TV News & Reviews

What to Watch Friday: 20/20 has ‘Death of a Playmate,’ Hulu has ‘Looking for Alaska’

20/20: The Death of a Playmate (9 p.m., ABC) - 20/20 looks at the life and career of actress and Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered at age 20 by her estranged husband, Paul Snider. Stratton’s career was just beginning to skyrocket when Snider, a former pimp and club promoter, shot and killed her when she went to his home to discuss a divorce settlement. Snider then took his own life. 20/20 has interviews with former Playmates who knew Stratton well, plus Snider’s former roommates, who were the first to discover the bodies. They also talk to former friends of Stratton (the interview with Max Baer Jr., aka Jethro from “The Beverly Hillbillies,” is great), along with Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts, the actors who played Stratton and Snider in the film “Star 80.”

Sid & Judy (9 p.m., Showtime) - This new documentary explores the dramatic career and personal struggles of Judy Garland though rare concert footage, never-before-heard voice recordings and personal photos. The film explores Garland’s troubles through the memories of the man who was her confidant, manager and third husband for a decade: Sid Luft. “Sid & Judy” is directed by Stephen Kijak and narrated by Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (“Patrick Melrose”).

Dateline NBC (9 p.m., NBC) - The murder of a young businessman in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, marks the start of a 15-year-long hunt to find the killer.

Grammy Salute to Music Legends (9 p.m., PBS / UNC-TV) - Performers Garth Brooks, Sheila E, Snoop Dogg and others pay tribute to this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honorees, which include Black Sabbath, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, Julio Iglesias and Dionne Warwick.

Looking for Alaska (Hulu) - This new 8-episode limited series from Hulu is a pretty faithful dramatization of the popular John Green book of the same name. The story is set in 2005 and centers around a teenager nicknamed Pudge (Charlie Plummer) as he enrolls in a boarding school and falls in love with a girl named Alaska (Kristine Froseth) and finds a close group of loyal friends. Because it’s a John Green story, there’s tragedy and a subsequent search for meaning.

Some programming descriptions are provided by networks.

Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and answers CuriousNC questions for readers.