Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, July 8, and Saturday, July 9. All times are Eastern.
Outlander (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): Time-traveling lovers Claire and Jamie keep getting thwarted in their attempts to change Scottish history. Their most well-laid plans and sexiest glances serving only to, it seems, assert that nothing they do will fix the present, or ensure wrongs righted. In this 90-minute season two finale, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is holding out hope—if anyone could change the world, it’s Caitriona Balfe’s toweringly formidable Claire Randall. But, even with extra time to work, Claire’s got her hands full, what with the Battle Of Culloden looming and the evil Black Jack Randall being Black Jack Randall all over the place. Look for some sweeping, wrenching, epic drama in what’s been a great second season, and some equally wrenching and lovely prose from Kayla, who will also being saying goodbye to her ongoing Outlander coverage after the finale. (Time-traveling paradoxes be damned—if anyone has a spare time machine and wants to go back and get more people to read Kayla’s consistently excellent reviews of this show, we’d all really appreciate it.) And dab your inevitable tears on some of the show’s authentically stunning costumes as seen in Marah Eakin’s Expert Witness interview with Outlander costume designer Terry Dresbach, while you’re at it.
The Great British Baking Show (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): This cooking competition show really is everything it says on the tin, as the quintessentially British recipe of sweetness and tartness continues, in this sixth season, to result in a uniquely satisfying experience. This week—biscuits! Wherein the remaining 11 amateur bakers attempt to whip up all manner of cookies. Or crackers. They’re British—it could be either. At any rate, it’s a kinder, gentler, and much tastier type of reality series where the lack of backstabbing, badmouthing, and manipulation, weirdly, makes you intensely invested in who wins. That being said, you’ll still have nightmares about getting this look—disappointed, but respectful—from steely series judge Paul Hollywood.
Blue: A Secret Life (Lifetime Movie Network, 10 p.m., Friday): LMN picked up this suspiciously star-studded web drama series and is running it in a single, two-hour block. In it, Julia Stiles plays a single mom trying to hide her secret life as an escort from her young son. Other surprisingly big names involved include the likes of Eric Stoltz, Sarah Paulson, Kathleen Quinlan, and Carla Gallo, and the whole thing was created by In Treatment veterans Rodrigo Garcia and Karen Graci. No offense to typical Lifetime fare, but this sounds a bit more interesting than usual.
Deadly Trust (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): In contrast, this Lifetime movie is about a con woman trying to drive a rich old lady crazy so her kids can inherit her money, and has a title that could sub in for literally any other Lifetime movie ever made.
Premieres and finales
The Amber Rose Show (VH1, 11 p.m., Friday): Series premiere of a new talk show from entrepreneur, actress, model, and stellar Amy Schumer video co-star Rose, where she’s scheduled to chat with celebrity guests “about various topics related to pop culture, motherhood, and relationships.”
U.S. Olympic Trials
Track And Field (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday)
Women’s Gymnastics (NBC, 9 p.m., Friday)
Outcast (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday)
Culloden (YouTube): To prepare yourself for the big Outlander finale, where Claire seeks to alter the outcome of the Jacobite rebellion against the British, why not check out this acclaimed low-budget film from 1964? Employing a handful of actors and some ingenious camerawork, director Peter Watkins (Edvard Munch, Punishment Park) films the lead-up to the climactic Battle of Culloden, which basically spelled the end of the Highland clan system, as a series of closeup interviews, as if news crews were running around the battlefield in 1745. It’s effective, even if the constant wail of bagpipes and the interview conceit feels as if its about to break out into a Monty Python skit at times. And don’t worry about spoiling Outlander. Again, if anyone can change the outcome of a major military battle, it’s Claire Randall.