Hulu’s Pen15, the acclaimed comedy about adolescence (starring grown-ups), goes on vacation for an animated episode. Another holiday on Hulu goes awry for travelers when they encounter a manic John Cena in Vacation Friends. Netflix presents a gender-reversed remake of the ’90s rom-com classic She’s All That. Disney’s 101 Dalmatians prequel Cruella is now available for streaming without a surcharge. Young Disney stars reinterpret princess songs from the Disney animated universe. A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
What did you do on your summer vacation? In a painfully amusing special animated version of the acclaimed comedy, eternally insecure 13-year-olds Anna and Maya (voiced by the adult co-creators/stars Anna Konkle, who wrote the episode, and Maya Erskine) travel with Anna’s indulgent dad to a Florida hotel for vacation. If you know Anna and Maya, you can bet fun in the sun will be supplanted by crippling anxiety and awkwardness — and for Anna, a mortifying object lesson in underage drinking. It’s funny enough to make you cry.
Another memorable vacation sparks this raucous comedy movie, starring John Cena and Search Party’s Meredith Hagner as the lives of the party at a Mexico holiday resort who help the more restrained Lil Rel Howery and Insecure’s Yvonne Orji learn how to loosen up. But when these rowdy “vacation friends” arrive uninvited at their new acquaintances’ wedding, here comes the slapstick trouble.
In a gender-reversed remake of the iconic 1999 rom-com She’s All That, TikTok sensation Addison Rae is Padgett, Big Girl on Campus whose high-school social status implodes when her pop-star boyfriend cheats on her. Padgett’s idea of damage control is to turn scruffy and anti-social outcast Cameron (Cobra Kai’s Tanner Buchanan) into the next prom king. No way they’ll fall for each other, right?
The 101 Dalmatians villainess’ origin story is colorfully, and fashionably, brought to life in a comic melodrama now available for streaming without the pricey premium surcharge. Oscar-winner Emma Stone (La La Land) is Estella, an ambitious would-be designer and vagabond whose tutelage under the imperious and devious Baroness von Hellman (Oscar-winner Emma Thompson) sets the stage for her transformation into the wicked creature of many a pup’s nightmares.
In case you weren’t aware that this was World Princess Week, Disney complies with a musical salute to many of the princesses within the company’s animated kingdom. Txunamy Ortiz, at 12 years old a member of social-media royalty, narrates the half-hour special, featuring the debut of Brandy (a former TV Cinderella) in a music video for “Starting Now,” the anthem for Disney’s yearlong “Ultimate Princess Celebration.” Performers include Disney stars Dara Reneé, Frankie Rodriguez, Julia Lester, Izabela Rose, Ruth Righi, and Sophia Hammons, bringing pop, R&B and rock variations to such standards as “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2 and “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid.
Inside Friday TV:
- Secret Celebrity Renovation (8/7c, CBS): Pro Football Hall of Famer (and Dancing with the Stars champion) Emmitt Smith goes home to Pensacola, Florida to help renovate his childhood home as a surprise for his father, Emmitt Smith II.
- Burden of Truth (8/7c, The CW): As if the demands of being new parents weren’t enough for lawyers Joanna (Kristin Kreuk) and Billy (Peter Mooney), the couple is blindsided when their injunction against the mine is overturned.
- Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2021 (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Enjoy this blissful yearly retreat to the glorious Schönbrunn Palace, where guest conductor Daniel Harding leads the orchestra and pianist Igor Levit through masterworks of Beethoven, Strauss waltzes, and even Bernstein’s West Side Story.
- Cesar Millan: Better Human Better Dog (9/8c, National Geographic Channel): The canine behaviorist is busy in back-to-back episodes, helping tame a 10-year-old girl’s chaotic emotional support puppy and then curing a couple’s oversensitive Australian cattle dog, whose separation anxiety renders his human parents hostages in their own home.
- Dateline NBC (10/9c, NBC): Correspondent Andrea Canning interviews Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the first Native American in a presidential cabinet, for a report on the rise of missing and murdered indigenous women and how jurisdictional bureaucracy can cause these cases to fall between the cracks.
- See (streaming on Apple TV+): The dystopian fantasy, set in a primitive future world where humans have lost their sight, adds former pro wrestler Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) to the cast for the second season. He plays Edo Voss, brother, and nemesis to series star Jason Momoa’s Baba Voss.
- Ted Lasso (streaming on Apple TV+): On a happier note, the AFC Richmond team is on a winning streak, thanks to the “Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) effect,” especially once the new addition to the coaching staff figures out how best to use former bad-boy player Jamie (Phil Dunster). The great Harriet Walter (Succession) appears as Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) mother, arriving at an inopportune moment. And here’s Ted (Jason Sudeikis) greeting Dr. Sharon (Sarah Niles), the team’s enigmatic sports psychologist: “You are more mysterious than David Blaine reading a Sue Grafton novel at Area 51.” Keep ’em coming, Ted.
- Titletown High (streaming on Netflix): For some real-life sports drama, an eight-part docuseries embeds viewers in the winning high-school football program of the Wildcats in Valdosta, Georgia.