Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, August 12, and Saturday, August 13. All times are Eastern.
The Great British Baking Show (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): As Kate Kulzick put it in her recent FOC, this enduringly watchable cooking competition series is built on “unwavering faith, this belief in the decency and inherent kindness of other people.” That, plus the fact that the 12 contestants are making cookies and bread and the like, might sound dull, but anyone who delves into this show knows there’s a bracing humanity and sweetness (or savoriness) to the proceedings that’s pretty irresistible. In tonight’s season finale, only three of the 12 amateur bakers (Tamal, Ian, and Nadiya) remain to face the exacting yet fair gaze of judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. No backstabbing, no viperish confessionals about the other contestants, just three people making some cakes. It’s riveting. And no spoilers from those who know the outcome (the show’s been broadcast in England already, where it’s known as the Great British Bake Off), but if fan favorite Nadiya doesn’t win, we here at What’s On Tonight are going to start throwing scones all over this place. (Actually we won’t—Paul and Mary would be so disappointed in us.)
Premieres and finales
BoJack Horseman (Netflix, Saturday): The third season comes to a close. Sure, you binged this entire shockingly intense and funny animated series the day it came out, but this is the end of Les Chappell’s equally outstanding reviews for the season. Recent episodes have ended on, as Les has said, a series of gut-punches, as BoJack systematically destroyed personal and professional relationships like, well, a runaway horse-person. Is there a real turning point in sight for the most self-destructive has-been horse actor the world has ever seen, or just another string of booze-soaked landmines he keeps leaving for himself to step on? Only Les knows. Unless you’ve watched it already, but, still, read Les’ reviews, which remain, as ever, outstanding.
The Get Down (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Director Baz Luhrmann never does anything small, like this sprawling, 12-episode series about the birth of hip-hop from the garbage-strewn streets of New York. A great-looking cast of young faces and old pros (Giancarlo Esposito, Jimmy Smits, Yolonda Ross) aims to anchor Luhrman’s signature stylistic excesses, while the period music is certain to be entertaining. (Mamoudou Athie co-stars as Grandmaster Flash, to give you an idea.) In his season preview, however, Joshua Alston is less than enthused, calling the show beautiful, but boring.
Outcast (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): With seemingly every other person in the small town of Rome, West Virginia being possessed at one time another in this reliably spooky supernatural series—and only this season finale left to go—it seems like the demons responsible are going to make their move tonight. Kyle Fowle’s been largely impressed by this adaptation of zombie master Robert Kirkman’s comic, and is prepared to see if Patrick Fugit’s perpetually beset demon-hunter Kyle is up to the job of preventing the “merger,” or the “Apocalypse,” or the “thing where the demons come and kill the hell out of everyone.” Fingers crossed.
NFL Preseason Football: Cowboys At Raiders (ESPN, 8 p.m., Saturday): This is technically an episode of Monday Night Football. It’s on on Saturday. Try not to overthink it.
The Olympics are on. You really can’t miss them.
Steven Universe (Cartoon Network, 7 p.m., Friday):
Review, “Quitting, Last Day, Irish,” (Hulu): With BoJack Horseman ending for the season and Andy Daly’s equally wrenching and hilarious Review coming back sometime soon (still TBD), it’s time to take a look back at the Review season-one finale. Unlike BoJack, Daly’s Forrest MacNeil has a specific reason why he deliberately sabotages everything good in his life. It’s his obsessive need (and his job) to experience and evaluate literally every conceivable experience, which sees Forrest, like BoJack, hurling away anything that gets too close or becomes too meaningful. Witness the “Quitting” segment here, where Forrest, after transforming the business and life of a kindly old coffee seller, finds himself unable to avoid his destiny, eventually cursing out his new boss for not being able to “manage a ham sandwich.” It begs the question—are you more of a monster if you can’t help it, or if it’s all part of the plan?