Today’s Top TV Picks – Saturday July 18

Today’s Top Picks



8 p.m. on HBO – Premiere

Director and co-screenwriter Kasi Lemmons’ earnest 2019 biopic about abolitionist Harriet Tubman is carried imposingly by Cynthia Erivo in the title role, a formidable performance that earned the British actress nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. Moreover, Erivo scored nods at the Oscars and Globes for co-writing the film’s featured song “Stand Up” with Joshuah Brian Campbell. Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Clarke Peters, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Jennifer Nettles and Janelle Monáe also star.



9:50 p.m. ET on FREEFORM

For its 50th animated feature, Disney puts clever twists on the familiar tale of “Rapunzel,” with Mandy Moore voicing the heroine whose lengthy hair makes her the captive of a villainess (voice of stage veteran Donna Murphy) wanting to harness its magical power. Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) speaks the words of a thief who invades the tower where Rapunzel is being held, then teams with her to escape. The score is by Disney veteran Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast”).


Hotel Paranormal

10 p.m. ET on TRAVEL

Supernatural events weave their influence over a hotel owner, compelling him to dig up some long-buried secrets, in the new episode “A Dark History.” In other segments, a chef is utterly terrorized by a spectral lady in red, and a little boy is threatened by a dark apparition while his family is staying at a luxury hotel. Dan Aykroyd is the host.


The Dictator

11 p.m. ET on COMEDY – Premiere

Sacha Baron Cohen is back at it — though his similarly satirical turns as Borat and Bruno, also done with director Larry Charles, had more bite — in this 2012 comedy about a tyrannical foreign leader who comes to America and finds himself swept up in a series of unexpected adventures. Anna Faris, John C. Reilly and Ben Kingsley also appear, but as with most of Baron Cohen’s screen projects, the picture clearly is designed mainly to showcase his brand of anarchy.

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