'Now See This' Newsletter: Finding Sports in a Hopeless Place

11:09 AM 4/17/2020

by THR staff

The Last Dance Still 3 - Netflix Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Netflix

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.

  • You Can Be Like Mike

    It’s been nearly two years since ESPN and Netflix announced a 10-part docuseries about the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, which makes Jason Hehir’s interview-packed take on the end of the Michael Jordan dynasty easily the week’s most anticipated new release. Starting April 19 and through the next five weeks, you can watch a series I called “a tremendously engaging, ridiculously fun assemblage of spectacular basketball footage and reasonably introspective interviews with almost everybody you'd hope to hear from on the subject.”

    What Other Critics Are Saying About The Last Dance

    Chicago’s finest are fans, with Phil Rosenthal calling it “a perfect diversion and a tribute to shared sacrifice” and Richard Roeper saying: “Not only were the Bulls a team for the ages, they also gave us a sports soap opera for the ages.”

  • Keep Scratching That Sports Itch

    This week would have been the annual opportunity for Major League Baseball teams to honor the great Jackie Robinson. Sadly, nobody’s playing baseball. Happily, PBS has made Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon’s terrific four-hour Jackie Robinson available to stream through April 28. I loved the documentary when I reviewed it back in 2016, raving that Robinson’s widow, Rachel, is “the most gifted of storytellers.”

  • One Episode to Watch

    Let’s say you don’t have time for all of Netflix’s #blackAF or that you aren’t even sure you want to watch the entirety of Kenya Barris’ semi-autobiographical comedy. The fifth episode, with a running time of 48 minutes, is provocative, funny and just might change how you look at Tyler Perry forever.

  • We Are 'One World'

    After tip-toeing back on to the air last week — check out my thoughts on the not-live episodeSaturday Night Live is dark on the 18th. But if you feel like music, comedy and lo-fi quarantine production values, NBC, ABC and CBS (plus many more networks and streamers worldwide) will air the Lady Gaga-curated One World: Together at Home. Check out this week’s TV’s Top 5 podcast for executive producer Audrey Morrissey’s explanation of the ambitious special’s myriad challenges.

  • Once You’ve Finished 'Outer Banks'

    So you’ve already watched the gold-tinted, shirtless, treasure-hunting shenanigans of Netflix’s Outer Banks. Now what? Netflix is pretty savvy, and a lot of the titles Outer Banks borrows from in terms of influence — The O.C., The Goonies — aren’t available for free streaming. Sure, you could watch the similar One Tree Hill on Hulu, but instead why not check out the very different high school antics — including some treasure-hunting — of Netflix’s On My Block?

  • Honoring the Late, Great Brian Dennehy

    Brian Dennehy, truly one of our finest character actors, died this week at 81, and there’s no bad time for a Brian Dennehy marathon. You might need to pay a few bucks to watch First Blood or Tommy Boy, but there are good streaming options for Dennehy completists, including a selection of his Jack Reed telefilms (plus the '80s favorite F/X) on Amazon and his great performance in the final Hap & Leonard season now streaming on Netflix. And Legal Eagles is always showing somewhere.

  • This Week's THR Staff Pick:

    THR online copy chief Pete Keeley writes: "What if I told you there was a drama about a mysterious disease spreading rapidly through an unsuspecting populace as government officials hid the terrible truth that you could watch to get your mind off the real-life mysterious disease that spread rapidly through an unsuspecting populace as government officials hid the terrible truth? Netflix’s Kingdom is a sageuk — a traditional Korean historical drama — set at the turn of the 17th century, but also a top-notch zombie gorefest. Also, the costumes are so gorgeous they might shame you into changing out of sweatpants.”