Epic battle scenes galvanize this week’s installment of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The witches of Hocus Pocus are back for a sequel. Discovery’s Gold Rush begins its 13th season of prospecting. A primetime The Price Is Right features an audience of twins, with Young Sheldon’s TV twins Iain Armitage and Raegan Revord appearing as guest models. Apple’s Central Park presents one of the final voice performances of the late Ed Asner.
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If it’s action you’ve been thirsting for, this episode of the sprawling fantasy epic delivers. As an orc army led by the demonic Adar (Joseph Mawle) descends upon the villagers in the Southlands, with elf warrior Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and loyal Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) holding down the fort-make that tower — reinforcements are sailing from Númenor. Will the cavalry fronted by Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) get there in time, and who will end up with that accursed Hilt?
Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are resurrected once more as the campy 17th-century Sanderson witch sisters, returning for the inevitable sequel to the 1993 cult comedy (and cable perennial). This time, they’re brought back by three high-school teens, including the daughter of Salem’s mayor (Veep’s Tony Hale), wreaking comic and musical havoc. The above-par supporting cast includes another Veep alum, Sam Richardson, as a magic-shop owner and Ted Lasso’s sublime Hannah Waddingham as another witch from Salem’s past.
The show that spawned roughly 3,000 Alaska-set reality-TV knockoffs is back for its 13th season, and the economic stakes couldn’t be higher for miners new and old. Veteran Tony Beets risks his kids’ inheritance to mine the White Channel, the Klondike’s oldest gold deposit. Relative newbie and former Green Beret Fred Lewis could lose his house if his California Creek claim doesn’t pan out. Too bad it’s under 30 feet of ice.
On Young Sheldon, Iain Armitage and Raegan Revord only play twins. As guest models for a special prime-time edition of the classic game show, they welcome an audience full of actual twins to play for double the payload of prizes, including a tech room inspired by the fictional Sheldon Cooper (Armitage) and a trip to Texas, where Young Sheldon is set. Drew Carey, who does not have a twin, is the host.
An especially fun and tuneful episode of the animated comedy is dedicated “in memory of Ed Asner,” with the late, great TV star returning as the odious Ambrose, sarcastic nemesis and brother to the equally wretched hotel mogul Bitsy Brandenham (Stanley Tucci). He arrives for a fraught dinner at the fancy Brandenham Hotel restaurant where Abby (Kristen Bell) is now working, having invited the Tillermans as guests at the worst possible time. On the menu: a $20,000 Cote de Boeuf that goes missing. Where’s the beef?
Also on the Stream:
- Ramy (streaming on Hulu): The Peabody-winning comedy returns with all 10 episodes of a third season of soul-searching, as Egyptian-American millennial Ramy (Ramy Youssef) abandons his spiritual journey — but for how long? — as he dedicates himself to his uncle’s diamond business.
- The Amber Ruffin Show (streaming on Peacock): The Late Night with Seth Meyers alum returns for a third season of comedy and conversation, with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton as her first guests. Also aiming for topical laughs on Peacock: Ladykiller, a stand-up set from Jena Friedman pushing the hot-button issues facing women today.
- The Greatest Beer Run Ever (steaming on Apple TV+): Zac Efron stars in Peter Farrelly’s fact-based dramedy as a good-hearted New Yorker who heads to wartime Vietnam in 1967 to deliver cold brews to his buddies who are serving in combat. He’ll soon learn war is more than aw, heck.
- Entergalactic (streaming on Netflix): Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi and black-ish’s Kenya Barris are executive producers of an animated musical love story about an artist (Mescudi) pursuing love and a career in New York. The impressive voice cast includes Jessica Williams, Timothée Chalamet, Vanessa Hudgens, Christopher Abbott, Keith David, Arturo Castro, Macaulay Culkin, Laura Harrier, and Ty Dolla $ign. Also new to Netflix: a third season of the Floor Is Lava game show and the docuseries Human Playground from Idris Elba, exploring the evolution and revealing power of play and how our games reveal who we are.
- Queer for Fear: The History of Queer Horror (streaming on Shudder): Examining the horror genre in literature and film from a decidedly different perspective, this four-part (over four Fridays) docuseries from Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller opens with the iconic novels Frankenstein, Dracula and The Picture of Dorian Gray and moves on to early vampire movies Nosferatu and Dracula, the latter arriving during Hollywood’s “pansy craze.”
Inside Friday TV:
- The Young and the Restless (CBS, check local listings): CBS proclaims today as the start of the signature soap opera’s milestone 50th season, inaugurating a new logo. As the season progresses (including the broadcast anniversary on March 26), expect returning fan favorites.
- Shock Doc—The Curse of Robert the Doll (8/7c, Travel, streaming on discovery+): Go behind the museum glass to learn the history, dating back to 1905, of a reportedly haunted doll currently on display in Key West. Followed at 10/9c by the premiere of Eli Roth Presents: My Possessed Pet, telling the opposite of cuddly animal stories, starting with the saga of a black stallion infected by an ancient evil.
- True Crime Watch: A timely edition of ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) looks into the bizarre case of Sherri Papini, sentenced last week to 18 months in prison for perpetrating a kidnapping hoax and mail fraud. On Dateline NBC (9/8), Keith Morrison reports on the seven-year investigation into the murder of a mother in Denver.
- 35th Hispanic Heritage Awards (9/8c, PBS): Grammy-winning band Los Lobos and Oscar winner Ariana DeBose are among the recipients at the annual ceremony, hosted by Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Encanto’s Stephanie Beatriz.