It’s the beginning of the end for AMC’s groundbreaking zombie thriller—though not for the Walking Dead universe. CNN broadcasts an all-star concert from Central Park’s Great Lawn to celebrate New York City’s comeback. The annual Stand Up to Cancer telethon, simulcast on many networks and platforms, features a tribute to Chadwick Boseman. Showtime’s quirky comedy Work in Progress returns for a second season. An early Stephen King short story inspires an Epix creepshow. Get the dirt on the tabloid gossip industry in a four-part docuseries.
The Walking Dead
SUNDAY: There’s plenty of zombie action as the 11th and final season of the landmark horror thriller gets underway—eight episodes now, more to follow in an epic 24-episode narrative to play out over the next year or two. But little in this tense hour is deadlier than the glares Maggie (Lauren Cohan) shoots at Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)—and who can blame her? Still, they need his expertise as an away team forages in Washington, D.C., ending up in an abandoned (though hardly empty) subway system for a cliffhanger that may prompt you to subscribe to AMC+ so you can see next Sunday’s episode a week early. More spinoffs and Rick-centric movies are in the cards, but for now the mothership chugs along.
We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert
SATURDAY: The weather may put a damper on some of the festivities, but thousands of vaccinated music fans are expected to gather on Central Park’s Great Lawn for an all-star concert celebrating the reopening of New York City as a cultural hub. CNN’s coverage, anchored by Anderson Cooper, begins at 4 pm/ET, leading to the big event, with legendary headliners including Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, two performers who’ve played Aretha—Cynthia Erivo and Jennifer Hudson—Earth Wind & Fire, Wyclef Jean, Journey, LL Cool J, Patti Smith, The Killers, Barry Manilow and for classical fans, Andrea Bocelli and the New York Philharmonic. Something for everyone, so long as the thunderstorms hold off.
Stand Up to Cancer
SATURDAY: The annual fundraising telethon, simulcast on multiple platforms, will pause to remember the late Chadwick Boseman in a tribute from his wife Simone and co-host Anthony Anderson. (Ken Jeong and Sofia Vergara also co-host.) Common will perform with Stevie Wonder, and don’t be surprised if a celebrity pops up to participate in a video chat with generous donors, all proceeds going to cancer research.
Work in Progress
SUNDAY: Abby McEnany’s deeply personal and disarmingly funny comedy about anxiety and nonconformity returns for a second season with back-to-back episodes. In the first, queer Chicagoan Abby is busily shopping for a compatible therapist (her first died mid-session), and it’s not going well. “Life just got in the way of me killing myself,” she confesses to one, and thankfully, Abby’s life is just as messy as ever, including welcoming a new roommate into her OCD world. The second episode flashes back to her childhood therapy sessions and the beginning of her obsession with journaling. Even back then, she was telling her docs, “I don’t think I can be fixed.” Abby, we’re here for you.
SUNDAY: Stephen King’s early short story, the Lovecraftian Jerusalem’s Lot (not to be confused with Salem’s Lot), inspired this turgid 10-part supernatural period piece. Set in the 1850s, Chapelwaite stars a mournfully whispery Adrien Brody as a haunted and recently widowed sea captain who brings his sad children to Maine to inhabit the title manor he inherited after a family tragedy. He worries he’s going mad, a feeling that only grows after the locals revile him, blaming his family for an insidious “illness” that looks a lot like vampirism. Be patient—really patient-and you’ll be rewarded by some creepy and graphic imagery, because the evil biding its time in nearby Jerusalem’s Lot is not easy to kill. (See the full review.)
SUNDAY: New York’s last surviving old-school gossip diva, 91-year-old New York Post columnist Cindy Adams, is the centerpiece of a breezy but shallow four-part docuseries about the art of transactional sensationalism in the media, epitomized by Adams and the Post’s Page Six after the venerable tabloid was purchased by Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The Internet, social media and upstarts like TMZ robbed them of much of their influence, but Adams keeps plugging away in an office wallpapered in headlines from the past.
SUNDAY: As if to prove that this isn’t just a wrestling drama, the way Friday Night Lights wasn’t just a football drama, Heels’ second episode takes place entirely outside the ring—although there is a rowdy bar brawl. Leading the melee is star wrestler Ace (Alexander Ludwig), deep into his cups after being humiliated in front of his fans by brother Jack (Stephen Amell), who’s pressured to make amends and fix the narrative. A rival wrestling entrepreneur (Mike O’Malley, also Heels’ showrunner) makes an offer that could change everything for the small-time Duffy Wrestling League, but it’s too soon for Jack and his crew to throw in the towel.
Inside Weekend TV:
- A Little Daytime Drama (Saturday, 9/8c, Hallmark Channel): Hallmark stars have some fun going back to their soap-opera roots in a romcom about a head writer (Days of Our Lives’ Jen Lilley) whose best chance at saving her dying show is to bring back her ex-boyfriend, a fan-favorite actor (General Hospital’s Ryan Paevey) she once wrote off the show. Another World diva Linda Dano plays her producer.
- NYC Epicenters 9/11➔2021 ½ (Sunday, 8/7, HBO): Spike Lee’s expansive documentary essay about New York City in the 21st century airs in four parts through Sept. 11. The series features interviews and visual imagery to tie together the city’s most recent challenges—being an early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter social-justice movement—with the resilience shown in the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11.
- History of the Sitcom (Sunday, 9/8c, CNN): The series ends on a theme of “Escaping Reality,” which means we’re looking at you, Gilligan’s Island!
- 100 Foot Wave (10/9c, HBO): Metaphors of life as a 100-foot wave, extolling the natural rush and euphoria of surfing at its most extreme, bring the docuseries to its first-season finale. (HBO has already renewed it for a second.) When a serious injury suddenly halts the Tow Surfing Challenge at Nazaré, Portugal, the shaken surfers reflect on what keeps them going into the water. Including veteran Garrett McNamara, who sat out the fateful 2020 contest but continues to feel the tug of those perfect—and in Nazaré, giant—waves.
- Naked and Afraid of Love (streaming on discovery+): You knew this was bound to happen. The hit survival show that bares all has merged with a dating reality show. Eight men and eight women expose more than their souls as they struggle to connect–and survive the wilds with no supplies or clothing-on a Philippine isle.