Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Sunday, May 16. All times are Eastern.
The Nevers (HBO, 9 p.m., finale for part one of season one): Tonight, Roxana Hadadi will bid farewell to the Orphans of The Nevers, at least for now—while part two has not yet been scheduled, the six-episode run that concludes this evening is merely the first half the show’s first season. But while HBO may not be calling this a proper season finale, it sure seems like it’s got big finale energy. We’ve got an origin story for Amalia incoming! And—just a guess—we’re also likely to hear more about this big revelation, as described in Roxana’s recap of last Sunday’s installment (contains plot details, obviously):
A ton happens in “Hanged,” the penultimate episode of this first half of the first season (so many qualifiers) of The Nevers, and we’ll get to a lot of it. We will! But first, let’s talk about those final seconds as Effie Boyle—newish journalist character, dressed aggressively in shades of beige, irritating to Inspector Mundi but pretty much an accepted face at the police station after weeks of hanging around—takes out some fake teeth, removes the padding in her corset, pinches off the end of her nose, and then shakes out her hair to reveal herself as Maladie all along. Voila!
Well, okay then! Watch for Roxana’s recap this evening, which will post at 1am to give West Coast viewers a chance to finish the sorta-finale.
Run The World (Starz, 8:31 p.m., series premiere): “Sometimes you look up, and life is different… adapt and reinvention, that’s the game.” This is the advice that Erika Alexander’s character Barb gives her mentee Ella (Andrea Bordeaux) in Run The World, a new Starz comedy from Leigh Davenport. Twenty-eight years after Living Single first debuted, Davenport and executive producer Yvette Lee Bowser (who created the 1993-1998 Fox sitcom) introduce a brand new group of Black women to TV audiences, this time with a Harlem setting and 21st-century problems.
In addition to following in the wake of Bowser’s series, Run The World comes more than 20 years after the debuts of Sex And The City and Mara Brock Akil’s Girlfriends. Although it arrives at a time when shows like BET+’s Bigger and HBO’s Insecure are thriving on TV, Run The World has a different texture and tone than its contemporaries. While many series across the networks and streaming service speak to twentysomethings (save for Bigger), Run The World zeros in on the issues that many face in the third decade of life.” Read the rest of Aramide Tinubu’s pre-air review.
Death And Nightingales (Starz, 10 p.m., miniseries premiere): Based on Eugene McCabe’s classic Irish novel, this 1885-set historical drama aired in 2018 in Ireland and the U.K. but makes its U.S. debut tonight. The hour-long premiere offers stunning scenery and builds the premise ever so slowly, but the performances attempt to make the pace worth it. Ann Skelly stars as Beth Winters, who wants to escape her overbearing stepfather, Billy (Matthew Rhys) now that she’s 23. Billy is a Protestant landowner, and the reasons for his strained relationship with Beth unravel a darker side of his personality. Beth finds unexpected help in their tenant, Liam Ward (Jamie Dornan), who is “the most breathtaking creature” Beth has ever laid eyes on. Liam has his own reasons to seek vengeance against Billy. The love story and coming-of-age drama integrates the country’s politics and history. The show does attempt to cram too much into its three episodes, but the longer runtime gives the actors an opportunity to flesh out their performances. Rhys believably transforms from an alcoholic loner at the start of episode one into someone with a possibly sinister secret; Skelly is grounded and wonderful, especially in their scenes together. Created, written, and directed by Allan Cubitt, Death And Nightingales is intriguing even with its long-winded dialogue. (The final two episodes will air on the next two Sundays, but at 9 p.m. rather than 10 p.m.) [Saloni Gajjar]
DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow (The CW, 8 p.m.)
City On A Hill (Showtime, 9 p.m.): drop-in coverage of season-two finale
Mare Of Easttown (HBO, 10 p.m.)
Pose (FX, 10 p.m.): Heads up that tonight’s Pose will run long, ending at 11:09 p.m.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC, 9 p.m., season-two finale): NBC hasn’t yet announced a renewal for this musical gem (would someone tell the Sheinhardt Wig Company to get on that, please?) but if your anxiety about its uncertain future makes you disinclined to watch tonight’s finale, can we gently suggest that you (ahem, ahem) “Shake It Off”?
2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards (MTV and various networks, 9 p.m.): This year, the popcorn-eating spaceman who produces this shindig decided to split it into two parts. Tonight’s ceremony honors scripted stuff, and will air on (deep breath) VH1, TV Land, Pop!, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, MTV2, Logo, Comedy Central, CMT, BET, and BET Her, as well as MTV; tomorrow’s centers on unscripted programming.
Couples Therapy (Showtime, 10 p.m., second-season finale): “Showtime’s Couples Therapy is reality TV, but it refreshingly doesn’t fall under the traditional purview of the genre. The series is often quite intense, so it’s initially hard to imagine deriving any relaxation out of watching various couples air out intimate and serious issues. But the show also doesn’t dial up the volume of these issues to construct a falsified reality; instead, it invites audiences to be a fly on the wall inside the stylish orange-and-brown set designed as Dr. Orna Guralnik’s office. Unlike most reality series, there aren’t any talking heads with cast members expressing what usually is manufactured fiendish disdain, dramatic sobs, or overly enthusiastic joy for the sake of the camera—which is a different yet valid type of fun for viewers. Couples Therapy doesn’t take away from that concept, but it elevates the genre by remaining—surprise!—authentic.” Read more of Saloni Gajjar’s thoughts on this appealing series.