Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bring on The Outsider

Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo
Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo
Photo: Bob Mahoney (HBO)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Sunday, January 12. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

The Outsider (HBO, 9 p.m and 10 p.m., series premiere): Another King adaptation arrives tonight, this time with The Night Of’s Richard Price behind the wheel—and friends, it is a doozy.

Here’s Randall Colburn in his pre-air review:

Crime might seem an odd fit for an author known primarily for his ghouls, but follow King on Twitter and you’ll see him stump as much for hard-boiled yarns as he does horror. The Outsider could be read as a culmination of sorts for his own dalliance with the genre, which began with pleasantly pulpy tales like 2005’s The Colorado Kid and 2013’s Joyland. King put his own stamp on the style by sprinkling the supernatural into his Mr. Mercedes trilogy, and continued to do so with The Outsider, a sprawling, affecting tome that paired the author’s mythic brand of terror with the procedural minutiae of crime fiction. Still, since no pulp fanatic is turning to King for their crime fix, it was an inspired choice for HBO to let storied author Richard Price oversee this adaptation. An acclaimed crime novelist and Hollywood veteran, Price turned to TV as a writer on The Wire before helming 2016’s The Night Of, a series that shares ample DNA with The Outsider, from its unforgiving milieu and offbeat characterizations to its focus on the far-reaching consequences of a criminal case.


The series, which stars Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, Jason Bateman, Yul Vazquez, Jeremy Bobb, Bill Camp, Mare Winningham, and Julianne Nicholson (quite a murderer’s row, that) begins tonight with two episodes; Allison Shoemaker will recap.

Regular coverage

Doctor Who (BBC America, 8 p.m.)
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 10 p.m.): special time

Wild card

Sanditon (PBS, 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., series premiere): Book nerds, assemble. Andrew Davies, one of the great writers of British TV and the person responsible for many of the best Jane Austen adaptations of all time (including the first two Bridget Jones films and the Colin Firth-starring Pride And Prejudice miniseries) has taken on the novelist’s last, unfinished work and, well, picked up where she left off.

It looks to be just what a young TV series ought to be—sensible, good-humored, lively; and we never saw such happy manners!—so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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