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Worth Watching: ‘Atlanta’ Back in Atlanta, Football on Prime Video, ‘Vampire Academy’ and Classic Horror, ‘Good Fight’s Gold Standard

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After a season spent mostly overseas, FX’s Atlanta returns home for a fourth and final season. Prime Video kicks off its exclusive deal to stream Thursday Night Football games for the next 11 seasons. A supernatural YA series based on the Vampire Academy books launches on Peacock, which also begins streaming classics from the Universal Horror vaults. Alan Cumming reprises his Emmy-nominated role as power broker Eli Gold on The Good Fight.

Atlanta Season 4 Donald Glover

Atlanta

Season Premiere10/9c

After an uneven season abroad, it’s time for Earn (Donald Glover), Alfred/Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) and Van (Zazie Beetz) to get back to business on their home turf of Atlanta for a fourth and final season. Turns out things are just as surreal in the U.S. as they were in Europe, if the bizarre premiere episodes are any indication. Darius has difficulty returning an unwanted air fryer to a store being looted, while Earn and Van are trapped in a no-exit situation in a mall populated by too-familiar faces and a perplexed Paper Boi gets caught up in an unsettling odyssey associated with the passing of a fellow rapper. In the second episode, Earn goes down another weird rabbit hole while trying to sign a famous musician, and Paper Boi gets offbeat financial advice on how to make the most of his potentially fleeting fame. Though not for all tastes, Atlanta has a peculiar funky flavor all its own.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Thursday Night Football

7/6c

In another sign of the streaming times, Prime Video has locked in exclusive rights (excepting local feeds for competing teams) for the Thursday night NFL franchise over the next 11 years. With Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit in the booth, and Hall of Famer Tony Gonzales as analyst for pre-game, half-time and post-game coverage, the deal kicks in on Week 2 with the Los Angeles Chargers heading to Kansas City to take on the AFC West rival Chiefs, who are still smarting from their AFC Championship Game loss last year. The game kicks off at 8:15/7:15c.

Daniela Nieves as Lissa Dragomir in Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy

Series Premiere

The CW may have put a stake in its young-adult vampire shows, but the supernatural spirit lingers on as creators Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries) and Marguerite MacIntyre (The Originals) present their stubbornly generic take on the genre in a new adaptation of Richelle Mead’s book series (previously a 2014 movie). Daniela Nieves is Lissa Dragomir, a scion of privileged Moroi vampire royalty, and Sisi Stringer her devoted best friend and protector Rose Hathaway from lower-strata half-vampire Guardian stock. With monstrous Strigoi vampire demons lurking to pounce at any moment, the series hits the usual CW beats of action, lust and intrigue, though with a lot more F-bombs and almost no humor.

Frankenstein (1931)

As a horror fan from childhood, I’m much more excited about Peacock’s mega-drop of titles from parent studio Universal’s vault of vintage monster movies, starting with the 1931 James Whale Frankenstein classic that started it all. The original 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi as the creepy count is also in the lineup. Other titles include Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, 1932’s The Mummy and four Mummy sequels, 1935’s The Raven (pairing Karloff and Lugosi) and many more. Halloween has come early, and I’m not complaining.

Alan Cumming as Eli Gold and Sarah Steele as Marissa Gold in The Good Fight

The Good Fight

How I’ll miss this witty legal drama when this season ends. Till then, savor the performances of its exceptional cast, which this week includes the welcome return of Alan Cumming in his Emmy-nominated role as the well-connected Eli Gold. He’s back to help daughter Marissa (Sarah Steele) get her mojo back after her first time in legitimate court went badly, and he drops some welcome intel about the Florricks from the good old Good Wife days. Elsewhere, Liz (Audra McDonald) worries she’s being ambushed by a young documentary producer, and Diane (Christine Baranski) can’t stop giggling at the chaos outside their doors after her first mind-altering treatment with good doctor Lyle Bettencourt (John Slattery). I want some of what she’s having.

Inside Thursday TV:

  • Generation Gap (9/8c, ABC): Anderson Cooper drops by for the game show’s season finale, after Press Your Luck (8/7c) finishes its summer season as well.
  • Messyness (9/8c, MTV): A second season of the clip show reveling in people’s messy lives features a tribute to cast member Teddy Ray, who passed away last month.
  • Kate Berlant: Cinnamon in the Wind (streaming on Hulu): Seen recently in the Prime Video remake of A League of Their Own, the conceptual comedian stars in her first stand-up special, filmed in 2019 and directed by Bo Burnham (Inside), in which she performs alongside a mirror reflection of herself. Also new to Hulu from FX: Byron Bowers: Spiritual N***a, in which the comedian returns to his Atlanta hometown for a revealing set addressing mental health and the benefits of tripping on mushrooms.
  • Mike (streaming on Hulu): The final episodes of the Mike Tyson docudrama address the infamous 1997 incident when the boxer (played by Trevante Rhodes) bit off part of rival Evander Holyfield’s ear during a rematch.
  • Harley Quinn (streaming on HBO Max): The far-out animated adventures of Harley (Kaley Cuoco), Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) and the rest of the demented DC gang wrap for a third season, having recently been renewed for a fourth.
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