'Now See This' Newsletter: America and TV Catch Up with Juneteenth

12:41 PM 6/19/2020

by THR staff

Perry Mason StilL 2 - Publicity_H 2020
Courtesy of HBO

Welcome to Now See This, THR chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg’s weekly viewer guide newsletter dedicated to cutting through the daunting clutter of the broadcast, cable and streaming TV landscape! Comments and suggestions welcome at daniel.fienberg@thr.com.

This is a web version of THR's Now You See This newsletter. To receive the newsletter by email each week, click here.

  • Mixed Verdict for ‘Perry Mason’

    HBO’s eight-episode origin story for Perry Mason — more an adaptation of the Erle Stanley Gardner novels than a remake of the Raymond Burr CBS drama — is a mixed bag. It isn’t always clear why it’s using the Perry Mason name or why it’s focusing on this character at all, but Matthew Rhys leads a remarkable ensemble and the Depression-era production values couldn’t be higher. Check out this week’s TV’s Top 5 podcast for a chat with showrunners Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald.

  • What Else Does the Weekend Have to Offer?

    Any hope that the second season of Netflix’s The Politician might improve on the uneven first fizzles almost immediately; it’s a stunningly lifeless and unfocused run of seven episodes. Skip it. You’d be better off checking out Hulu’s Taste the Nation With Padma Lakshmi, especially after you finish this terrific All-Stars season of Top Chef. So much of what makes Lakshmi’s screen brand so interesting — she can talk food and politics and still lead a gleeful chorus of the Oscar Mayer Weiner jingle — is on display here.

  • The Weekend's Best 'Showcase'

    IFC’s Sherman’s Showcase was one of last year’s best new series, and the variety show take-off returns for one hour on Friday for a Sherman’s Showcase Black History Month Spectacular, featuring guests like John Legend and Mario Van Peebles. It’s a hoot, and the show has finally been renewed for a second season. And speaking of Friday … 

  • TV Does Juneteenth

    America hasn’t always acknowledged Juneteenth — June 19, recognizing the day slaves in Texas were told they’d been freed, two-plus years after the Emancipation Proclamation and months after the end of the Civil War — and TV has similar limitations. The Black-ish musical episode and the first-season episode of Atlanta tied to the holiday are worthwhile starting points; FX is airing marathons of both shows on Friday. Also check out Stanley Nelson’s 2019 doc Boss: The Black Business Experience, made available for free on June 21 at PBS.org.

  • Who Hasn't Watched 'Watchmen'?

    Want one last piece of unexpectedly topical programming for the weekend? HBO is making Damon Lindelof's nine-episode take on Watchmen available for free On Demand from June 19 to June 21. For more on that show’s provocative approach to race, check out THR’s drama showrunners Emmy roundtable conversation.

  • A Homework 'Party'

    If you’re like me, you loved the first season of Search Party, really liked the second season, and the third season is the first HBO Max original you’re actually looking forward to. But if you’re like me, you’ve also forgotten everything about the last season, which aired — and this boggles the mind a little — back in the fall of 2017. Given that the spring of 2020 already feels like a zillion years ago, this is a good weekend for a Search Party refresher.