"The Trip to Bountiful." There are few roles that allow women of a certain age to display the symphonic skill it takes a lifetime to acquire, and fewer still that exist outside the realm of high-drama one-woman shows. But there is Horton Foote's lovely and lyrical tale of Carrie Watts, a woman obstinately battling the restrictions of age and dependency to return to visit her hometown of Bountiful once more before she dies. Written in 1953 as a teleplay, "The Trip to Bountiful" originally starred Lillian Gish. In 1985, it became a feature film starring Geraldine Page, who won an Oscar. Last year, Cicely Tyson took Carrie to Broadway and won a Tony. This year, Tyson and some of her supporting Broadway cast bring the story back to television roots on Lifetime.
The story is a simple one. Living a comfortable if claustrophobic life with her loving but frustrated son Ludie (Blair Underwood) and his fractious wife, Jessie Me (Vanessa Williams), Carrie is fixated on returning to her beloved Bountiful, where she can feel the earth and sky surround her once more. Ludie, who has only recently returned to work after being laid up for two years, can't make the trip, and Jessie Mae certainly won't, so Carrie has taken to "running off." She never gets far, until this day. Her journey is marked with quiet illumination and a steady belief in the importance of home.
With her ageless eyes and effortless grace, Tyson is quietly but relentlessly hypnotic in all she does, be it the simple fumbling for correct change or a joyess rendition of "Blessed Assurance." Watch it, DVR it, watch it again. Then go to Hulu and watch Page's version and start all over again. Lifetime, Saturday, 9 p.m.
"Resurrection." If you missed the French series "The Returned" on Sundance last year, or if it was just too mood-soaked for you, check out the brighter, faster-paced American version of a world in which the dead begin returning to the ones they left.
Based on the novel "The Returned," the series opens gorgeously with a young boy (Landon Giminez) waking up in a rice paddy in China. The boy has no idea how he got there and with no cue but the sports team identified on his T-shirt, immigration officer Martin Bellamy ("House's" Omar Epps) traces him to the sylvan town of Arcadia, Mo., where he takes the boy, who says his name is Jacob, to the house he identifies as home. There an older couple, Henry (Kurtwood Smith) and Lucille Langston (Frances Fisher) react first in anger -- their son Jacob drowned 30 years ago -- then in shock; this Jacob appears in every way to be their son at the age he died.
And Jacob is not alone. One by one, the dead arrive, as dazed and apparently confused as the living to whom they return. Though hungry, the resurrected show no desire for brains or human flesh and their agenda is far from clear. Although the search for an answer drives some of the plot, much more is devoted to the mixed feelings the people of Arcadia have in the face of what seems to be a miracle. ABC, Sundays, 9 p.m.
"QI." Thanks to Acorn TV's streaming services, American audiences can finally (legally) see the best "game show" on television, a heady combination of wit, trivia and sheer silliness. The redoubtable Stephan Fry acts as host, posing a series of "Quite Interesting" questions (each season is based on a letter of the alphabet; the show is up to "K") to permanent sidekick Alan Davies and an ever-shifting panel of U.K. notables. Comedians (Bill Bailey! Jo Brand!), TV stars (David Tennant! Hugh Laurie!) and movie stars (Emma Thompson!). The result is hilarity, more than a little nifty cocktail party knowledge and, in a few priceless episodes, the sight of Fry collapsing into a fit of giggles. www.acorn.tv, anytime.
"True Detective." HBO's first anthology crime series comes to its first season close, and if we don't find out who, or what, the "yellow king" is, well, Ellen isn't the only one who can shut down Twitter. The flash-back, flash-forward tale of two homicide detectives who may or may not have solved a serial murder case years ago, which may or may not be repeating itself in a way that may or may not involve one of the detectives, has an awful lot to do in one hour. As in, it needs to explain what the previous seven have been about. Besides, of course, the brilliant performances of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, which are clearly the reasons HBO agreed to add to the already very overstocked "tortured detective" genre. As frustrating as it is admirable, as ponderous as it is poetic, "True Detective" really will prove itself in the final analysis. If the story doesn't wrap up with some really big and tricky reveal, it's going to take a beating on the blogs. HBO, Sunday, 9 p.m.
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