Beau Willimon, who created the American version of "House of Cards," blasts into space with his latest, "The First." Well, blasts is a bit misleading. The characters take their own sweet time departing for Mars with red tape being a bigger obstacle than Klingons. It helps that the mission is being led by a somber Sean Penn who, in his first TV series, reminds us how effective he can be without blowing a gasket.
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The big 4-0
"Sunday's Best: Celebrating 40 Years of CBS Sunday Morning" pays tribute to the leisurely paced series with a jam-packed agenda that includes a poem from Ted Koppel, a new interview with Robert Redford and plenty of clips from four decades of thoughtful features.
7 p.m. Friday, WCCO, Ch. 4
The sunshine boy
Neil Simon's passing last month was overshadowed by the losses of John McCain and Aretha Franklin. But there's no denying he was one of the most successful comedy writers of the past century, even if much of his work lacked great depth. Leave the analysis for another day; simply sit back and enjoy three joke-driven classics: "The Odd Couple," "The Goodbye Girl" and "Lost in Yonkers."
7 p.m. Friday, TCM
New York state of mind
The "American Masters" focus on visual artists continues with "Basquiat: Rage to Riches," an in-depth portrait of the late New York painter who was treated with the kind of reverence usually reserved for rock stars. Director David Shulman shows us that Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and died like a rocker, as well.
8 p.m. Friday, TPT, Ch. 2