This eight-episode docu-series, streaming on Netflix as of today, takes a magnifying glass to eight different hostage negotiations across the globe. I’ve only seen one episode, on the 1993 Lucasville prison riot in Ohio, and it’s a doozy, taking the viewer into a situation few civilians have seen. For ten days, beginning on Easter Sunday, 400 inmates held eight guards hostage, eventually killing one guard and five inmates. The filmmakers give us a 360-degree view of the siege, through interviews with former inmates who have since gotten out, others who are now held in a maximum-security prison, former guards, the former warden, members of the press, and the inmates’ lawyer. It’s a fascinating hour of television that bodes well for the rest of the series.
Wednesday: Rectify series finale
On Wednesday, Rectify wraps up its fourth and final season, which has so far been as tender and thought-provoking as the show’s fans have come to expect. The season has tracked protagonist Daniel Holden (Aden Young) as he attempts to build a life for himself outside of his small Georgia town, after DNA evidence triggers his release from prison, where he was held on death row for 19 years for the rape and murder of his high-school girlfriend. Daniel’s spent the season in a group home for ex-offenders in Nashville, while his family tries to move forward with their own lives back in Paulie, Georgia. Watch what’s sure to be an emotional finale this Wednesday on AMC.
Also on Wednesday is the premiere of Star, the new musical drama from Empire co-creator Lee Daniels. Daniels and co-creator Tom Donaghy, a playwright, move the action away from the more familiar New York scene to Atlanta, a music hub that doesn’t often get its due on TV (Donald Glover’s Atlanta, obviously, notwithstanding). Like Empire, the show is a thinly-veiled excuse for flashy musical numbers (it’ll also feature original songs). It’s about three young women who form a girl group; leading member Star (Jude Demorest) has just turned 18, is fresh off a string of foster homes, and is determined to make a success of herself. Queen Latifah, Benjamin Bratt, and Lenny Kravitz also co-star. Fox is airing the pilot right after the season finale of Empire; the season will continue in the new year.
Oh, yeah, baby. It’s back. Nashville had a rocky fourth season, and it was looking like the country music soap would be singing its final ballad when ABC announced its cancellation. But CMT swooped in and picked it up, and on Thursday the show returns for a fifth season of dramatic duets, rocky relationships, and feelings that just can’t be expressed in any other way but song. (Scarlett + Gunnar 4 lyfe.) Like Fox’s Star, CMT is airing a “sneak peek” of the two-hour season premiere, which will air in full on January 5. For now, we’ll have to make due with the first hour, which airs on CMT this Thursday. (You can also watch it the next day on Hulu.)