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Binge on the royals with 10 hours of The Crown

Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown (Photo: Robert Viglasky/Netflix)
Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown (Photo: Robert Viglasky/Netflix)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60 (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Former SNL superstar Dana Carvey fun facts! 1. He made his movie debut in Halloween II. 2. This is his first stand-up special in eight years. 3. Carvey’s actually 61 at this point. 4. You suddenly feel even older than you did before you read that. 5. Carvey almost died on the operating table when his heart surgeon operated on the wrong artery. 6. That last one is less a “fun fact” and more a “fact,” or “bummer.” 7. Dennis Perkins is on hand to review.

The Ivory Game (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Yay! A documentary about how greedy, vain, stupid humans are hunting majestic creatures to extinction! Just an idea—stop doing that. Mike D’Angelo braced himself for the review.

One & Done (Showtime, 9 p.m., Friday): Sports documentary about Ben Simmons, the 19-year-old Aussie lad who went #1 in this year’s NBA draft. Naturally, since he had the misfortune of winding up on the snake-bit 76ers, he immediately broke his foot and is likely to miss the first three months of the season. Still, he got this cool movie out of it.

2016 Breeders’ Cup (NBC, 8 p.m., Saturday): Tune in for a few minutes of action where horses run really fast in hopes of getting small humans off their backs so they can not run any more and eat some nice hay.

Who Killed JonBenét? (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): Nothing says good TV like exhuming a murdered child’s corpse one more time for an exploitative television movie. Followed by Lifetime’s even more totally necessary and tasteful documentary, JonBenet’s Mother: Victim or Killer?

Zero Days (Showtime, 9 p.m., Saturday): Alex Gibney’s new documentary traces the development and disastrous escape of Stuxnet, a U.S. and Israel developed piece of malware designed to infect and disable Iran’s nuclear program. Strangely, shockingly, the self-replicating thingy busted out onto the internet and probably harvested all of your personal information at some point.

Oh, and it might bring the country’s infrastructure crumbling down in fiery shards

400 Days (Syfy, 9 p.m., Saturday): Syfy’s first foray into theatrical releases came and went from those same theaters without making too much of a ripple, sadly. But, hey, that’s what Syfy is for! So kick back and watch the TV premiere of this sci-fi (note the spelling) tale of a group of astronauts (including Brandon Routh, Tom Cavanagh, and Dane Cook for some reason) whose virtual reality interstellar voyage drives them perhaps predictably buggy. By the law of mathematical titles, this should be infinitely better than Zero Days, so strap in!

Premieres and finales

The Crown (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) can cross another square off his “document every British royal and political figure on film” Bingo card as he writes and creates this lavish 10-episode series about how tough it is to be a young couple in love when one of you is suddenly made queen of all England. Claire Foy plays Queen Elizabeth II from her pre-queen days as a young woman in love with a hunky young Prince Philip (Doctor Who’s Matt Smith) all the way through to the present day. Along the way, she has to deal with sexist Brits (including Phil) who feel that they shouldn’t have to bow down to a woman just because she’s their queen and stuff, her sister’s desire to marry in defiance of the Church Of England, and John Lithgow’s huffy, hammy Winston Churchill. Oh, plus Hitler. Reportedly, this is the most expensive Netflix series to date (yes, even more than BoJack Horseman), and includes the requisite stellar supporting cast of Brits (Jared Harris, Eileen Atkins, Stephen Dillane) playing arguably even more famous Brits. In her pre-air review, Gwen Ihnat wrote that The Crown rises above other recent attempts to bring the royal family to the screen, “adding a cinematic quality to a complex and intricate time for an intimate family.” Caroline Siede is digging in like a Wales coal miner for every-other-day episodic coverage starting on Friday at 3 p.m. (And don’t forget about Esther Zuckerman’s interview with Foy and Smith, while you’re at it.)

Thunderbirds Are Go (Amazon, 3:01 a.m., Friday): A second season of this updated kiddie adventure show proves that you can make sci-fi TV without jerky marionettes hobbling around on strings. If you say so, Amazon.

Regular coverage

The Vampire Diaries (CW, 8 p.m., Friday)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW, 9 p.m., Friday)

The Exorcist (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday)

Z Nation (Syfy, 9 p.m., Friday)

Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 & 11:30 p.m., Friday)

Star Wars Rebels (DXD, 8:30 p.m., Friday)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday)

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m., Saturday)

Streaming pick

Goodbye, My Friend,” 30 Rock (Netflix): We kid, John Lithgow, we kid. Your exquisite hamminess has made us happy and the world better for some four decades. And you’ve never made us laugh more than as yourself in this 30 Rock episode where you simply cannot find your way out of a building. You may keep passing that same Sbarro, buddy, but get yourself a slice. You’ve earned it.