Friday TV: The Return of David Brent

DavidBrentSometimes I wonder about the original UK version of “The Office” and what David Brent is up to now, he’ brought up to date in the new special “David Brent: Life on the Road” (Netflix, streaming). He’s back in sales, but part of the traveling salesmen crew, not the boss. Ricky Gervais’ ever-annoying character has saved up his money, though, to take three weeks off to try out his rock and roll dreams.

The songs are terrible, the hired band hates him, and nobody shows up. If “The Office” was the start of cringe humor, than one plumbs the depths of how painful it can be. And Gervais picks up his original talent — playing up to the camera to come off well, when it just makes things worse. The feature length-special tries to have a happy ending — or at least not a completely depressing. Some of the songs are funny, but we won’t have to worry any more about the future of Brent.

There’s a strong case to be made for the songwriting talents of Smokey Robinson, but there’s a serious lack of star power in the concert celebrating his latest award. You’d rather hear Robinson himself do his material than the roster they’ve gathered at “Smokey Robinson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). I went to the event where it was filmed last November and here’s my original review.

The British import “The Collection” (Amazon, streaming) follows a Parisian fashion house during the Nazi occupation.

Try not to think of Brian Fellows as the star of “Blackish” hosts his own “Animal Nation with Anthony Anderson” (Animal Planet, 10 p.m.), a sort of talk show with animals among the celebs. It follows a one-time special, “World’s Funniest Animal Commercials” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.), because, presumably, there are only so many funny animal commercials. Terry Crews hosts.

“Reign” (The CW, 9 p.m.) begins its fourth and final season, with Queen Mary vowing to avenge the death of her friend Lola.

The “America’s Got Talent” host has his own comedy special, “Nick Cannon: Stand Up, Don’t Shoot” (Showtime, 9 p.m.).

One of the lesser “Peanuts” holiday specials returns, “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown” (ABC, 8 p.m.), mixing the 2002 “A Charlie Brown Valentine” with the 1975 original.

Al Franken, Jim Jeffries, Karine Jean-Pierre are guests on a new “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO, 10 p.m.).

The 10th anniversary of the death of Anna Nicole Smith gets the attention of “20/20” (ABC, 10 p.m.). Correspondent Deborah Roberts talks to two people youse names you haven’t heard for a while, Larry Birkhead and their daughter Dannielynn, who is now almost 10 as well.

“Dateline” (NBC, 10 p.m), meanwhile, looks to connect the deaths of two women in separate states five years apart.

“MacGyver” (CBS, 8 p.m.) suspects that the Zodiac Killer from the 1970s is back.

On “Emerald City” (NBC, 9 p.m.), Dorothy discovers Lucas’ true identity, Hunk the

Turner Classic Movies’ alphabetical 31 Days of Oscar stays in the G-spot with “Good News” (6:30 a.m.), “The Goodbye Girl” (8:15 a.m.), “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (10:15 a.m.), “The Gorgeous Hussy” (1 p.m.), “Grand Hotel” (2:45 p.m.), “Grand Prix” (4:45 p.m.), “The Grapes of Wrath” (8 p.m.), “The Great McGinty” (10:30 p.m.), “The Great Santini” (midnight), “The Great Waltz” (2 a.m.) and “The Great Ziegfeld” (4 a.m.).

NBA action includes Indiana at Washington (EPSN, 8 p.m.) and Chicago at Phoenix (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.).

Hockey includes Tampa Bay at Minnesota (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.).

Men’s college hoops include Ohio at Ball State (CBS Sports, 6:30 p.m.), Dayton at Rhode Island (ESPN2, 7 p.m.), Akron at Eastern Michigan (ESPNU, 7 p.m.), and Monmouth at Manhattan (ESPNU, 9 p.m.).

In women’s games it’s Villanova at St. John’s (Fox Sports 1, 8 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa: Daymond John, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The View: Lena Denham. The Talk: Eric Braeden, Andrea Riseborough, Ellen K. Harry Connick: Kathryn Hahn, Steve Aoki, Katherine Berman, Sophie LaMontagne. Ellen DeGeneres: Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Gigi Hadid. Wendy Williams: Charlie Wilson, Brian Balthazar. The Real: Chris Sullivan, Remy Ma.

Late Talk

Stephen Colbert: Will Arnett, Pete Holmes, Paul Mercurio. Jimmy Kimmel: Jamie Dornan, Adam Scott, Tucker Beathard (rerun). Jimmy Fallon: Lena Dunham, Common, Kate Berlin, John Early. Seth Meyers: Dakota Johnson, Willie Geist, Paper Route, Kenny Aronoff (rerun). James Corden: Madonna, Lily Tomlin, Alison Sudol, Reggie Wats (rerun). Carson Daly: Glaser, Moving Units, Adam Conover (rerun).

 

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