Friday TV: ‘The First’ Looks Good

FirstIf “The Handmaid’s Tale” was the first series that made many seriously consider Hulu subscriptions, Beau Willimon’s new sleek new series “The First” (Hulu, streaming) about a manned trip to Mars will surely be the second.

Set in 2030, when the space center has apparently moved to New Orleans, Sean Penn leads the cast as a cranky captain with a teenage daughter to raise, with the underrated Natascha McElhone as an icy leader of a private company taking the trip to the red planet in the near future (when Alexa is even more pervasive than it is now).

Full of high-minded ambition and the kind of uplifting narrative one used to find on “The West Wing,” “The First” (not to be confused with the impending big screen Ryan Gosling space movie “First Man”) looks like a series to savor.

“The Land of Steady Habits” (Netflix, streaming) is the motto for Connecticut, setting for this new film where Ben Mendelsohn plays a man from Westport with a midlife crisis, causing him to leave his wife, played by Edie Falco. It’s directed by Nicole Holofcener, whose previous works include “Enough Said” and “Please Give.”

I’m very excited about the new series “Forever” (Amazon, streaming) from Alan Yang ( “Master of None”) and Matt Hubbard (“30 Rock”) about a boring married couple who make a change in their life. Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph head a cast that also includes Catherine Keener, Noah Robbins and Kym Whitley.

“Norm Macdonald Has a Show” (Netflix, streaming) is a short form interview show by the comedian, interviewing celebrities in sessions that go seriously off the rails. Among his guests are David Spade, Jane Fonda, Lorne Michaels and David Letterman (who executive produced the show).

Also online, “BoJack Horseman” (Netflix streaming) begins its new season, with BoJack starring in a new TV show and adjusting.

Also with a new season and ann even cruder case is the spoof on true crime “American Vandal” (Netflix, streaming).

The art and life of New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is covered in a new “American Masters” (PBS, 9 p.m.).

Premiering tonight amid the other ghost-infested shows is “Haunted Live” (Travel, 10 p.m.) in which viewers participate in a ghost hunt via social media.

“Breaking Big” (PBS, 8:30 p.m., check local listings) features Carmen Yulín cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who would have choice words for Trump’s latest outrageous comment, if this were shot more recently.

A new comic gets an endorsement in the special “Amy Schumer Presents Sam Morril: Positive Influence” (Comedy Central, 11 p.m.).

It may be an odd day to do it, but here’s “Sunday’s Best: Celebrating 40 Years of CBS Sunday Morning” (CBS, 8 p.m.), hosted by Jane Pauley.

“Car Masters: Rust to Riches” (Netflix, streaming) is a new series that chronicles auto restorations made by the Gotham Garage.

“The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes” (Netflix, streaming) starts a new season as a kind of travelogue for interesting architecture.

John Kerry, Steve Ballmer, S.E. Cupp, Mark Leibovich and Richard Clarke are scheduled guests on a new “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO, 10 p.m.).

“Model Squad” (E!, 8 p.m.) has a season finale with a trip to Miami. Also headed for Miami: Guy Fieri and his show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (Food, 9 p.m.).

Zach goes “In Search Of” (History, 9 p.m.) Atlantis.

“Wynonna Earp” (Syfy, 9 p.m.) is forced to make an impossible choice.

Zeph and Pip grow closer on “Killjoys” (Syfy, 10 p.m.).

Billy Sorrells performs on “That’s Funny” (Starz, 10 p.m.).

Turner Classic Movies salutes Neil Simon, the playwright who died Aug. 26 at 91, with a trio of his movies, “The Odd Couple” (8 p.m.), “The Goodbye Girl” (10 p.m.) and “Lost in Yonkers” (midnight). But Simon had nothing to do with the mid-80s break dancing movies that follow, “Breakin’ “ (2:15 a.m.) and the sequel “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” (4 a.m.).

Baseball includes Mets at Boston (MLB, 7 p.m.).

College football has Georgia State at Memphis (ESPN, 7 p.m.).

NASCAR has its World of Westgate 200 (Fox Sports 1, 9 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest: Matthew McConaughey, Henry Golding. The View: Michael Moore. The Talk: Ashlee Simpson-Ross, Evan Ross. Steve Harvey: Kimberly Caldwell-Harvey, Vicki Gunvalson, Diann Valentine. Ellen DeGeneres: Colin Jost, Michael Che, Cher. Wendy Williams: Heather McDonald, Dr. Mike Dow, Judge Faith Jenkins. The Real: Michelle Williams (rerun).

Late Talk

Stephen Colbert: Anna Kendrick, Anne-Marie. Jimmy Fallon: Paul McCartney, Kendall Jenner (rerun). Seth Meyers: Chris Cuomo, Jerrod Carmichael, Ruston Kelly, Allison Miller, Pearl Aday (rerun). James Corden: Keanu Reeves, Peter Stormare, LANY (rerun).

 

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