En español | Ready for a juicy watch this season? HBO thought you might be, so it’s reunited Big Little Lies showrunner David E. Kelley with star Nicole Kidman in a stylish new domestic thriller (another murder!) premiering this week. Add in Hugh Grant as Kidman’s husband, in his first gig on American television, and you’ve got a reason to occupy the sofa right there. Pass the remote!
If you watch only one thing this week, watch …
The Undoing (HBO, premieres Oct. 25, 9 p.m. ET)
If you’d never seen the previous Nicole Kidman murder-themed thriller miniseries by David E. Kelley, Big Little Lies, you’d think this melodrama about Kidman as a rich Manhattan therapist, married to oncologist Hugh Grant and shocked by the death of another mother in their private school parents’ group, was terrifically gripping and stylish. And the first episode really is terrific, just less so than Big Little Lies. Still, it’s worth seeing for the Kidman-Grant acting duel — who’s fooling whom in this marriage? — and Donald Sutherland as Kidman’s infinitely arrogant and judgmental father.
Watch it here: HBO
RELATED: Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant dish their steamy miniseries, The Undoing, with AARP.
Get out the hankies, America. They’re back.
This Is Us, Season 5 (NBC, premieres Oct. 27, 9 p.m. ET)
In the two-episode return of the buzzy drama, feuding brothers (Sterling K. Brown and Justin Hartley) deal with the fallout from their last-season-ending fight — and somebody’s suddenly expecting twins. This season, the family deals with Black Lives Matter, the pandemic and a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s.
Watch it here: NBC
Who’s a Wheel watcher?
If you’re anything like us, you cut your Q&A teeth on America’s great quiz and game shows, all the way from To Tell the Truth and What’s My Line? to The $10,000 Pyramid and the newly rebooted Supermarket Sweep. Our critics risk Double Jeopardy by not only naming the best game shows in TV history but ranking them all the way to No. 1. Do our answers match yours? Survey says!: The Best Game Shows in TV History, Ranked
Put this at the top of your Netflix queue right now
The Trial of the Chicago 7, R
An utterly wonderful, vivid dramatization of the trial of Chicago’s 1968 demonstrators, with bravura performances by Frank Langella as Judge Julius Hoffman, Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Michael Keaton as Ramsey Clark and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale.
Watch it here: Netflix
RELATED: Frank Langella tells AARP about The Trial of the Chicago 7, his string of history-based hits and the best time of his life — his 80s — here: All Rise for Frank Langella
As October comes to a close, have you caught up with all the best new Netflix drops of the month? Check our must-watch list, right here: The Best Things Coming to Netflix
Cue the whistling
Few TV shows have been as beloved — and memorable — as The Andy Griffith Show. To celebrate its 60th anniversary this month, we’ve created the ultimate trivia quiz on your favorite small town and its memorable characters: Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee, Barney and the rest of the gang. Test your Mayberry IQ and challenge your friends to take the same trivia trip down memory lane: Quiz: How Well Do You Know The Andy Griffith Show?
Yes, Virginia, there is a new fall season on TV this year ...
No, we’re not having a bunch of shows launch all at once. But! New shows are launching this season, and they feature some terrific stars in fun and dramatic new series. Want to know what you can look forward to? Our critics have their ears to the ground for you. Get the very latest, right here: The Fall TV Season Has Arrived
Speaking of Hulu, here are the 10 shows you can stream and be as hip as your grandkids
We might be the land of TV for grownups here, but that doesn’t mean we don’t keep our eye on what younger viewers are loving — especially when those shows are worth the time and attention of the AARP crew. In fact, our critics rounded up 10 terrific series that millennials and younger are watching, which means you’ll have a whole new bunch of stuff to talk about with your young coworkers or grandkids. Check out the whole list (and take 20 years off your TV-watching age), here: 10 TV Shows You Should Watch So You Can Talk About Them With Your Grandkids
If you recognize the name “Joe Exotic,” have we got the list for you
Truth is stranger than fiction — especially lately. So there’s never felt like a better time to indulge in some absorbing, perhaps even lurid, true crime series. We’ve rounded up the best like Carole Baskin rounded up Joe Exotic. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Check out the whole list, and maybe keep the lights on.
Get the list here: The 15 Best True Crime Shows to Binge Right Now
Calling All Friends Fans ...
Could we be any happier that HBO Max is running all 10 seasons of Friends? And can you believe that the entire cast is now age 50-plus? In honor of one of TV’s best ensemble casts ever joining the AARP cohort, we’ve gone down the trivia rabbit hole and emerged with a brand-new TV for Grownups quiz: How Well Do You Know These “Friends”? We’ve got trivia about the real cast members as well as their characters. Have fun testing your recall, and challenge your fellow fans.
Take the quiz here: How Well Do You Really Know These “Friends”?
AARP Talks With …
Get behind the scenes of the biggest shows on TV right now with our brand-new interview with ABC reporter Bob Woodruff, 58, who joins up with his son for a new travel show on Disney+; plus Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh, Mrs. America’s Margo Martindale, Making the Cut’s Tim Gunn, and Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi.
Also Catch Up With ...
David Byrne’s American Utopia
Spike Lee’s concert film of the Talking Heads front man’s Broadway musical of the same name is an infectiously joyous balm for our uncertain times (especially when we are largely unable to attend concerts of any size or kind). Spike Lee, one of our most consistently dazzling directors, captures not only the show’s fantastic songs and innovative choreography but also its energy, spirit and optimism. It’s one of the all-time great concert films right out of the gate. —Chris Nashawaty
Watch it here: HBO
What the Constitution Means to Me
Already seen Hamilton? Try this rousing Pulitzer Prize finalist by playwright Heidi Schreck, which Time ranked No. 5 on its list of “Ten Best Theater Performances of 2019.” The play has now been turned into a film for Amazon by Marielle Heller, the incandescent director of must-see movies A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and The Diary of a Teenage Girl. As a teen, Schreck paid for college by winning speech contests at American Legion halls and then became obsessed with her topic: the U.S. Constitution. Her funny, searing monologue is eye- and mind-opening, and deeply personal. She notes how the Constitution might better serve women, including her own $75 mail-order-bride great-grandmother, who died in a mental institution. This is the most inspired dramatization of history onstage and on-screen since Hamilton. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)
Watch it here: Amazon Prime
One Day at a Time
Fresh from her terpsichorean triumph on Dancing With the Stars, Justina Machado returns as Penelope Alvarez, the Bonnie Franklin equivalent of the single mom, in this reboot of the classic 1975 sitcom, with Rita Moreno as the Cuban-American family’s matriarch, Lydia. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by watching the only Latinx family on TV. By the way, how cool is it that creator Norman Lear, 98, is still running the beloved comedy and is back on CBS after 45 years?
Watch it here: CBS
RELATED: Puerto Rican–born trailblazer Rita Moreno tells AARP, “I’m having the time of my life!” among other revelations.
Also related: Kudos to the reboot of ODAAT for embracing a Latinx cast and story line. Want to get to know more Latinx directors? We’ve got the ultimate watch list, right here: 12 Latinx Directors You Need to Know
The Right Stuff
If you’re a fan of the epic 1983 movie about America’s first astronauts, you’ll love this gritty eight-episode retelling, also based on the Tom Wolfe book. You may recognize some of the actors playing the test pilots turned Mercury 7 astronauts from their work on other shows: Jake McDorman (Alan Shepard) stepped into the role of Murphy Brown’s adult son for the 2018 reboot of the media-focused sitcom, Colin O’Donoghue (Gordon Cooper) played Captain Hook on Once Upon a Time, and Patrick J. Adams (John Glenn) starred for nine seasons on Suits — during which he married Meghan Markle’s character, Rachael Zane.
Watch it here: Disney+
Related: If you love movies based on books, we’ve got your whole fall reading (and watching) list right where you want it. Check it out: Dear Book Lovers: Have We Got a TV Watch List for You!
The Haunting of Bly Manor, Season 1
The Haunting of Hill House was a smash hit, so auteur Mike Flanagan is back with not a sequel but a similar tale about a very old mansion with very dark secrets; it’s loosely adapted from Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.
Watch it here: Netflix
The Good Lord Bird
(Showtime, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
Ethan Hawke, 49, created this adaptation of James McBride’s National Book Award–winning novel about abolitionist John Brown, who tried and failed to ignite a slave uprising by attacking the armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, but managed to spark the Civil War. Hawke stars as half-mad Brown, with Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs as Frederick Douglass.
Where to watch: Showtime
RELATED: Ethan Hawke talks with AARP about aging, marriage and The Good Lord Bird.
ALSO RELATED! The Good Lord Bird is part of a string of fabulous biopics launching this fall. Check our critics’ picks to catch up on what you’ve missed and to get excited about what’s to come: 10 New Biopic Movies and TV Shows to Watch This Fall
Gangs of London
In a remarkably violent, veddy British gangster saga, the godfather Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney, Star Trek: The Next Generation) gets shot, so Michael Corleone — I mean, the godfather’s son Sean Wallace (Joe Cole, Peaky Blinders) — takes over. Not that he should trust Finn’s widow, Marian Wallace (Michelle Fairley, the Lady of Winterfell on Game of Thrones).
Watch it here: AMC+
Fargo, Season 4
(FX, Sundays, 10 p.m. ET)
Chris Rock, 55, gets the greatest role of his career as a visionary financial genius and gangster who strikes a shaky alliance with an Italian gang lord (Jason Schwartzman) whose mistress is a serial-killer nurse (rising star Jessie Buckley) in 1950 Kansas City, pursued by a lawman (Justified’s Timothy Olyphant, 52). It’s the most epic-scaled season of Fargo yet, and while it has sprawling-story problems, it’s always riveting. And you’ve got to see Salvatore Esposito (famous for the must-see Italian mob drama Gomorrah) as a bug-eyed Mussolini Blackshirt bringing his psychotic brand of fascism to Kansas.
Watch it here: Season 4 on FX
Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
(Epix, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET)
In a six-episode docuseries, Samuel L. Jackson, 71, makes a pilgrimage to his ancestral home, Gabon, and the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and others find sunken slave ships on three continents — plus the first-ever-found “freedom ship” that ferried runaways to Canada.
Watch it here: Epix
The most lurid, bizarrely sensational-looking show of the year is this prequel to Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which shows how Big Nurse Ratched got to be so wicked. Actually, it does a terrible job of explaining her motives and transformation, but it’s still an addictively entertaining American Horror Story-like melodrama about the nightmarish 1947 mental hospital where she works. The cast is astounding — from Sarah Paulson in the lead role to Judy Davis as a nurse much more like the one in the 1975 movie, and Sharon Stone as a deranged zillionaire.
Watch it here: Netflix
RELATED: Sharon Stone sat down to talk to AARP about her wild role in Ratched, what it means for women and older actresses, and how it relates to her own father’s mental-hospital experiences and her own life. Plus, don’t miss Stone’s personal Spotify playlist, which she created to cheer up AARP readers during the pandemic.
Read it all here: Sharon Stone Tells All About 'Ratched'
Tyler Perry’s Assisted Living
(BET, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET)
Tyler Perry, 50, once hailed by Forbes as the best-paid man in American entertainment, will likely earn laughs with his new sitcom about a Chicago patriarch (Na’im Lynn) who gets laid off and moves his family to backwoods Georgia to collect his inheritance. There he finds that his wacky Grandpa Vinny (J. Anthony Brown, who will remind you of Fred Sanford of Sanford and Son) invested it in an assisted living facility that urgently needs more investors.
Preview it here: Tyler Perry’s Assisted Living
Netflix’s Black Lives Matter Collection
Netflix unveils a useful, intelligently curated menu of 48 or so top titles including When They See Us, Moonlight, Malcolm X and the current must-see, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods (which could win star Delroy Lindo the Oscar he’s deserved for some time, and maybe the Emmy, too).
Watch it here: Netflix