992 riots in Los Angeles provide the explosive backdrop when Ben (Raymond Lee) jumps into the body of an 18-year-old working in his father’s Koreatown shoe store. Because of Magic’s (Ernie Hudson) personal connection to the riots, he joins Ben on the leap. Followed by Magnum P.I. (9/8c), where Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Higgins (Perdita Weeks) seek a missing gamer, while T.C. (Stephen Hill) joins Jin Jeong (Bobby Lee) on a treasure hunt.
- Spy in the Ocean (8/7c, PBS): The Nature miniseries continues with robotic creatures observing intimate and emotional encounters among dolphins, cuttlefish and kissing manatees.
- The Real Housewives of Miami (9/8c, Bravo): The sixth season of the show that brings shade to the Sunshine State introduces Larsa Pippen’s new beau, Marcus—a baller with a wildly famous dad, last name Jordan.
ON THE STREAM:
- The Morning Show (streaming on Apple TV+): The stakes couldn’t be higher in Season 3’s penultimate episode, with everyone digging up dirt on each other, as star anchor Alex (Jennifer Aniston) contemplates a move that could bring down the UBA network—if only she could trust billionaire boyfriend Paul Marks (Jon Hamm).
- Ink Master (streaming on Paramount+): The 15th season of the tattoo competition, featuring 15 contestants vying for a $250,000 prize, opens with three episodes.
- Mysteries of the Faith (streaming on Netflix): Granted access to holy sites including the Vatican, a four-part docuseries explores the history of legendary relics including the Crown of Thorns, which was rescued from the burning Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.
- Behind the Attraction (streaming on Disney+): A second season goes behind the scenes with Imagineers and cast members of Disney theme parks to explore attractions including the Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Indiana Jones Adventure.
- Love Island Games (9 pm/ET, streaming on Peacock): An international spinoff of Love Island, set in Fiji, assembles a cast of fan favorites from the U.S., U.K., Australian, French, Swedish and German versions to play and flirt. Episodes stream Sundays through Fridays.
- Six Feet Under (streaming on Netflix): The innovative drama (2001-2005) set in an L.A. funeral home is the latest HBO hit to get new exposure on Netflix.