I don’t care how good “The Last Dance” is, I have no interest in sitting through 10 hours of it. And I figure a lot of people in Utah will agree with me.
This 10-part series, which premieres Sunday at 7 p.m. on ESPN, follows Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls through the 1997-98 season. ESPN is promoting it as the story of the Bulls’ final championship season in their 1990s dynasty. (They three-peated twice in that decade — ’91, ’92, ’93 and ’96, ’97, ’98.)
But to me, it’s the story of how, for the second year in a row, the Utah Jazz lost to the Bulls in the NBA Finals. It’s been 22 years, but I’m not ready to spend 10 hours reliving that.
Although the parts about rampant drug abuse among Chicago players and Jordan golfing and gambling with drug dealers don’t exactly make the Bulls look good, and I sort of like that.
A lot of TV programming is being delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic; “The Last Dance” has been moved up. It was supposed to air in June, during the NBA Finals, but there aren’t going to be any NBA Finals in June and there are no actual sports for ESPN to telecast … so we’re getting it now.
(Two one-hour episodes will air back-to-back on Sunday, with two more episodes airing on the next four Sundays.)
“#blackAF” (Friday, streaming on Netflix) • This new series is an amped-up carbon copy of ABC’s “black-ish,” but you can’t really call it a rip-off. After all, you can’t plagiarize yourself. Here’s the deal:
• Kenya Barris created and produced “black-ish,” which is based on his actual life. He’s married to a mixed-race woman (played by Rashida Jones in “#blackAF”) and has six children, on whom the four (now five) kids on “black-ish” were based.
• In August 2018, Barris signed a deal (reportedly worth $100 million) to produce shows for Netflix. Reportedly, he was unhappy with ABC Productions and the network over their objections to some of his “black-ish” episodes — including one that revolved around NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, which never aired.
On Netflix, broadcast network restrictions on content don’t apply. And you can drop a lot of F-bombs and use the N-word.
• In “blackAF,” Barris plays a heightened version of himself. Just like Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) plays a fictional version of Barris in “black-ish.”
• And in what might be one of the most meta moments in television history, the real Barris plays the fictional Barris watching Dre Johnson — another fictional version of Barris — in an episode of “black-ish.”
Basically, Barris’ first Netflix show is “black-ish” with a different cast. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it is kind of weird.
And Barris is not an actor. So Anderson is better at playing him than Barris is at playing himself. Which is weirder still.
“Crikey! It’s the Irwins: Bindi’s Wedding” (Saturday, 9 p.m., Animal Planet) • I’m not sure how desperate you have to be for something to watch to tune in to this … but here it is.
Can you believe it’s been almost 14 years since Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray? If you haven’t been keeping up with his family — his widow, Terri; 16-year-old son, Robert; and 21-year-old daughter, Bindi — they’re starring in "Crikey! It’s the Irwins,” which focuses on their work on the Australia Zoo (and features archival footage of Steve).
On March 25, Bindi married Chandler Powell at the zoo — and we’re promised drama because “only weeks before their wedding day, the coronavirus pandemic forced the couple to make difficult decisions and drastic changes to the wedding of their dreams, opting for a beautiful private ceremony with only family in attendance.”
Well, family and television cameras.