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

Pay a visit to The Good Lord Bird

Steve Zahn, Joshua Caleb Johnson
Steve Zahn, Joshua Caleb Johnson
Photo: William Gray/Showtime

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Sunday, October 11. All times are Eastern. 

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Top pick

The Good Lord Bird (Showtime, 9 p.m.): We’re duly impressed by Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird, the Ethan Hawke-led adaptation of James McBride’s novel of the same name. Likewise, we’re also very into Eric Thurm’s first recap of said series. Here’s a longer-than-usual excerpt, simply because we didn’t want to cut anything from it:

The first time you realize John Brown might be insane, he’s literally spitting mad. The famed abolitionist has stopped in for a haircut at a local saloon, somewhere in the battlefield of Bleeding Kansas—and the saloon’s owner, one Dutch Henry (played by TV’s David Morse) has not only made an aggressive defense of slavery, he’s taken the Lord’s name in vain. Brown, played by Ethan Hawke, turns on a dime, frothing and furious. He is a man possessed.

Frankly, it rules. The Good Lord Bird, based on James McBride’s 2013 novel, is largely a character study of Brown, a man willing to use any and all tools at his disposal in order to achieve his goal: the abolition of slavery in America. In this first episode alone, he blatantly lies after swearing on the bible, functionally kidnaps a child, and brutally decapitates a man who is at most tangentially related to the target of his wrath. And is he so wrong?

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Tonight, “A Wicked Plot,” the show’s second episode, airs, and we’re looking forward to watching and to Eric’s continuing coverage. He’s good!

Can you binge it? You can, because there’s only one episode so far, and it’s available online for free (and right below this paragraph.) After that, you’ll need Showtime.

Regular coverage

Lovecraft Country (HBO, 9 p.m.)
Fargo (FX, 10 p.m.)
The Walking Dead: World Beyond (AMC, 10:15 p.m.)
The Haunting Of Bly Manor (Netflix): binge coverage continues

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Wild cards

Fear The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m., sixth-season premiere): The other spin-off of The Walking Dead returns with an episode called “The End Is The Beginning” and presumably some zombies.

The Spanish Princess (Starz, 8 p.m., second-season premiere): Showrunners Emma Frost and Matthew Graham continue the story of Catherine Of Aragon in the latest Philippa Gregory adaptation to arrive on Starz.

Cheerleader Abduction (Lifetime, 8 p.m.): As with many of the best Lifetime movies, Cheerleader Abduction’s official synopsis has layers:

Olivia (Jerni Stewart, Burden Of Truth) has always been the golden girl with model good looks, a 4.0 GPA, and the captain spot on her high school cheerleading squad. When she finds out that she is pregnant, Olivia decides she has to hide her pregnancy at all costs to save her reputation and avoid ruining her mother Trish’s (Kristen Harris, Before Anything You Say) gubernatorial campaign. An underground adoption ring seems to offer the help that she needs, but when Olivia goes missing, Trish must drop everything to find her daughter and grandchild before it’s too late.

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That sounds like an engaging way to briefly disengage from the absolute madness that is our current existence. Thanks, Lifetime!

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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