On the 50th anniversary of the infamous Watergate break-in, CBS airs a two-hour news retrospective, the History Channel repeats its six-hour deep dive from 2018, and Netflix remembers whistleblower Martha Mitchell, the recent subject of the Starz docudrama Gaslit. New streaming movies showcase star turns by Emma Thompson, Bryan Cranston, Annette Bening and Chris Hemsworth. Dateline NBC airs Savannah Guthrie’s interview with Amber Heard, which the network has been promoting all week.
Watergate: High Crimes in the White House
Maybe 50 years from now, there will be documentaries about the Jan. 6 insurrection and the impact of the current hearings. For now, TV is remembering the greatest political scandal of the last century, which brought down a presidency. On the 50th anniversary of the actual Watergate break-in, CBS News digs into its archives, as legendary anchor Walter Cronkite and other correspondents report on the conspiracy, the cover-up and the hearings. 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl, who covered the break-in, sits with All the President’s Men journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to analyze the historic events from today’s politically fraught perspective. Seeking a deeper dive? Look out for Watergate (6 pm/5c, History Channel): History repeats its six-hour documentary from Oscar-winning director Charles Ferguson that first aired in 2018. Woodward and Bernstein are again featured, along with newsmakers John Dean, Daniel Ellsberg, William Ruckelshaus and the late Sen. John McCain.
The Martha Mitchell Effect
If you were intrigued by Julia Roberts’ moving portrayal on the Starz docudrama Gaslit of the colorful whistleblower and wife of the former Attorney General to President Richard Nixon, here’s a chance to hear from the genuine article. A documentary short reveals the shock waves caused by the woman who cried foul on the corruption within an administration hell-bent on silencing her.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
Emma Thompson bares all, quite literally, in a two-hander character study of sex and intimacy. She’s Nancy Stokes, a widowed retired schoolteacher who knows she still has something to learn about sexual gratification and hires charming sex worker Leo (Peaky Blinders’ Daryl McCormick) to be her guide. This not-quite rom-com movie dramatizes their memorable encounter.
Jerry & Marge Go Large
Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening personify charm in a schmaltzy fact-based movie imbued with the spirit of Frank Capra. Think It’s a Wonderful Lottery as the retired Michigan couple cash in on a flaw in an out-of-state lottery, sharing the winnings with their struggling hometown. Except for Rainn Wilson, who scores as the convenience store worker who watches them in action, the rest of the overqualified cast doesn’t get to do much more than cheer Jerry and Marge on. So, though, might you.
From Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski comes an unorthodox prison movie starring Marvel fave Chris Hemsworth as a Jekyll-Hyde styled scientist who uses his penitentiary’s inmates as guinea pigs for mind-altering drug experimentation. When two of his subjects (The Offer’s Miles Teller and Lovecraft Country’s Jurnee Smollett) form a bond, things take a turn in the psychological dramedy based on George Saunders’ New Yorker short story.
If you haven’t heard enough from Amber Heard in the wake of the sordid defamation trial involving her ex, Johnny Depp, Dateline provides a fuller version of Savannah Guthrie’s headline-making interview that NBC has been excerpting all week. Maybe now we can all move on?
Inside Friday TV:
- Soul of a Nation: Sound of Freedom—A Juneteenth Celebration (8/7c, ABC): In anticipation of Sunday’s holiday, the third annual ABC News special honoring Juneteenth focuses on the contributions of Black Americans in all varieties of music. Hosted by country star Jimmie Allen, the special features a Linsey Davis interview with Lizzo and performances by Patti LaBelle, Marvin Sapp and Jon Batiste.
- Come Dance with Me (8/7c, CBS): As the dance competition nears its grand finale, the remaining four teams dance twice to qualify for the next round. And they’ve got good tunes to work with, including Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up.”
- Rigoletto (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher reimagines the Verdi opera classic in a 1920s setting in this Great Performances at the Met presentation. Baritone Quinn Kelsey sings the title role at the Met for the first time, with Daniele Rustioni conducting.
On the Stream:
- The Summer I Turned Pretty (streaming on Prime Video): Already renewed for a second season, the multigenerational YA drama based on Jenny Han’s novel deals with a summer-love beachfront triangle between a girl and two brothers. Also new to Prime Video: The Lake, another series about a summer getaway, this time to an idyllic lake, where newly single Justin (Orphan Black’s Jordan Gavaris) reconnects with the daughter he gave up for adoption but is miffed to learn his dad left the beach cottage to his stepsister (Julia Stiles).
- Cha Cha Real Smooth (streaming on Apple TV+): Cooper Raiff writes, directs and stars in a romantic drama about a college grad in New Jersey who’s gifted at getting parties started but can’t figure out his next move—until he meets single mom Domino (Dakota Johnson).
- Chrissy’s Court (streaming on Roku Channel): Chrissy Teigen is back for a second season with mom Pepper Thai as judge and bailiff in a comedic twist on the Judge Judy format.
- The Sessions: Draymond Green (streaming on Prime Video): A documentary tracks the NBA star’s path toward inner peace of mind as he consults with wellness experts Deepak Chopra and Devi Brown.