6 musts at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival

"Godfather of Harlem" will premiere at the Tribeca TV Festival. Photo Credit: Epiz / David Lee

See “Godfather of Harlem” before it hits EPIX and witness the minds behind “Friends” reunite at the third annual festival.

"Godfather of Harlem" will premiere at the Tribeca TV Festival.
"Godfather of Harlem" will premiere at the Tribeca TV Festival. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Queens College, The City University of New York.

The Tribeca TV Festival is marking the anniversary of "Friends" with a reunion and celebrating the upcoming release of the Bumpy Johnson crime drama "Godfather of Harlem" with an early screening. 

The fest returns this weekend for the third year with a lineup packed with world premieres and celebrity chats to help New Yorkers honor the shows they love and find their next small-screen obsession. Running Sept. 12 through 15 at Regal Battery Park, the fest includes the world premiere of EPIX’s mob period drama and chats with comedian Hasan Minhaj and actor James Spader. 

“This year’s Tribeca TV Festival program, like TV itself, has something for everyone. We are bringing channel surfing to the big screen, as our audiences can experience — in just 4 days — the full spectrum of episodic storytelling; and we hope, discover their new favorite show along the way," Cara Cusumano, Tribeca’s festival director, said in a release. 

With a lineup featuring more than a dozen world and season premieres, and celebrity talks, you may need some help sifting through the offerings. 

We’ve mapped out a day-by-day schedule of our must-see picks. For the full lineup and tickets, visit tribecafilm.com/TVfestival. Tickets for the festival are currently available and start at $30. Entry per event typically includes access to one screening, plus access to a post-episode conversation with the series’ cast or creators. 

Thursday 

"Godfather of Harlem" stars Ilfenesh Hadera and Forest Whitaker.
"Godfather of Harlem" stars Ilfenesh Hadera and Forest Whitaker. Photo Credit: Epix / David Lee

A conversation with James Spader: "The Blacklist" actor James Spader is set to dive into the best moments in his career during this special conversation. It’ll span both his television and film roles, stemming back to "Pretty in Pink." (Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.) 

‘Godfather of Harlem’ world premiere: Infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson returns to the streets of Harlem after a decade behind bars in the upcoming, ’60s-set television drama, "Godfather of Harlem." After the screening, executive producers Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein will join actors Ilfenesh Hadera and Forest Whitaker for a discussion. (Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m.) 

Friday

‘Friends’ anniversary screening: The executive producers behind the fan-favorite will reunite Central Perk style for a casual chat. David Crane, Marta Kauffman and Kevin Bright will reflect on the series’ legacy ahead of its 25th anniversary. There’s no word of any castmates joining in on the reunion chat — yet. Their discussion follows back-to-back screenings of "The One with the Embryos" and "The One Where Everybody Finds Out." (Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.) 

‘Hip Hop: The Songs that Shook America’ premiere: Black Thought and Questlove of The Roots will sit down following a screening of their new series, "The Songs that Shook America." The docuseries follows six songs the lyricists say helped transform American music and culture. (Sept. 13 at 8:15 p.m.) 

Saturday 

‘Katy Keene’ premiere: This "Riverdale" spinoff, starring Lucy Hale as Katy Keene and Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy, keeps the spirit of Archie Comics alive. And, it’s set in New York City. The Tribeca TV Festival brings the two actresses, and others, together for a post-screening chat. (Sept. 14 at 3 p.m.)

Sunday 

"Transparent" will premiere its finale at the Tribeca TV Festival. 
"Transparent" will premiere its finale at the Tribeca TV Festival.  Photo Credit: Tribeca TV Festival / Erin Simkin

‘Transparent’ series finale: The third annual festival will close with the premiere of the "Transparent" series finale — and what better way to say goodbye than singing alongside your friends? The finale comes in the form of a musical, and will be followed by an in-person conversation with executive producers Jill Soloway and Faith Soloway. Cast members are also set to appear, though they have not yet been confirmed. (Sept. 15 at 6 p.m.) 

IF YOU GO: The Tribeca TV Festival runs Sept. 12 through 15 at Regal Battery Park.

Meghan Giannotta