Friday TV: Sacha Baron Cohen, Seriously

The SpyThe last time Sacha Baron Cohen played an Israeli former agent of Mossad, it was the weird, disguised Erran Morad on his devilish prank show “Who is America?” who got Dick Cheney to autograph a waterboard. Now the comic insurrectionist is serious, playing a real-life former Mossad agent, Eli Cohen, who went undercover in the 60s to infiltrate anti-Israeli groups in Syria. His story unfolds in the new six-episode limited series “The Spy” (Netflix, streaming) which also features someone familiar with double-agent spying, Noah Emmerich, once of “The Americans.” The series is from Gideon Raff of “Homeland” and “The Tyrant.”

What would seem mere exploitation of married people’s problems, the new documentary series “Couples Therapy” (Showtime, 8 p.m.) is actually a fascinating insight into the cracks of four separate couples who share them with an infinitely wise therapist, Dr. Orna Guralnik, who herself has to go to her own therapist to talk about how she wields her power. Usually the couples at a therapist setup has been the basis for some strong fictional series – HBO’s “In Treatment” and “Tell Me You Love Me,” for example, or this year’s “State of the Union” on Sundance. But to see it happen between actual couples turns out to be much more engrossing.

From Tony Hale of “Veep” and “Arrested Development” comes a new animated series adaptation of the children’s book “Archibald’s Next Big Thing” (Netflix, streaming) about a wayward chicken. Hale also provides his voice.

A second season comes for “Elite” (Netflix, streaming), the Spanish import about a murder at an exclusive private school that just admitted three working class kids after an earthquake destroyed their school.

Many will be happy about the return of “The Great British Baking Show” (Netflix, streaming) as well.

A third season starts for the music documentary series “Hip Hop Evolution” (Netflix, streaming) and for the comic travel series “Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father” (Netflix, streaming).

The new “Good Talk with Anthony Jeselnik” (Comedy Central, 11 p.m.) serves as a kind of video version of a podcast, in which the comedian talks to his friends and fellow comics

The Chamber Music Society performs in iconic settings in Greece, belying the series title “Live from Lincoln Center” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

The horror anthology series “Into the Dark” (Hulu, streaming) concludes its season with the creepy, coming-of-age “Pure,” about young women who attend a purity retreat with their fathers each summer. Jahkara Smith, McKaley Miller and Scott Porter star.

Lester Holt gets locked up to learn about Angola prison in the special “Life Inside” (NBC, 10 p.m.).

“Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO, 10 p.m.) welcomes Christina Hoff Sommers, Joe Walsh, John Delaney, Maria Teresa Kumar and Matt Welch.

A season finale comes too soon for “A Black Lady Sketch Show” (HBO, 11 p.m.).

On “Killjoys” (Syfy, 10 p.m.), Dutch and Zeph take a road trip to a dangerous cult.

The NFL season started this week and tonight Turner Classic Movies begins shining a month-long Friday night light on football, starting with “The Freshman” (8 p.m.), “Horse Feathers” (9:30 p.m.), “Hold That Line” (11 p.m.) and “Too Many Girls” (12:30 a.m.). They are followed by “Private Property” (2:15 a.m.) and “The Shooting” (3:45 p.m.). Earlier, the day is mostly about insects in the horror movies “Genocide” (11 a.m.), “The Cosmic Monster” (12:30 p.m.), “The Wasp Woman” (1:45 p.m.), “Highly Dangerous” (3 p.m.), “Them!” (4:30 p.m.) and, of course, “The Fly” (6:15 p.m.). But the day begins with “The Cartoons of Winsor McCay” (7 a.m.) and “Forever, Darling” (9 a.m.).

College football includes Wake Forest at Rice (CBS Sports, 8 p.m.) and Marshall at Boise State (ESPN2, 9 p.m.).

Baseball has Yankees at Boston (MLB, 7 p.m.).

The U.S. Open (ESPN2, noon) has the men’s doubles final and the men’s singles semifinals on ESPN at 4 p.m.

Soccer has Germany vs. Netherlands (ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.) in a UEFA Euro qualifier and Mexico vs. U.S. (Fox Sports 1, 9 p.m.) in an international friendly.

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest: Orlando Bloom, Rachael Ray. The View: Pamela Anderson. The Talk: Chelsea Handler, Melissa Claire Egan, Mark Grossman, Michelle Stafford (rerun). Ellen DeGeneres: Taye Diggs, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai, Adrienne Houghton, Brockhampton, Stephen “Twitch” Boss. Wendy Williams: Michael Yo, Ashlee Glazer (rerun).

Late Talk

Stephen Colbert: Chris Wallace, Jamie Bell (rerun). Jimmy Kimmel: Nick Offerman, Keke Palmer, Brockhampton. Jimmy Fallon: Ryan Seacrest, Robin Thede, Derren Brown. Seth Meyers: Beto O’Rourke, Retta, Hunter Schafer (rerun). James Corden: Patricia Arquette, Michael Peña, the Bird and the Bee with Dave Grohl (rerun).

 

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