Thursday TV: Jean Smart Stars in ‘Hacks’

Jean Smart is turning in a pretty deft performance on “Mare of Easttown,” but has an even juicier role in the new series “Hacks” (HBO Max, streaming), playing a snarling Vegas comedian whose act is getting stale. Enter young comic (Hannah Einbinder), reluctantly hired as a joke writer. They’re at odds generationally and comedically in a show that’s rather like a distaff version of Judd Apatow’s “Funny People.” There’s more drama than comedy in the result but it’s a pretty good female-led show and Einbinder, the daughter of Laraine Newman (and niece of Paul Newman) is a solid match for Smart. 

Another comedy led by women has its final episode as “Mom” (CBS, 9 p.m.) has a series finale after eight years, with Anna Faris returning for the occasion.

From the UK comes the new sci-fi series “Intergalactic” (Peacock, streaming), a kind of futuristic cop drama starring Savannah Steyn as a young officer wrongly convicted of a treasonous crime. 

The new “Dark Side of Football” (Vice, 10 p.m.) looks at the violence that follows players around.

The fourth and final season of the animated “Castlevania” (Netflix, streaming), based on the computer game. 

The 2020 WNBA season and its commitment to social justice is explored on the documentary “144” (ESPN, 9 p.m.). 

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Wednesday TV: Here Come ‘The Upshaws’

Wanda Sykes and Michael Epps star in a new sitcom about a working-class family in Indianapolis. Kim Fields and Gabrielle Dennis also star in “The Upshaws” (Netflix, streaming).

“The Hills: New Beginnings” (MTV, 9 p.m.) has another new beginnings, with much of the classic cast, including Audrina Patridge, Kristin Cavallari, Brody Jenner, Justin Bobby, Whitney Port and Spencer and Heidi Pratt — now all solidly in their mid 30s. It comes after the fourth season premiere of “Siesta Key” (MTV, 8 p.m.). 

In the imported French thriller “Oxygen” (Netflix, streaming) Mélanie Laurent stars as a woman who wakes up in a cryogenic pad with no memory and little air. 

“Vaccinating America” (MSNBC, 10 p.m.) is a town hall with President Joe Biden and health officials joining  Lawrence O’Donnell for questions. 

The Mexican film “Dance of the 41” (Netflix, streaming) tells the true story of a secretly gay congressman who marries the Mexican president’s daughter, but is found cavorting with a man at a private party. Alfonso Herrera and Emiliano Zurita star. 

For those who wonder why there hasn’t been a reality competition on shrub-trimming, here’s the topiary-minded “Clipped” (Discovery+, streaming). 

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Tuesday TV: Money Needs an Explanation

Credit card scams and the student loan crises are among the topics on the new series “Money, Explained” (Netflix, streaming), co-produced with Vox, with narration provided by people like Edie Falco, Tiffany Haddish, Bobby Cannavale, Marcia Gaye Hardin and Jane Lynch. 

A new four-episode series “Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) begins with a timely topic, recounting the role of vaccinations in fighting illnesses. 

“The Crime of the Century” (HBO, 9 p.m.) ends its jaw-dropping two-night run with a look at the lawless fentanyl-slinging of Insys, which itself was emboldened by the opioid-slinging of Purdue, and the complete breakdown of Washington lawmakers in the face of Big Pharma campaign contributions. 

The tangled parole system of the City of Brotherly Love gets an examination on “Philly D.A.” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). 

The season premiere of “America’s Book of Secrets” (History, 10 p.m.) looks at a Space Force that may have been organized two decades before Trump’s bad idea. 

“Mayans M.C.” (FX, 10 p.m.) reaches its season finale with a big turf war.

Malcolm gets kicked off a serial killer case on “Prodigal Son” (Fox, 9 p.m.), which itself has been kicked off the schedule for next year. 

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Monday TV: Big Phrarma’s Opioid Crisis

Alex Gibney’s unblinking look at the opioid crisis, “The Crime of the Century” (HBO, 9 p.m.), covers some ground we’ve heard before — how pharmaceuticals were relentlessly pushed by their manufacturers, causing hundreds of thousands of heroin addicts and deaths. But he both steps back to examine the very notion that any pain is bad to looking at the roots of the drug problem, onion. and must be eliminated. The investigation, with The Washington Post, also has a  chilly deposition from Richard Sackler. The scourge needs a reckoning and this straightforward documentary comes close to igniting it. Part two runs Tuesday.

Mindy Kaling, Maya Rudolph, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sofia Vergara, Kate McKinnon are among those included in the special “Lifetime Presents Variety’s Power of Women: The Comedians” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.).

A snapshot of the modern economy is seen through the stories of two working mothers and a childcare provider in New Rochelle, N.Y., in the film “Through the Night,” making its debut at “POV” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

“Race to the Center of the Earth” (National Geographic, 10 p.m.) names a $1 million winner. 

The Danish import “Blinded — Those Who Kill” (Acorn TV, streaming) looks into the deaths of three young men killed within a few months. 

The Welsh thriller “Keeping Faith” (Acorn TV, streaming) ends its third season. 

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Sunday TV: A Salute to ‘What’s Going On’

A 50-year-old album that’s still a timely soundtrack for current struggles is examined by Don Lemon on a special, “What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye’s Anthem for the Ages” (CNN, 8 p.m.).

The host of the new comedy show “Ziwe” (Showtime, 11 p.m.) is pretty happy with herself; she repeats her name about 20 times in a half hour. Her schtick is making guests uncomfortable with questions. She doesn’t have much other material for a show that pales in comparison to the one whose time slot she’s borrowing, “Desus & Mero.” 

The successor to Johnny Carson causes drama on “The Story of Late Night” (CNN, 9 p.m.).

“American Ninja Warrior” (NBC, 7 p.m.) begins a new season by starting a all-women’s competition. 

Contestants sing Mother’s Day songs on “American Idol” (ABC, 8 p.m.). 

“Axios” (HBO, 6 p.m.) returns for a fourth season. 

On the new series “Louisiana Law” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.) follows the work of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. 

The city anticipates the pending execution on “The Nevers” (HBO, 9 p.m.). 

Iris is taking notes from her customers on “The Girlfriend Experience” (Starz, 8 p.m.) to improve her AI project. 

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Saturday TV: A Vaccine Promoting Concert

If science couldn’t do it, I’m not sure a concert will convince those hesitant to take the vaccine. But here’s “VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World” (ABC, CBS, YouTube, 8 p.m.; Fox, 9 p.m.). Selena Gomez hosts Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin and H.E.R., performing from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Special speakers will include Prince Harry, ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, Jimmy Kimmel, Sean penn and David letterman. Fox plays the thing a bit late; and only NBC doesn’t play it at all for some reason. They’ve got a “Dateline” (NBC, 8 p.m.) episode to replay.

The longtime nature host David Attenborough is feted on his 95th birthday in the special “Attenborough’s Journey” (BBC America, 8 p.m.). 

Jessica Barden plays a young woman in 1988 with anxiety in Kelly Oxford’s film “Pink Skies Ahead” (MTV, Pop, 8 p.m.). The cast includes Rosa Salazar, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary J. Blige, Michael McKean and Henry Winkler. 

On a day when Chinese space junk is scheduled to hit the Earth, here’s the premium cable premiere of “Greenland” (HBO, 8 p.m.), about a huge comet that’s to hit the Earth within 48 hours. Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin and Scott Glenn star. 

Julia Stiles and lena Olin return for a second season of the drama “Riviera” (Ovation, 7 p.m.), with Will Arnett and Poppy Delevingne joining the cast. 

A 10-episode marathon of the the first season of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” (Disney, 8 p.m.) makes its cable debut on the network that spawned the original. There will also be glimpses at the upcoming second season. 

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Friday TV: ‘Mythic Quest’ Back for More

The funny ensemble comedy “Mythic Quest” (Apple TV+, streaming) returns for a second season with Charlotte Nicdao’s Poppy now promoted to co-creative director and trying to find a spot alongside Rob McElhenney’s boss Ian. 

Aidy Bryant returns for the third and final season of “Shrill” (Hulu, streaming), as she finds her way through some bad dating experiences, one bad journalistic turn and finally a fulfilling relationship.

The meth addiction and drug empire run in Iowa by Tom Arnold’s sister is recalled in the documentary “Queen of Meth” (Discovery+, streaming).

Toby Jones and Richard Armitage star in a West End production of Chekov’s “Uncle Vanya” adapted by Conor McPherson on “Great Performances” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

The new season finally begins for “Dynasty” (CW, 9 p.m.) in which Fallon and Liam plan their wedding. 

“Magnum: P.I” (CBS, 9 p.m.) works a stalking case in the season three finale. 

In the new film “Monster” (Netflix, streaming), Kelvin Harrison Jr. plays a teenage honor student charged with felony murder. The cast includes Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright and Tim Blake Nelson. 

Another new superhero drama begins with “Jupiter’s Legacy” (Netflix, streaming) an adaptation of a graphic novel. Josh Duhamel, Leslie Bibb and Ben Daniels star. 

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Thursday TV: ‘Girls5Eva’ and Michael Che

The writer of “Unbreakable Jimmy Schmidt” Meredith Scardino comes up with another fun, fast and bubbly series about a 90s girl groups that attempts a comeback in “Girls5Eva” (Peacock, streaming). It’s quite a cast, with songwriter turned Broadway star Sara Bareilles, the funny Busy Philipps, the even funnier Paula Pell and “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry. Like other series from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, it’s packed with gags. This new comedy, alongside “A.P. Bio and “Rutherford Falls,” gives Peacock one of the most appealing slate of comedies anywhere. 

“That Damn Michael Che” (HBO Max, streaming) is a pretty solid topical sketch show from the laconic  “SNL” Weekend Update co-anchor, who often begins his bits with offhand observations that are turned into full blown sketches. Makes you wonder why so much of “Saturday Night Live” is so bland by comparison. 

Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend is “From Cradle to Stage” (Paramount+, streaming) a new series from the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and his mom, about the influence of mothers on other performers, from Geddy Lee to Brandi Carlisle, with Pharrell Williams, Tom Morello and Miranda Lambert in between. 

Another documentary series, “Dark Side of the Ring” (Vice, 9 p.m.), begins its third season. 

The romantic comedy “Stuck with You” (AllBLK, streaming) returns for its second season. Meanwhile, the reality show “Notorious Queens” (AllBLK, streaming) ends its first season. 

Sean Penn’s humanitarian efforts following a Haitian earthquake is chronicled in the documentary “Citizen Penn” (Discovery+, streaming). 

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Wednesday TV: About Your Circulation

In the new series “Human: The World Within” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) looks at biological stories from around the world to illustrate birth, in the first hour, and the heart and circulatory system in the second. 

A journalist convinced that New York killer Son of Sam did not work alone in the late 1970s, explains the theory in the new documentary series “The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness” (Netflix, streaming). 

“The Circle” (Netflix, streaming) ends its second U.S. season by naming a $100,000 winner.

Tiffany Haddish hoses a new season of “Kids Say the Darndest Things” (CBS, 8 p.m.), but on a new network. It was on ABC for its 2019-20 season. Networks do the darnedest things. 

Chrissy Metz is guest panelist on “The Masked Singer” (Fox, 8 p.m.), where the final six perform. 

“Chicago Med” (NBC, 8 p.m.) deals with an auto accident; “Chicago Fire” (NBC, 9 p.m.) gets a mysterious call; and “Chicago P.D.” (NBC, 10 p.m.) deals with the murder of a pregnant woman. 

Tom vows to help more around the house on “Home Economics” (ABC, 8:30 p.m.).

“SEAL Team” (CBS, 9 p.m.) brings a defecting Book Haram lieutenant into U.S. custody.

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Tuesday TV: ‘Frontline’ Report on Eritrea

“Frontline” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) gets a glimpse into one of the world’s most repressive regimes with the undercover report “Escaping Eritrea,” the result of a five-year investigation.  

Because of May the Fourth and all that, there’s a new “Star Wars” product, an animated spin-off of “The Clone Wars” called “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” (Disney+, streaming). It begins with a 70 minute premiere today; new episodes come on Fridays beginning later this week.

The rest of the dramatic series about the beloved singer rolls out today on “Selena: The Series Part 2” (Netflix, streaming).

Lewis Black and Roy Wood Jr. shake their family trees on the season finale of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings).

“The Real Housewives of New York City” (Bravo, 9 p.m.) returns for a new season with a new housewife in Eboni K. Williams, while “The Real Housewives of Dallas” (Bravo, 10:30 p.m.) begins its reunion episodes. 

“Cruel Summer” (Freeform, 10 p.m.) has proved to be the most popular series to premiere on the network. 

A new member is welcomed to “Mayans M.C.” (FX, 10 p.m.), which has just been renewed for a fourth season. 

Can we all just get along? The newest home improvement show is “Neighbor vs. Neighbor” (HGTV, 10 p.m.), which comes on after a new episode of “Unsellable Houses” (HGTV, 9 p.m.). 

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