Jessica Lange has won two Oscars, two Emmys and been nominated this year for her second Tony. But she remains underappreciated. At the very least, she deserves one of those Kennedy Center Honors. At most, her hometown of Cloquet, Minn., should erect a statue of her in the parking lot of its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed gas station.

Her talent is on full display in "The Great Lillian Hall," a three-hankie drama debuting 7 p.m. Friday on HBO. The fictional Hall is Broadway's leading lady whose time at the top is threatened by the onset of dementia. The fact that she's having problems memorizing her lines for a production of "The Cherry Orchard" is only part of her challenge. She realizes all too late in life that her commitment to the theater has come at the cost of relationships with her family and loved ones. The cast includes Kathy Bates, Pierce Brosnan and Lily Rabe.

Hall has her fair share of shortcomings, but Lange adds just enough touches to make you pray that she makes it to the opening night. In one heartbreaking scene, she tries to con her way through a medical exam, flirting and fighting with her doctor until it's clear that she needs help. It's a master class in acting — and further proof that Minnesota has never produced a finer actor.

Also this week


Abi Morgan, the writer behind "The Iron Lady" and "The Hour," gets a little wacky in this six-part drama about a 9-year-old boy who goes missing in 1980s New York. What makes the search so peculiar is the fact the child's father is a puppeteer (Benedict Cumberbatch) who teams up with an imaginary friend who looks like an extra from "Monsters, Inc." Morgan's scripts are packed with thoughts about addiction, homelessness and sex trafficking. But it's hard to take any of those subjects seriously when a hairy beast keeps popping into the picture. Thursday, Netflix

'Jim Henson: Idea Man'

"Eric" may have worked out better if Henson had been on board. Ron Howard's loving documentary leaves no doubt that Henson was one of our greatest entertainers — and a heck of a boss. Former colleagues like Frank Oz and Jennifer Connelly make it seem like working for Henson was more delicious than raiding Cookie Monster's cupboards. Superfans will savor the behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the birth of Miss Piggy's karate chops and how they filmed the opening of "The Muppet Movie." Friday, Disney+

'Rodgers & Hammerstein's 80th Anniversary'

If you're in the camp that believes they don't make 'em like they used to, you'll adore this performance-driven tribute to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II with stage stars like Audra McDonald and Michael Ball reviving the biggest hits from "Oklahoma!" and "The Sound of Music." 8 p.m. Friday, TPT

'The Luckiest Guy in the World'

This 2023 docuseries about Bill Walton, who died Monday, coasts on the UCLA standout's optimistic attitude and music from his favorite band, the Grateful Dead. But the mood sours every time director Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") brings up Walton's spotty broadcasting career and the foot injuries that derailed his career. Walton gets so defensive that his claim to be the luckiest man in the world start to feel more like a threat than a mantra. ESPN+