A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Derek DelGaudio's In & Of Itself (streaming on Hulu): Not so much a magic show as a unique performance piece (which ran 552 performances off-Broadway) about identity and illusion, prize-winning magician Derek DelGuadio holds an audience mesmerized with his personal storytelling and ingenious tricks. More memorably, he brings many of them to tears. Just how that happens shouldn't be revealed, but director Frank Oz's intimate filmed production (capturing glimpses of multiple audiences and participants) may leave you wondering not just how the cherubic and deadpan DelGaudio achieves his results but what it says about those who fall under his spell.
Also on Hulu: the four-part thriller The Sister, starring the always engaging Russell Tovey (Being Human) as Nathan, a man with a terrible guilty secret: A decade ago, he helped cover up the accidental death of a woman he met at a New Year's Eve party, and he later married her sister. When another person in the know about the incident turns back up in Nathan’s life, things are about to go sideways, maybe even supernaturally, for the conflicted chap.
The Blacklist (8/7c, NBC): If there's a line to be crossed in this over-the-top thriller, Red (James Spader) found it when he shot the nefarious Katarina Rostova (Laila Robins) in front of her own daughter: his longtime protégé Liz (Megan Boone). Now these former tentative allies are at full-out war, with Liz seeking revenge on Red for what she sees as a betrayal, with the FBI task force as usual caught in the middle. There's not even a Blacklister to go after this week, because the story now is about Red being on Liz's own kill list.
The White Tiger (Streaming on Netflix): The streamer's major movie of the week is writer/director Ramin Bahrani's vivid film adaptation of Aravind Adiga's prize-winning novel about Balram (Adarsh Gourav), an ambitious young man from India's servant class who becomes a driver for a wealthy couple (Rajkummar Rao and Quantico's Priyanka Chopra Jonas). His proximity to privilege comes in handy when a bitter twist of fortune compels him to rebel against the system and become a master of his own fate.
Also on Netflix: second seasons of the animated adventure Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, in which the teen campers hope a group of eco-tourists will help them escape the dino-ravaged park, and Blown Away, the reality competition for expert glass-blowing artists… The live-action Fate: The Winx Saga could help fill the void left by the end of The Magicians, following the fortunes of five young fairies enrolled at the magical Alfea College in the Otherworld.
Blue Bloods (10/9c, CBS): Haven't we heard enough conspiracy theories lately? Eddie (Vanessa Ray) and her partner Rachel (Lauren Patten) are the latest victims, when their victory in stopping an active shooter is soured after a civilian accuses them of faking it as pawns in a government plot. In the Reagan household, Frank (Tom Selleck) goes snooping when he learns his father Henry (Len Cariou) has been making cash payments to an unknown source for years, while his grandson Sean (Andrew Terraciano) deals with vandalism at school when students trash his locker with anti-police sentiments.
Elsewhere on CBS, MacGyver (8/7c) contends with the pandemic's shelter-in-place order by quarantining Mac (Lucas Till) and his buds at home, where they spy a crime happening at their neighbor’s house. In his spare time, Mac composes a musical ditty in honor of Dr. Anthony Fauci… On Magnum P.I. (9/8c), an assignment to find a wealthy client's missing wife leads to tragedy.
Pixar Popcorn (streaming on Disney+): Two of my favorite things — popcorn and Pixar animation — combine in a new series of 10 animated short-short films featuring characters from such popular Pixar projects as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars, The Incredibles and Soul. Bet you can't stop at just one. Titles include Dancing with the Cars, Soul and the City, To Fitness and Beyond, Dory Finding and A Day in the Life of the Dead.
Also on Disney+: The fabulous WandaVision moves from the black-and-white world of '60s sitcoms to the candy-colored 1970s in its third episode, with a new theme song, groovy styling — and a rapidly growing miracle inside Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) that will change their madcap household forever.
Inside Friday TV: More from the streaming world: While Apple TV+ continues with weekly episodes of Dickinson and Servant, a new series premieres: Losing Alice, an eight-part Israeli psychosexual drama about Alice (Ayelet Zurer), a film director who becomes obsessed with a mysterious and manipulative young female screenwriter, Sophie (Lihi Kornowski)… If you can't wait until Sunday for the second special episode of Euphoria, this time focused on Jules (Hunter Schafer) at Christmastime, HBO Max begins streaming it at 9/8c 6/PT… Prepare to be wowed. PBS's Great Performances reflects on The Magic of Horowitz (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org) in a special revisiting the piano virtuoso's legendary 1986 Moscow concert… HBO's latest late-night curiosity, Painting with John (11/10c) isn't so much about painting as it is the eccentric and introspective musings of musician/actor/director-turned artist John Lurie, which opens with an episode titled "Bob Ross Was Wrong." Turns out not everyone's trees are happy little accidents.