“Pose” (9 p.m. Sunday, FX, TV-MA) enters its third and final season. This series has been a triumph. It has spun gold from the least likely sources. Inspiring emotional performances from nonactors, it has presented stories of resilience, glamour and joy about society’s most marginalized outcasts.
Season 3 begins in 1994, a full four years after the debut of the 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning,” a look at the remarkable drag ball demimonde that inspired this series.
Not to give too much away, but this season covers a period when AIDS moved from a certain death sentence to a time when treatment appeared on the horizon. The seven-episode season offers illuminating backstories for some of the show’s main characters, including Pray Tell (Billy Porter) and Elektra (Dominique Jackson), the mother of them all.
You have to hand it to Ryan Murphy and his team for working an obsession with the O.J. Simpson coverage into the story. It’s a tip of the hat to his best work, “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” and that series’ exploration of how the trial was followed and perceived by audiences from different backgrounds.
Murphy’s “O.J.” sported a stellar cast, but “Pose” asks many of its untrained performers to deliver long speeches about family, community and duty. On shows such as “This Is Us” and “A Million Little Things,” this approach can seem unbearable, but here the very awkwardness and over-the-top delivery make it work.
“Pose” can seem like a parody of an uplifting series of old. If one character is drinking too much and needs to go to rehab, the gang will just resolve to raise the money by putting on a show. It’s like “The Brady Bunch” or one of those old Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies — if Mickey and Judy were ex-prostitutes and homeless, shoplifting, transexual teens thrown away by their families, played by actors who occasionally sound like the transgressive stars of old John Waters or Andy Warhol movies.
Their ability to find new families and new hope is what makes “Pose” so sentimental and even corny. Some might dismiss Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), a man posing as a woman and an ex-prostitute to boot. But in her mind, she’s as wholesome as any Doris Day character, and she’s not afraid to let you know. I’ll miss “Pose” when it’s over.
• Few films and filmmakers were as frustrated by lockdown as the 2020 thriller “Tenet” (7 p.m. Saturday, 6:25 p.m. Sunday, HBO) and its director, Christopher Nolan. Cable viewers finally can see the big-budget spy thriller. While it was among the first films to be released in actual theaters, it never recouped a cost that ballooned because of its cast of thousands of extras and countless vehicles. Shot in three different film formats — 35 mm, 70 mm and Imax technology — it clearly was intended for the big screen at a time when wide release was all but impossible.
“Tenet” won an Oscar on April 25 for best production design. It received generally positive reviews for offering viewers a real eyeful. Similar to Nolan’s breakthrough work “Memento,” this mystery plays games with time and demands that viewers pay attention.
• TCM adds an extra day to April to complete its A-to-Z celebration of Oscar-winning movies. The end (of the alphabet) is near, as the network unspools “The Wizard of Oz” (7 p.m. Saturday, TV-G) followed by “Wuthering Heights” (9 p.m., TV-PG), both from 1939. The list concludes with the 1969 drama “Z” (3:30 a.m., TV-14).
• “Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List” (7 p.m., NBC) honors individuals and organizations making a difference in their communities.
• An acclaimed obstetrician discovers one of her residents harbors a grudge in the 2021 shocker “Revenge Delivered” (7 p.m., Lifetime, TV-14).
• A candy genius sets out to become the chocolatier for Belgium’s royal family in the 2019 romance “Love, Romance & Chocolate” (8 p.m., Hallmark, TV-G).
• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): Interviews with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and author Michael Lewis.
• A serial killer preyed upon the forgotten on “The Equalizer” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
• Ryan Seacrest hosts “American Idol” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
• “Revealed: The Hunt for Bin Laden” (7 p.m., History, TV-14) looks at the 10-year effort to find the 9/11 mastermind.
• “The Story of Late Night” (8 p.m., CNN) recalls the birth of “The Tonight Show” in the 1950s and its hosts, Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. An oft-told tale that hardly counts as “news.”
• Dinner table diplomacy on “Atlantic Crossing” on “Masterpiece” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-14, check local listings).
• The gang loses patience with Beth on “Good Girls” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
• Nolan’s son’s collapse puts him in contact with his ex-wife on “The Rookie” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• “United Shades of America” (9 p.m., CNN) returns for a seventh season, examining the shifting image of American police, from local constable on the beat to highly militarized “warrior” police.
• An unlikely suspect emerges on “Mare of Easttown” (9:05 p.m., HBO, TV-MA). The best new series on television.
Boxing (6 p.m., Fox) ... On two helpings of “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS, r, TV-14): a therapist murdered (7 p.m.); a suspect emerges (8 p.m.) ... High heels with comfort on “Shark Tank” (7 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) ... “Dateline” (8 p.m., NBC, r) ... “The Masked Singer” (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG) ... Ryan Seacrest hosts “American Idol” (8 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) ... “48 Hours” (9 p.m., CBS, r) ... Vintage helpings of “Saturday Night Live” (9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
“Ellen’s Game of Games” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) .... Christmas nostalgia on “The Simpsons” (7 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG) ... Sarah goes missing on the Season 6 premiere of “D.C.’s Legends of Tomorrow” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... Time for curling on “The Great North” (7:30 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG) ... Deepfakes pose real threats on “NCIS: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... A less-than-perfect date on “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14) ... Guilty pleasures on “Bob’s Burgers” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... A risk of exposure on “Batwoman” (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... A college admissions scandal engulfs Meg on “Family Guy” (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... A Crescent City turf war looms on “NCIS: New Orleans” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).