By Kevin McDonough
If market gyrations and virus outbreaks weren't enough to scare you, there's always the chance that the devices we've built for convenience, toil and gratification might turn on us. That's the theme of "Westworld" (9 p.m. …
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If market gyrations and virus outbreaks weren't enough to scare you, there's always the chance that the devices we've built for convenience, toil and gratification might turn on us. That's the theme of "Westworld" (9 p.m. Sunday, HBO, TV-MA), back for a very different-looking season three.
Far from the theme park, we're in a Los Angeles inspired by "Blade Runner" and "Minority Report." Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) has left her gingham behind to sport outfits and attitudes right out of "La Femme Nikita."
Not unlike the new series "Devs," now streaming its first three episodes on Hulu, "Westworld" confronts viewers with questions of character, fate, choice and predestination. This season of "Westworld" does not stint on violence and comic-book action. There's nothing like a gun-wielding vixen summoning fleets of driverless motorcycles to dispatch her enemies.
While the cosmic quandaries contemplated on "Devs" are much more interior, both series reflect on the manipulation of mass data to create a godlike brain, mysterious and opaque even to its manipulators and creator(s).
If "Westworld" offers a futuristic view of Los Angeles, "Devs" marinates the tech ghetto of the San Francisco Bay area in a decidedly hippie vibe. The shows are as distinctive as their soundtracks, and both addictive in their own cerebral fashion.
• Nothing succeeds like success. And nothing certifies success like sequels. Showtime had a hit on its hands last year with the documentary about Carole Montgomery's comedy tour "Funny Women of a Certain Age," so they've come back with "More Funny Women of a Certain Age," (10 p.m. Saturday, TV-MA). Look for standup musings from Montgomery, Caroline Rhea, Carol Leifer, Tammy Pescatelli, Thea Vidale and Julia Scotti.
"Funny" not only celebrates comedians who persevere, it taps into pop culture's appetite for touchstones from the pre-Y2K era.
A veteran of comedy clubs, Montgomery was a contestant on Nick at Nite's "The Search for the Funniest Mom in America." Rhea is probably best known as Hilda on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." A writer on "Saturday Night Live," Leifer has appeared on "Seinfeld," "The Larry Sanders Show" and the ABC sitcom "It's Like, You Know *", which ran from 1999 to 2000.
Thea Vidale had her own ABC sitcom, "Thea," back in 1993. Scotti had a memorable moment on "America's Got Talent" in 2016. She was previously known as the New Jersey performer Rick Scotti, who opened for musical acts including The Four Seasons, Lou Rawls and Chicago. Scotti has been described as "a cross between Sam Kinison and Mrs. Doubtfire." Who doesn't want to see, or hear, that?
• "Funny" isn't Saturday's only sequel. NBC takes "The Fate of the Furious" (8 p.m., TV-14) from 2017 out for a ride. HBO arrives with a newer model, the 2019 thriller "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" (8 p.m.). Those in search of a more broken-in vehicle can slip into the 2003 action movie "2 Fast 2 Furious" (7:30 p.m., WGN, TV-PG). They all run on Diesel.
• Somebody in Showtime's publicity department has connections! A scant six days before the return of the farcical financial-industry fantasy "Black Monday" (10 p.m. Sunday, TV-MA), Wall Street staged a Black Monday of its own.
While there was nothing funny about a real Dow drop of more than 2,000 points, "Black Monday" offers a nostalgic romp through 1980s excess. Having staged the 1987 crash, Maurice (Don Cheadle) is on the run, sporting long hair and a turbo-charged attitude. Look for a game cast including Andrew Rannells, Regina Hall and Paul Scheer in this thoroughly silly lowdown on high finance. Not all of the gags are wardrobe-driven; it only seems that way.
• A student uncovers her teacher's dark past in the 2018 shocker "Black Widow Killer" (8 p.m., Lifetime, TV-14).
• A fired TV host returns to her hometown only to encounter her ex-fiance in the 2020 romance "A Valentine's Match" (8 p.m., Hallmark, TV-G).
• Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (7 p.m., CBS): New York's approach to the coronavirus; Flint's water crisis; experiments in driverless truck technology.
• Ryan Seacrest hosts "American Idol" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
• The governor's edict surprises Jamie on "Outlander" (8 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).
• Phoenix hosts a Democratic debate (8 p.m., CNN) between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Given concerns about coronavirus, this exchange will take place without a studio audience.
• Chadwick Boseman stars in the 2018 adaptation of the Marvel comic "Black Panther" (8 p.m., TNT, TV-14).
• Things get sticky at Simon's engagement party on "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
• "World of Weapons" (9 p.m., Smithsonian) explores the history of devices used for mass destruction and their impact on society's development.
• A Washington earthquake reverberates in Kabul on "Homeland" (9 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA).
• A move against Lucy goes badly on "Good Girls" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
• A murder victim held vital secrets on "The Rookie" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• A party hunts for Matt on the season finale of "Avenue 5" (10:15 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).
Hollywood's Lolita obsession did not start with "Lolita." An officer (Ray Milland) befriends a woman (Ginger Rogers) passing herself off as a 12-year-old to save on train fare in the 1942 comedy "The Major and the Minor" (8 p.m. Sunday, TCM, TV-G). A variation on that theme, a concert pianist (June Alyson) passes herself off as a young teen to catch the eye of an impresario (Van Johnson) in "Too Young to Kiss" (10:30 p.m. Sunday, TCM, TV-G), from 1951.
The hunt for a terror cell on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) * Will Arnett hosts "Lego Masters" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14) * Two hours of "48 Hours" (9 p.m., CBS).
Miles makes a big deal of a bijou on "God Friended Me" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Young voices abound on "Little Big Shots" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-G) * Jealous of Bart's bond with Flanders, Homer mentors Nelson on "The Simpsons" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Cartwright sheds light on Alice's past on "Batwoman" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) * A smart gadget sparks suspicions on "Duncanville" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * On two helpings of "NCIS: New Orleans" (CBS, TV-14): a teenage snoop faces danger (9 p.m.); an imposter plots a prison break (10 p.m.) * The wearing of the green on "Bob's Burgers" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Dreamer becomes a target on "Supergirl" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) * Flowers for Algernon on "Family Guy" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
© 2020, United Feature Syndicate
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