Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Mom, could you sign this permission slip so James Franco can sleep with danger?

"Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?" (Photo: Trae Patton/Lifetime)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): James Franco’s career plan of treating his celebrity as an art school performance piece continues as he reaches back to remake the most infamously Lifetime Lifetime TV movie ever. And while original “danger” Ivan Sergei and original “mother may I?” Tori Spelling have—somehow—been lured back to their old stalking grounds, they’re not the dewy-eyed stars this time. Spelling’s the mother who presumably (and futilely) denies the daughter permission to sleep with danger. No word on Sergei’s less-dangerous role. Nope, with Franco writing this sort-of remake, there’s the added wrinkle of lesbian vampires (the danger), Smashing Pumpkin James Iha composing the original musical score, and Franco himself, lurking around in some perhaps-dangerous capacity. Lifetime, meanwhile, as it did with the Will Ferrell/Kristen Wiig ultra-deadpan spoof A Deadly Adoption, grins bravely and pretends to have a sense of humor about famous people goofing about in its well-appointed TV movie living room. Our own Katie Rife is on reviewer duties, and says that the Franco-stein monster that emerges from this unholy union is something like “a new genre.” Read her review to find out if that’s a good thing or not.


The Convenient Groom (Hallmark, 9 p.m., Saturday): After a bride’s rich fiancé dumps her at the altar, her lifelong best friend steps in. Safe to say, in the Hallmark-Lifetime TV movie arms race, Hallmark is conceding this weekend’s hill. Step your game up, Hallmark. Maybe see what Shia LaBeouf’s up to.

30 For 30: O.J.: Made In America (ESPN, 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday): Parts 4 and 5 conclude this stunningly crafted documentary series about a subject we all thought was completely exhausted by now. In his pre-air review of the whole documentary miniseries, Noel Murray said:

This 30 For 30 is its own animal: a five-part, eight-hour stunner, of which less than half is about the Hall Of Fame running back’s murder trial. The rest is spent on who O.J. Simpson really is.

After setting up just who O.J. Simpson really was, director Ezra Edelman delves deep into the infamous murder trial here, providing fresh insight into all the forces that collided in that courtroom (and, be warned, including previously unseen, horrifyingly graphic crime scene photos).

Premieres and finales

And beige is the new orange—deal with it

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): In the fourth season premiere of this (comedy/drama/it is what it is, just watch it already) prison series, things are getting all overcrowded up in Litchfield Penitentiary. Which naturally means all the inmates coming together, setting aside their differences, and working out some sort of chore wheel. Oh, wait—it means the opposite of that, at least at first, as there are prank wars, race wars, and some lady snoring so loud that Kate Mulgrew’s Red contemplates serious bodily harm. Myles McNutt is back on OITNB review duty, meaning two things: Fantastic, insightful reviews, and an eagle-eyed analysis of whether or not those cups of awful prison coffee in fact have any liquid in them. Now that’s a jailable offense, people. Anchor the damned handle. (Joshua Alston, in his pre-air review, calls this season both brutal and brilliant, so look for the pressure cooker to boil over pretty quickly.)

Decker: Unclassified (Adult Swim, 12 a.m., Saturday) and Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule (Adult Swim, 12:15 a.m., Saturday): Adult Swim thought your life was getting a little too complacent and at one with normality, so here come the returns of these two series from the house that Tim & Eric built. Decker is Tim Heidecker’s extremely Tim Heidecker-esque spy spoof, with his black-clad CIA spook doing all he can to save America, despite a comically nonexistent budget and the weak-willed non-support of the “pussy-ass” president of the United States. (Played, for extra brain-bending, by Joe Estevez, Martin Sheen’s brother. For the show’s core audience of late-night stoners, the idea that Decker works at The West Wing is just the added touch of surreality to put Decker over the top.) And then there’s the return of John C. Reilly’s consumer health advocate Dr. Steve Brule, who… well, just look at him.

If this doesn’t make you want to watch, then now you know that.

Dan Caffrey pulled double-Adult Swim duty to examine how Reilly and Heidecker’s ”nightmare comedy” of “warped masculinity” is proving more and more unsettlingly funny in a world going increasingly mad.


Regular coverage

Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 and 11:30 p.m., Friday)

Outlander (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday)

Outcast (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday)

Streaming pick

Threat Level Midnight,” The Office (Amazon): Agent Michael Scarn and Decker should hang out and save America sometime. And argue about who has a smaller budget.


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