Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Sunday, March 3. All times are Eastern.
Leaving Neverland — Part 1 (HBO, 8 p.m.): When it premiered at Sundance in January, director Dan Reed’s four-hour documentary (airing on HBO in two parts, with the second half arriving tomorrow) came equipped with its own mental health counselors, there to offer aid to anyone who left the screening in deep distress. That’s not a service that even HBO’s horde of CGI dragon money can make practical for those watching at home. The best you can do is go in well-informed about what lies ahead. From Danette Chavez’s pre-air review:
In various interviews, the director has said that while he did speak to prosecutors and detectives in an effort to understand Robson’s and Safechuck’s stories, he decided that the “really extraordinary thing” to emerge from all that research was how entire families can be seduced by fame and power. As the director told Vice, he never had the chance to interview Jackson and had little familiarity with his music, but after he started filming Robson and Safechuck in February 2017, he grew fascinated with “the picture [Robson and Safechuck] draw of the grooming sexual predator. And because that story involves Michael Jackson it will have an incredible reach. And that will bring to light some really important facts about how child sexual abuse does happen. It’s not how people imagine.”
The Michael Jackson estate is currently suing HBO for airing Reed’s film; Reed has already addressed the possibility of a followup. There’s not much else to add. We encourage you to read Danette Chavez’s pre-air review in full—besides being a damn good piece of criticism, it also gives a solid sense of how the film operates and what the experience of viewing it might be like. That’s good information to have before grabbing your remote.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.) / Victoria (PBS, 9 p.m., third-season finale): NeYes, The Simpsons is in our regular coverage, so including it as a wild card pick is cheating. But there’s absolutely no way of gracefully transitioning from that particular top pick to this vital piece of information: Guillermo del Toro is guesting on The Simpsons tonight! There are a few things in the world it is straight-up impossible to hate, and as it happens, “Guillermo del Toro does The Simpsons” is one of them. Still, we’d hate for you to feel robbed of an honest WC, so we’ll once again doff our caps to Victoria, which tonight ends a solid third season with a 90-minute finale and the Great Exhibition. A guy who makes masterpieces and an episode of Masterpiece, that’s how we’ll justify this. It’s masterpiece night in the wild card section.