Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3. All times are Eastern.
House Of Cards (Netflix, Friday): Just in time for midterm elections (perhaps to remind you to please vote), your favorite Machiavellian-American political drama is back—and this time, it’s Claire’s turn. After the sexual assault allegations against Kevin Spacey surfaced, Netflix, rather than cancelling the show altogether, instead completely cut his character from the final season... which, honestly, wasn’t much of a stretch, as Frank had already handed his presidency over to his badass wife and VP (Robin Wright).
The sixth and final season shows Claire stepping in for her husband after he (not unlike the real-life actor who played him) is forced to step aside in the wake of scandal. (Unlike Spacey, Frank followed that resignation by dying.) Trailers for the season show Claire fighting to assert her power in a workplace—and country—that is determined to see her fail. But this is Claire’s house now, and she’s making the rules. “The reign of the middle-aged white man is over,” she declares triumphantly, suggesting that the show will make a reactionary bid for relevance and self-awareness in the era of Trump and #MeToo, as well as sort of manufactured catharsis: After these last few hellish years, in the so-called Year of the Woman, it might prove gratifying to see a woman in the Oval Office (albeit a fictional one), and especially one as formidable as Claire. Scott Von Doviak will have the review.
Homecoming (Amazon Video, Friday): In her first series-regular role, Julia Roberts stars as Heidi, a caseworker helping military veterans transition to civilian life at a facility called Homecoming. And in a four-year flash forward, Roberts stars as waitress named Heidi, who lives with her mother (Sissy Spacek), slings hash at a dockside greasy spoon, and has trouble remembering just exactly what it was she did at Homecoming. Alongside a Department of Defense auditor (Shea Whigham) and the viewer, Heidi pieces together that puzzling past, which has something to do with her former patient, Walter Cruz (the much buzzed-about Stephan James of Race and Barry Jenkins’ upcoming If Beale Street Could Talk). Executive produced and directed by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, Homecoming pairs arresting visuals to a story that originated as audio, and gives Roberts a multifaceted role worthy of her talents. Alex McLevy recaps.
The Other Side Of The Wind (Netflix, Friday): It’s just another day in the wacky, surreal, oft-Orwellian simulation that is 2018, wherein we can read the words, “Netflix presents: An Orson Welles Picture” and accept them with little question.
The 40-years-in-the-making The Other Side Of The Wind began shooting in the 1970s but, due to financial troubles in the years leading up to Welles’ death, was left to sit in a vault, unedited and unfinished. Conceived as an ambitious critique of Hollywood in mockumentary format, the film “completely coincidentally” presents the portrait of an aging Hollywood director (John Huston) struggling to get financial backing for his final, unfinished, and particularly ambitious final film called—you guessed it!—The Other Side Of The Wind (Welles swore before his death that the film was not autobiographical, but instead inspired by the life and death of Ernest Hemingway). Now, Netflix has finished what Welles started, having bought the rights from the film’s co-creator Oja Kodar, rehired many members of its original post-production team, and edited the footage according to Welles’ initial wishes. The network’s efforts earned Welles a posthumous Venice Film Festival Award this year and, more importantly, gave us one more item in the filmography of the great director. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky has some thoughts on the late director’s life and work, and also reviewed the film.