We're living in a world where time has no meaning. March lasted three years. April was gone in the blink of an eye. And now May is closing out its stay in 2020 even though I swear it just started. Luckily, there's still some great television for us to watch. This week's picks include an ESPN 30 for 30doc about a once beloved, now disgraced athlete, the final return of a long-running ABC comic book series, and the second season of Hulu's Golden Globe-winning Ramy.
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Sunday at 9/8c on ESPN
ESPN goes from one GOAT to another GOAT* with Lance, a four-hour profile of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong that serves as a follow-up to the immensely popular The Last Dance, which profiled Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s. But unlike The Last Dance, the show's subject doesn't have a finger in the production, giving Lance the slight edge in authenticity rather than the mostly fawning profile of Jordan. And it comes down a lot harder. Armstrong participates willingly and gives director Marina Zenovich access to his life and thoughts, answering questions openly about why he chose to dope en route to winning multiple Tour de France titles, and responding to former teammates' claims of his irascible and arrogant behavior (which is the best part of what I saw). But it also profiles a young man who grew up with a stern stepfather and a competitor who used his inhuman drive to beat stage-4 cancer that gave him zero chance to survive. Like The Last Dance, it's really about the sacrifice of what it takes to be great -- are you an asshole because you're great, or are you great because you're an asshole? -- but unlike The Last Dance, it's a little more even-handed. (*He cheated.) -Tim Surette
Limited series premiere Monday at 9/8 on Nat Geo
Once you get over the odd title -- it's named after the book it's based on, which itself is a reference to the slurs used against indentured servants brought over from Europe -- you'll find Barkskins to be a well-acted, well-produced saga about French colonies in the spectacular untamed wilderness of 1600s Canada. It's got the potential for epic drama with French traders battling both rival English settlers and natives for highly valued land, the smarmy types and their nefarious plots to gain territory, the women brought over to become wives for landowners, and a pair of indentured servants fighting for survival. It's gritty and violent, the sets and attention to detail are upper-tier, and Fargo's David Thewlis barely leaves enough scenery for everyone else in the potent cast, which includes Marcia Gay Harden, Matthew Lillard, and Aneurin Barnard. -Tim Surette
Tuesday on Netflix
Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby unexpectedly unleashed a major hit in her previous stand-up special, the award-winning Nanette, which transformed the notion of stand-up comedy into part confession, part TED talk about acceptance. She returns to the stage more popular than ever -- even she's surprised -- but continues to mold our expectations of performance into something greater than it was. Ironically, we'd expect nothing less from one of the most exciting comedians working today. -Tim Surette
Tuesday at 9/8c on The CW
Legends of Tomorrowhas been one of the best and -- I say this with love -- most bizarre shows on TV for a while now, and the fan-favorite show is giving us what it sure to become an instant classic this week, as the gang find themselves trapped inside various TV shows, allowing the CW series to spoof everything from Star Trek to Downton Abbey. To say that it's a must-see episode is an understatement.
Final season premieres Wednesday at 10/9c on ABC
Over the course of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s long run, the team has been everywhere and seemingly done everything, but they've never been here before: the 1930s. Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the gang are thrust back in time in the show's final season premiere, and with the Zephyr set to jump through time at any moment, there's a ticking clock on figuring out what happened. And oh, yeah, if they fail, it could have big implications for the past, present, and future. No biggie! The plus side to all of this, of course, is that at some point this season, Enver Gjokaj will be reprising his role as Daniel Sousa from the dearly beloved but canceled Marvel's Agent Carter.
Season 2 premieres Friday on Hulu
Hulu's comedy of faith Ramy -- created by and starring Golden Globe winner Ramy Youssef -- returns for its second season, with an assist from Mahershala Ali, returning to a small-screen supporting role between winning two Oscars and rebooting Blade because he's a cool guy with good taste. Ramy, hitting spiritual bottom as the result of the empty, sex-driven life he was leading, decides to re-dedicate himself to Islam, and turns to Sheikh Ali for help. Also guest-starring this season is controversial former porn star Mia Khalifa, who isn't a Muslim but played one in her videos. She'll be playing herself, in a fantasy episode titled "Mia Khalifa." -Liam Mathews
Series premieres Friday on Apple TV+
Apple TV+ hasn't had the best track record since launching last year, but Central Park, a new animated musical comedy from Bob's Burgers' Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith, plus Josh Gad, is a joyful addition to the service's programming slate. The show features an all-star voice cast that includes Kristen Bell, Daveed Diggs, Stanley Tucci, Tituss Burgess, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kathryn Hahn, and follows a family who live in Central Park and thus want to protect it from an heiress who wants to turn it into condos. While Bob's Burgers became a deeply funny TV show supplemented with musical numbers, Central Park is kind of the opposite, a musical series supplemented with some great jokes.
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