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

My Brilliant Friend runs headlong into its teen years

Gaia Girace, Margherita Mazzucco
Gaia Girace, Margherita Mazzucco
Photo: Eduardo Castaldo (HBO)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Sunday, November 25. All times are Eastern. 

Top pick

My Brilliant Friend (HBO, 9 p.m.): My Brilliant Friend is real damn good. Perhaps unsurprising, given the source material, but not all adaptations are created equal. While remaining determinedly faithful to Elena Ferrante’s source material, director Saverio Costanzo somehow creates something utterly cinematic, as his textured, thoughtful worldbuilding makes Naples feel reachable, immediate. One could be forgiven for feeling the need to wash the dust from their shoes or the sweat from their face after spending an hour in the company of Lila and Lenú, and part of that success must be credited to Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti, the two young actors bringing those unforgettable girls to life.


And now they’re done. Thanks, kids. Bring on the teens.

Lest you fear that the appearance of Gaia Girace and Margherita Mazzucco will mark a drop in the show’s potency and power, let us reassure you, the slightly older Lenú and Lila are every bit as compelling as their predecessors. If you liked the original version, you’ll also dig the remix. Allison Shoemaker has blown the dust off her copy of Little Women and stands ready to be dazzled by both brilliant friends.

Regular coverage

Doctor Who (BBC America, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.)
Supergirl (The CW, 8 p.m.)
Outlander (Starz, 8 p.m.)
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.)
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.)
Charmed (The CW, 9 p.m.)
Escape At Dannemora (Showtime, 10 p.m.)


Wild card

Great Performances, “Tony Bennett & Diana Krall: Love Is Here To Stay” (PBS, 8 p.m.): Here’s the deal. Tony Bennett and Diana Krall doing a concert together that’s made available for free though the magic of public television would be a high priority regardless of circumstances. They are, each of them, the kind of singer one is tempted to describe by saying they have a voice like honey poured into whiskey dotted with nectar laced with smoke that’s then poured over velvet that’s draped over a sleeping cat floating atop a vast ocean made of cream and flecked with starlight, or some similarly flowery yet kinda warranted bullshit. Tony Bennett! Diana Krall! Worth seeing, no matter when they should appear.


Yet this particular gig gets a bump because the pair are paying tribute to the Gershwins, meaning a whole catalog from some of America’s finest songwriters is at their fingertips. And here’s the best bit: None, or almost none, of those tunes is a holiday song! Maybe you hear them at the holidays sometimes, because there’s a temptation to call any cheery jazz standard a holiday song, but we can guarantee you won’t hear “Sleigh Ride” even once. You’re welcome. Enjoy.

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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