Are you ready for Lockdown 2: Toilet Paper Hoarding Boogaloo? The good news about staying inside and staying safe this week is that there’s a fantastic week of new television with options for everyone. There’s something for fans of medical dramas, gritty young adult dramas, and music documentaries, plus there’s an animated film that the whole family should watch. And if you’re into stars, both Meryl Streep and Bryan Cranston are coming back this week with new projects. We don’t deserve this bounty from the TV gods, we really don’t.
Our list of editors’ picks for the week is below, but if this isn’t enough and you’re looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, sign up for our free spam-free Watch This Now newsletter that delivers the best TV show picks straight to your inbox.
Special episode Sunday at 9/8c on HBO, and out now on HBO Max
Can I be honest with you? I don’t like Euphoria, even though everyone else does. But boy did I love this special episode, which serves as a bridge between seasons and ditches the excess of the first round of episodes. You don’t need to be up to date on the gritty teen series to appreciate this quiet, stripped-down hour, which is essentially a long conversation in a diner between Rue (Emmy winner Zendaya) and her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, Ali (Colmon Domingo, who deserves an Emmy for this episode), about life, their pasts, their presents, and drug addiction. Both performances are stellar, and the talk is riveting as Ali imparts his wisdom on Rue through his own experiences. It’s not just an important episode for the show’s story; it’s an important episode that transcends television and can change your life in the real world. This is the first of two special Euphoria episodes before Season 2; the second episode will be released at a later date.
Series premiere at 10/9c on Showtime, and free on YouTube now as part of a special Showtime preview
Do you like shows that are D-R-A-M-A-T-I-C? Showtime, the king of capital D dramas, airs this miniseries that’s perfect for someone looking for a show that mimics prestige dramas without requiring the brainpower to watch one. The big attraction here is the return of Bryan Cranston in his first major television role since Breaking Bad, but please don’t go into this comparing it to AMC’s classic or you’ll be even more disappointed. Cranston plays a New Orleans judge trying to fix a major screw-up his son made that gets him in deep trouble with local organized crime, while also exploiting his job and talents to try to get away clean and stay ahead of the authorities and mob. It’s a morality tale filled with violence and drawn-out scenes of misery, making it a decent chaser to something like Ozark, as they both love to live on the high wire. Critics aren’t loving this one, but there’s an audience for it, especially in a week where there’s no must-see show looming above the rest.
Series premiere Monday at 10/9c on NBC
Maybe you like Grey’s Anatomy but are more interested in hanging out with nurses. Voila, I present you Nurses, a Canadian import (the first season aired in January up north) from the team who brought you Rookie Blue. It follows nurses at a Toronto hospital as they save others’ lives and their own messy, complicated personal lives. Honestly, I’ve probably over-explained it. You know what this is.
Let Them All Talk
Thursday on HBO Max
Master of any genre Steven Soderbergh directs this HBO Max original film that’s a character drama about three friends on a cruise ship. Lucky for us, those three friends are a trio of Hollywood legends: Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest, and Candice Bergen. Streep plays a famous author who books the cruise to pick up an award in England and brings her friends along, and on board they face their pasts and attempt to reconcile their relationships. [REVIEW]
Series premiere Friday on Amazon Prime
The honor of your YA pick of the week goes to Amazon’s The Wilds, a heavy, Lord of the Flies-influenced series about a diverse group of teenage girls who get stranded on a deserted island. Headed to a spiritual feminist retreat to cure young women of their incredibly angsty angst, the teens find themselves fighting for their lives when their plane crashes, turning the show into a survival drama with flashbacks and flash-forwards to the girls’ complicated lives before and after the crash. And, not surprisingly, that’s only part of the story as conspiracies bubble up. Did you like Lost? Did you like The Society? Then you might dig this. It also has lots of voiceover like: “If we’re talking about what happened out there, then yeah, there was trauma. But being a teenage girl in normal-ass America? That was the real living hell.” Amen, sister!
Friday on Apple TV+
The beautiful animated film Wolfwalkers came out in theaters last month, but there’s about a 99% chance you didn’t see it because of, well, obvious reasons. It’s the third in a series of films based on Irish folklore from the studio Cartoon Saloon, following the critically acclaimed The Secret of Kells (not streaming) and Song of the Sea (Netflix), and tells the story of a young girl who heads to Ireland with her dad to kill off the last wolf pack but ends up befriending a young girl who is part of a tribe of humans who become wolves at night. It’s less Disney and Pixar and more Hayao Miyazaki, and it drew rave reviews when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. This is for family movie night.
Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
Saturday at 8/7c on HBO
Can we please get over the small-minded idea that disco is an inferior art form? The marginalized music genre that came to represent marginalized groups had its heyday before flaming out both figuratively and literally in the 1970s, and the Bee Gees will forever be linked to the movement because of hits like “Saturday Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive.” But the Bee Gees were a lot more than that, and this HBO documentary tracks their progress from a child band to hangers-on to the British Invasion to worldwide sensations to their undeserved backlash to their final days. You probably forgot how great they were before their disco days, as Oasis’ Noel Gallagher does in an interview where he recalls how incredulous he was when he heard their early work, so let this encompassing film that’s as much about brotherly bonds as it is really good music catch you up. Plus, any movie where Barry Gibbs’ hair is a main character is a must-watch. His mane is to die for.
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