What To Watch: 06/14/2020

As a Summer Sunday beckons, we have tales of glory and deceit, of the evil that lurked over a half-century ago, and exposes of real life.

30 For 30: Long Gone Summer [ESPN]
Before we found out the darker truths behind it (well, to be fair, we all kinda knew), baseball fans enjoyed the magical summer that some argued saved the sport after the 1994 strike. It was clear that Roger Maris’ 37-years-standing season home run record was about to be demolished; the only question was whether it would be Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa who did it. Having just returned to my Dominican neighborhood after college, the contest had an extra thrill as every time Sosa added to his total, the new number would be painted in windows and on the back of cars (sometimes even with the owner’s consent). ESPN’s signature documentary series looks back at the 1998 season.

Helter Skelter: An American Myth [Epix]
Director Lesley Chilcott presents a six-part documentary examining the ignominious Manson Family. Chilcott promises interviews with former family members and journalists who were on the scene and in the courtroom. [This debut has been pushed back due to sensitivity to current conflicts]

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver [HBO, 11p]
John Oliver has been on fire the past few weeks. As America continues to slide into a fascist dictatorship, we need his anger and motivation more than ever. Tune in to hear his funny and scathing deconstructions of the world and go out and make a change.



  • Jason gave the first season of Marcella a hearty recommendation yet, when asked, he can’t really remember much about the British series except that he felt like a punching bag after watching it and that it had a pretty solid twist at the end — so like most Acorn programming. But this is on Netflix. It’s third season in five years.
  • Speaking of Acorn/MHz/Britbox fodder, there are a couple Masterpieces on PBS tonight — one new, one quite familiar. Grantchester and all its priestly crime-solving goodness returns for a fifth go-around. Beecham House stars Tom Bateman (of DaVinci’s Demons fame) as a mysterious and swaggering gadfly Englishman in India, but fair warning: it supposedly has quite the cliffhanger which will never be resolved as a second series was not in the cards.
  • And let’s close this all up by getting swept up in the LHV (Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex). We’ll start with the reminder that we’re not limiting the delightful timesuck to only Lifetime and Hallmark, but anything in its alluringly melodramatic style: as part of its June Grooms series, Up Network is offering Sisters of the Groom where Jason recruits his neighbor Sarah as a ringer date for his bro’s wedding, and you can surely guess where that’s leading. Meanwhile, on Hallmark, we’ve got Timeless Love, Werner Herzog’s latest documentary, about the elusive tree people of the West Virginia hills — either that or it’s a romantic mystery about a comely lass who awakens from a coma and doubts what people are telling her about her love life.

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