It’s been a little over 15 years since The Sopranos found yet a new way to be groundbreaking–this time by upending the very concept of how to break up seasons and years. After waiting two years to launch its sixth season, they place another nearly-a-year gap between the first and second halves of that final collection. While many shows still come back around at the same time of year like clockwork, Robert Kirkman’s zombie opus, which itself is an ode to chaos, has never followed too much of a logic to its segmentation. Its eleventh season takes place in multiple parts over a two-year stretch. In any case, this has been a long walk (heh) to get to the fact its second part of its endrun (well, stroll) starts today. It’s kind of a metaphor for the show’s pacing. It’s a busy Sunday, and we’ve wasted this much of your time, so let’s get to the shows.
The Walking Dead [AMC, 9p]
We are at the beginning of the end of the cultural phenomenon that is this series. The second third of the 11th and final season starts tonight. Maggie and Negan still have to have their reckoning and Daryl is dealing with betrayal. Eugene and Princess are still dealing with their escape. Can Stephanie be trusted? So many questions and so little time for answers. We may still have Fear, but there is nothing like the original.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver [HBO, 11p]
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who goes into deep withdrawal when John’s deep dives are off the air for an extended time. Thankfully, the Adam Driver obsessed comic returns for his ninth season of finding humor in the existentially disturbing and vitality in the seemingly mundane. As the world gets more grim, the world needs the wit and wisdom of John Oliver more than ever–even more than a revival of Herman’s Head, Jeff Albertson.
Somebody Somewhere [HBO, 10:30p]
Last week everyone huddled together to shelter from the tornado and some deep truths were revealed. Sam and Tricia had some very sweet (and fraught) bonding moments and I really felt the depth and complexity of their sibling relationship. This week Tricia and Charity must figure out how to work together after Tricia caught Charity in a motel with Rick, Sam has a performance review that prompts her to think about the future, and the whole family visits Mary Jo in rehab for some group therapy.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s tome Leadership: In Turbulent Times, the three part docu-series simply titled Abraham Lincoln looks into the iconic 16th president as the complex man he is. The History Channel documentary’s vox pops include the 44th prez. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about it is that it’s history on the History Channel.
- It seems the History Channel might be going all-in on returning to covering the main word in the network’s name. Producer George Stephanopoulos and host Theo Wilson promise an immersive experience with I Was There which chooses a different significant moment from the past and dives deep into all the elements that fell into place so that history happened as it did.
- CNN does not want to miss this history-fest, bringing us a bio of one of the most complex and confounding people to ever ascend to the top job in the U.S. Lyndon Baines Johnson ensured that civil rights legislation made it through Congress, but also got us further embroiled in the Vietnam War and was known to, as a power play, interview people as he sat on the toilet. LBJ: Triumph & Tragedy would seem to show both sides of the story (in a rare time when it’s actually good for them to be bothsidesing things).
- Simon Cowell looks to the future–if that future were sometime in the mid-1990s–to bring us America’s Got Talent: Extreme. The NBC spin-off looks to be pretty much everything you might expect from the title.
- Harold Perrineau stars in a sci-fi series about a group of people drawn to a place outside of reality and time, unable to leave, as monsters from just beyond the treeline threaten to attack. It’s not hard to get lost in comparisons to a certain show, but no, it’s not a Herman’s Head remake. From debuts tonight on Epix.
- Netflix’s new Italian import explores similar ground as in Don’t Kill Me, after Mirta and her boyfriend overdose, she is the only one revived; however, she soon discovers she’s not entirely in reality.
- The 11th season of Investigation Discovery’s Evil Lives Here starts with a real life example of Room. That’s the one starring Brie Larson not Tommy Wiseau–the latter could never happen in real life. Where would Denny get the drugs for one thing?
- Lexi’s play comes out and you can imagine what that means. Or, I suppose you could if you are a fan of HBO’s Euphoria. Many are! Ditto The Righteous Gemstones where the Gemstone family is finally on the precipice of getting its act together and it only took the near assassination of patriarch Eli for it to happen.
- Taylor and Mafee ride again (with Dollar Bill riding along as a third wheel), Chuck is upset at ex-wife Wendy’s part in poaching his protege, as Scooter’s nephew joins the firm formerly known as Axe Capital. Yes, Billions is still ridiculous in the post-Damian Lewis era, but the Showtime show can still be one hell of a hate watch.
- There is no Hallmark side of the Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex tonight, but Up TV fills in as handsomely as its new flick’s leading man (or any other of these sort of flicks’s leading men). In The Song to My Heart, the poet daughter of a famous songwriter looks to be opening a bakery of some sort (there’s our busy businesswoman) meets an aspirant musician who has tons of melodies but no lyrics. Will they make pleasantly generic pop music while falling in love? You’ve seen this movie, haven’t you? And over on Lifetime, the stalker movie du jour is the chillingly titled Swimming Instructor Nightmare. You can pretty easily fill in any blanks (and the title does not really even allow for blanks to fill in).