Oprah Winfrey produces a documentary tribute to the late actor-activist Sidney Poitier. ABC’s Shark Tank goes live with a studio audience for its Season 14 premiere. Streaming movies include Tyler Perry’s romantic melodrama A Jazzman’s Blues and first-time feature-film director Sanaa Latham’s hip-hop fable On the Come Up.
In the trailer for this documentary tribute to the late, great Oscar-winning trailblazer Sidney Poitier, producer Oprah Winfrey breaks down crying when reflecting on her love and respect for the legendary actor, who passed away in January. We know how she feels. Poitier’s trajectory from his Bahamas homeland to the Hollywood film industry he helped transform is remarkable, with breakthrough films including The Defiant Ones, A Raisin in the Sun, Lilies of the Field, To Sir, with Love and In the Heat of the Night. Among those discussing his legacy: Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Spike Lee, Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford.
Here’s something new for the Sharks: a live fishbowl, with a studio audience watching the investors deliberate as entrepreneurs pitch their bright ideas. To launch the 14th season of the enduring reality show, the Sharks (Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary) hold court in a one-night-only live episode. Home viewers also get a chance to make their opinions known as the Sharks decide whether or not to make a deal.
A Jazzman’s Blues
Dusting off a script he reportedly wrote 27 years ago, long before he was a brand name, Tyler Perry writes and directs a film obviously close to his heart. This romantic musical melodrama, set largely in the 1930s and 1940s, depicts the star-crossed romance in rural Georgia of aspiring musician Bayou (Joshua Boone) and light-skinned Leanne (Solea Pfeiffer). Their love story is laced with danger as Bayou finds fame on the Chicago nightclub circuit while Leanne is sent North to marry a white man unaware of her racial heritage.
On the Come Up
A very different sort of musical journey unfolds in actor-director Sanaa Lathan’s feature-directing debut, about the rise of Bri (Jamila C. Gray), a 16-year-old female rapper living in the shadow of her father, a hip-hop legend killed too soon. Bri finds her voice through a series of rap battles, but when her first hit goes viral in a negative way, she has to decide just what she wants her image to be. Lathan co-stars as her mother, in recovery from addiction, and Cliff “Method Man” Smith appears as a rich career-maker who thinks he can turn Bri into a star.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The wheels may be moving awfully slowly, but by the end of the epic fantasy’s fifth episode, it looks as if elf warrior Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) will finally get her wish to embark from Númenor with support to take on the forces of evil threatening Middle-earth—though not without dissent and sabotage. Rebellion is also brewing among the humans in the Southlands who’ve taken refuge in the tower as they nervously await the orc army led by Adar (Joseph Mawle), and it won’t take much to get some of the mob to turn back to the dark side.
Inside Friday TV:
- True Crime Watch: ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) opens its 45th season with co-anchor Amy Robach’s prison interview with Leo Schofield, who’s been trying to clear his name for three decades after being convicted in the 1987 murder of his wife Michelle. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King, who believes his Bone Valley podcast about the case has proved Schofield’s innocence, is also interviewed. On Dateline NBC (9/8c), Josh Mankiewicz reports on a rape-murder case that revealed a pattern of sexual assaults in Texas.
- Secret Celebrity Renovation (9/8c, CBS): The season finale heads to Hawaii, where singer/The Masked Singer star Nicole Scherzinger surprises her “Tutu and Papa” by helping expand and transform their home.
- Intimate Apparel (9/8c, PBS): Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Lynn Nottage adapts her 2003 play about a Black seamstress in 1900s Manhattan, writing the libretto for a chamber opera with a score by Ricky Ian Gordon. Great Performances presents the production, staged earlier this year at Lincoln Center in association with the Metropolitan Opera, starring Kearstin Piper Brown as Esther Mills. (Viola Davis played the role in Roundabout Theatre’s 2004 New York premiere.)
- Central Park (streaming on Apple TV+): A guest voice cast including Tim Meadows, Craig Robinson, Norm Lewis, Sam Richardson and Jack McBrayer highlights a fun episode of the animated comedy, when Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.) reunites with his fellow park-manager buddies only to realize how much they resent his high-profile gig at Central Park. A slapstick subplot features Bitsy (Stanley Tucci) and Helen (Daveed Diggs) flat on their back after a floor cleaner takes revenge on the nasty hotel magnate.
- Bad Sisters (streaming on Apple TV+): “I swear to God you’d have an easier time offing the bloody Road Runner,” laments big sister Ava (Sharon Horgan) in the deliciously dark comedy as the siblings’ latest plot to take down odious brother-in-law John Paul (Claes Bang) goes sideways. Worse, J.P.’s going after the promotion Ava deserves, smearing her in the process. Stay tuned for a killer cliffhanger.
- Haunted Scotland (streaming on discovery+): Put your sassenach hat on to explore spooky sites in Scotland with U.S. medium Chris Fleming and local guide Gail Porter. Launching with the first three of 10 episodes.
- Farscape (8 pm/ET, streaming on Shout! Factory TV): The exhilarating, underrated sci-fi romp (1999-2003) about astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) and his adventures aboard the living ship Moya is available for 24/7 streaming on the Farscape FAST channel