Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

HBO checks in with some Coastal Elites

Coastal Elites
Clockwise from top left: Kaitlyn Dever, Issa Rae, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson, Bette Midler
Photo: HBO

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, September 11, and Saturday, September 12. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

Coastal Elites (HBO, Saturday, 8 p.m., premiere): “Both the pandemic and the presidency of Donald Trump are national traumas destined to damage and transform America for a long, long time. Unprecedented disruption has a way of doing that, and America’s arts are due for an inevitable flood of books, TV shows, plays, films, and everything else that will work through the rise of thuggish authoritarianism, a deadly virus, and the resulting isolation and fear. HBO’s Coastal Elites tests those dramatically queasy waters by delivering essentially five one-person shows about people—articulately vocal fans of neither scourge ravaging the nation—who vent some pent-up anger. A nakedly theatrical conceit from playwright and screenwriter Paul Rudnick, originally intended for a pre-pandemic run at New York’s Public Theater, the special is a deliberately claustrophobic, remotely shot provocation, a singularly topical art form that sequestered and frustrated viewers may or may not find cathartic enough to sit through.” Read the rest of Dennis Perkins’ review of this well-acted special. 

Regular coverage

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue,  (VH1, Friday, 8 p.m.)
The Boys (HBO Max, Friday, 3:01 a.m.)

Programming note

Raised By Wolves (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m., Thursdays): HBO Max has sped up its Wolves timetable (the pack is moving faster? Surely there’s an solid wolf joke to be made here), and will now be dropping two episodes every Thursday until it reaches the finale at month’s end. Recapper Arielle Bernstein covered episode four yesterday; look for her coverage of the show’s fifth episode later today. She’ll follow that schedule weekly.


Wild cards

Time for another wild card lightning round.

The Duchess (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan created and stars in this series about a mom in London who decides she wants another kid by her ex, because “if one of my kids is going to have a shit dad, both of my kids are getting a shit dad.”

Great Performances: Romeo And Juliet (PBS, Friday, 9 p.m.): Sergei Prokofiev’s remarkable score comes to life in a new way in this film, which sees the company of The Royal Ballet dancing throughout Budapest.

Room 104 (HBO, Friday, 11 p.m.): Tonight’s chapter of Jay and Mark Duplass’ anthology series features both sitcom legend Linda Lavin (of Alice fame) and Gary Cole as a game-show host, and both of those things are just undeniably good.

Animal Babies (BBC America, Saturday, 8 p.m., U.S. premiere): This title gets right to the point, and so will we: It’s a documentary about baby animals. The premiere’s called “Safari Babies.” Enjoy. (The trailer for this one is worth the click. Trust us.)


Deranged Granny (Lifetime, Saturday, 8 p.m.): And like Animal Babies, this one says it right on the tin. Wendie Malick stars in this thriller (which was apparently called Grandma Dearest originally) as, you might guess, a grandmother of dubious sanity.


Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!