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Stay Tuned column: HBO’s ‘Perry Mason’ reboot features strong performances

Melissa Crawley
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Matthew Rhys plays a reimagined "Perry Mason."

TV celebrates Father’s Day with a few specials, a mega-church family returns for a final season and HBO offers a fresh take on an iconic character.

Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Matt James, who was originally cast as a contestant on Clare Crawley’s upcoming season of “The Bachelorette,” will instead star as the season 25 lead of “The Bachelor.” The real-estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder is the first Black “Bachelor” in the history of the series.

Keira Knightley is set to star in and executive produce “The Other Typist” for Hulu. The project is based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Rindell.

Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
Kicking off Father’s Day weekend is “Dads” (June 19, Apple TV+), a documentary featuring six fathers from across the world, who offer their experiences on the ups and downs of parenting. The film is the directorial debut of Bryce Dallas Howard, who includes her dad Ron, her brother and her late grandfather, along with a host of celebrity dads, among the intimate portraits of fatherhood.

Cookbook author and TV host, Padma Lakshmi, travels across America in “Taste the Nation” (June 19, Hulu) to explore how diverse food cultures shape our history and identity.

Season two of “The Politician” (June 19, Netflix) picks up where it left off with Payton (Ben Platt) going up against a popular incumbent for a New York state Senate seat.

The last queen of Egypt is the subject of “Cleopatra: Sex, Lies and Secrets” (June 21, Science Channel, 8 p.m. ET). Featuring the latest archeological developments on the search for her tomb, the show goes beyond her beautiful and seductive image to uncover who she was and how she lived.

John Legend gets in on the Father’s Day action with “John Legend and Family: A Bigger Love Father’s Day” (June 21, ABC, 8 p.m. ET). The variety special features the usual mix of celebrity guest appearances, Chrissy Teigen segments, and musical performances, including new songs from Legend’s upcoming album “Bigger Love.”

“Perry Mason” comes to HBO (June 21, 9 p.m. ET), but this version of the famous defense lawyer is a down-and-out private investigator in 1930s Los Angeles. The pace is on the slow side and a few unlikely plot twists may test your patience, but Matthew Rhys, who plays Mason, and delivered a standout performance in “The Americans,” is a reason to watch. So too is the rest of the strong cast, which includes Tatiana Maslany and John Lithgow.

American Masters “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” (June 23, PBS, 8 p.m. ET) reflects on the life of the Nobel Prize-winning author, from her childhood to her years teaching at Princeton to her acclaimed books. It’s a thoughtful exploration of race, history and our shared humanity.

The fifth and final season of “Greenleaf” premieres (June 23, OWN, 9 p.m. ET). Secrets threaten to crumble the family’s already fragile foundation as a rival ministry’s challenge to their church grows stronger.

Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: NBC renewed “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”

Losers: “Perfect Harmony” (NBC) was canceled.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at staytuned@outlook.com or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.