You couldn’t ask for more different reboots than Showtime’s resurrection of its hit thriller Dexter and Lifetime’s redo of the inspirational 1980s series Highway to Heaven, now starring Jill Scott as the celestial do-gooder. A two-hour season premiere of Yellowstone reveals the fate of the Duttons, last seen under violent siege. Showtime’s Attica documentary relives the 1971 prison uprising.
Dexter: New Blood
SUNDAY: Everyone deserves a chance to make a good final impression. That’s the thinking behind this “event series” reboot of the thriller (2006-13) starring Michael C. Hall as the serial killer who only targets the worst of humanity. Last seen having faked his death and living as a lumberjack in the Pacific Northwest, Dexter Morgan emerges years later in a new locale (Iron Lake in upstate New York) with a new name—Jim Lindsay, an homage to Dexter book author Jeff Lindsay—and a new inner conscience in his late sister, Deb (Jennifer Carpenter, as irrepressibly profane as ever). He’s kept his inner demons at bay for years, but old habits die hard. And so do creeps who cross Dexter/Jim’s path. (See the full review.)
Highway to Heaven
SATURDAY: On an entirely different plane of existence, TV’s reboot factory conjures a new version of the popular Michael Landon series (1984-89) about an angel spreading goodwill and kindness on Earth to deserving souls. The first in what Lifetime hopes will be a series of movies, Heaven stars singer/actress Jill Scott (so wonderful in HBO’s short-lived The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) as Angela Stewart, an angel in disguise as a guidance counselor who takes an empathetic Colorado high-school principal (7th Heaven’s Barry Watson) into her confidence as she comes to the aid of a troubled student (Ben Daon) and his family.
SUNDAY: Fans have been waiting since August 2020 to learn the fate of the various Duttons—patriarch rancher John (Kevin Costner), earnest son Kayce (Luke Grimes) and caustic daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly)—who were all under fire and in mortal danger in the Season 3 cliffhanger. Once the blood and dust settles in the two-hour Season 4 opener, the family will face new threats from adversaries including ruthless CEO Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver) and dark horse Jamie’s (Wes Bentley) biological father, Garrett Randall (Will Patton).
SATURDAY: Stanley Nelson’s acclaimed documentary embeds viewers in the five-day 1971 prison uprising at the infamous upstate New York prison, during which 29 inmates and 10 hostages perished. Using never-seen footage and contemporary interviews with surviving prisoners, guards, witnesses and family members, Attica is the definitive account of a devastating event.
SUNDAY: Oscar winner Adrien Brody (most recently seen in Chapelwaite) guests in a powerful episode that finally brings Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his turncoat son Kendall (Jeremy Strong) back together—if only to convince skittish investor Josh Aaronson (Brody), who’s invited them to his private island, not to bail on the company with a shareholders’ meeting only days away. “I don’t like betting on blood feuds,” Josh warns the estranged father and son, who try to put the best face on what we know to be an irreparable breach. Although Kendall tap-dances as best he can: “The Beatles put out some of their best s—t when they were suing each other,” he argues. But what is it The Beatles once sang? Something about how “money can’t buy me love.” How prescient.
Some of the Holiday movies on tap this weekend:
- Next Stop: Christmas (Saturday, 8/7c, Hallmark Christmas): This week’s casting award goes to Next Stop for reuniting Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson in a time-travel fantasy. He’s the magical conductor of a train that whisks a woman (Lyndsy Fonseca) back 10 years to address a “What if?” dilemma. (Thompson plays her mom.)
- Debbie Macomber’s A Mrs. Miracle Christmas (Saturday, 10/9c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): Caroline Rhea takes over from the late Doris Roberts as heavenly helper Mrs. Merkel (aka Mrs. Miracle), who helps a widowed grandmother (Paula Shaw) and granddaughter (Empire’s Kaitlin Doubleday) move on from painful losses during the holiday.
- Father Christmas Is Back (Sunday, streaming on Netflix): Comedy legends Kelsey Grammer and John Cleese star in a farce about a dysfunctional family of feuding sisters who try to force holiday cheer when their long-lost father (Grammer) turns up at their ancestral British manor.
- A Christmas Treasure (Sunday, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel): American Idol’s Jordin Sparks stars as Lou, who opens a century-old time capsule that gets her second-guessing her move to New York to become a writer.
- Holiday Wars (9/8c, Food Network): Not a movie, but a return of the seasonal baking competition, kicking off with back-to-back episodes including a challenge to create sweet-treat animals to replace Santa’s reindeer.
Inside Weekend TV:
- Arcane (Saturday, streaming on Netflix): With episodes airing over three weeks, this animated fantasy series from the League of Legends universe depicts the rivalry of city-states Piltover and Zaun.
- Destination Fear (Saturday, 9/8c, Travel Channel and discovery+): Halloween is behind us, but the paranormal adventures of explorers Dakota Laden, Chelsea Laden, Tanner Wiseman and Alex Schroeder are far from over. First up as the series returns: a visit to a spooky abandoned orphanage in Montana.
- 911 Crisis Center (Saturday, 9/8c, Oxygen): A docuseries listens in as dispatchers at an Ohio emergency call center handle crises while forging workplace friendships.
- Saturday Night Live (Saturday, 11:30/10:30, 8:30/PT, NBC): Succession scene-stealer Kieran Culkin makes his debut as guest host—will Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) make another cameo appearance?—with recent The Voice “mega mentor” Ed Sheeran as third-time musical guest.
- The Simpsons (Sunday, 8/7, Fox): Another Succession star, Brian Cox, is among many guest voices—including Joe Mantegna, Timothy Olyphant, Cristin Milioti, Jessica Paré and Chris O’Dowd—in the first of a two-part sendup of “prestige” TV (from something called Simpflix) involving Homer, Ned and a sinister debt collector.
- NCIS: Los Angeles (Sunday, 9/8c, CBS): They’re usually the ones asking the questions, but after a mission to protect an undercover agent goes wrong, the team is interrogated individually to find out what happened.
- Condor (Sunday, 9/8c, Epix): The spy thriller’s second season opens with back-to-back episodes, with former CIA analyst Joe Turner (Max Irons) returning to Washington D.C. to search for a mole within the agency.
- Insecure (Sunday, 10/9c, HBO): The focus this week turns to Issa’s ex, Lawrence (Jay Ellis), and his messy life as he tries to juggle a new career opportunity in San Francisco with his obligations as a new dad.
- American Rust (Sunday, 10/9c, Showtime): In the downbeat drama’s season finale, Billy (Alex Neustaedter) is returned to the prison’s gen pop while the D.A. considers whether to drop the case.
- Four Seasons Total Documentary (Sunday, 10/9c, MSNBC): A whimsical documentary goes inside the Four Seasons Total Landscaping business in Philadelphia, the much-mocked site of a notorious press conference last November featuring Rudy Giuliani making hysterically baseless claims about election fraud.