Television today offers plenty: series and dramas, news and documentaries, movies and miniseries. The choices — on network, cable and streaming — can be overwhelming. Not to worry. We’re here to help you sort it out.
Critic’s Pick of the Week
Henry Diltz Studio
(Epix, May 31 and June 7, 9 p.m. ET)
Take a time trip to the ’60s, when in L.A.’s woodsy Laurel Canyon all you could hear at night was owls — until it was invaded by the greatest musicians on Earth, who wrote songs about it like Joni Mitchell’s “Ladies of the Canyon.” The two-part doc has rare historical footage and new interviews featuring Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Byrds, Michelle Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas, the Doors, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne.
Want more ’60s in your life? Check out our picks for the best films of that remarkable decade here: Stream the Best Movies From the 1960s
A Movie We Are So Excited Has Been Adapted Into a New Series
Justina Mintz/Turner Entertainment Networks
(TNT, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
Snowpiercer, based on the 2013 film by Oscar winner Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), is a smart SF show for grownups, about a massive train that carries what’s left of humanity around the world after an attempt to stop global warming causes a new Ice Age. In her first TV show in 20 years, A Beautiful Mind Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly, 49, plays the Voice of the Train, who tries to keep the upper crusters up front and the lowly “Tailies” in their place toward the caboose.
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The One All ‘The Office’ Fans Have Been Waiting For...
(Netflix, May 29)
Steve Carell, 57, teams with the creator of The Office for a show about an Air Force general (Carell) ordered to put U.S. boots on the moon ASAP — much to the displeasure of his wife (Friends’ Lisa Kudrow, 56). The terrific grownup cast includes John Malkovich, 66, as the scientist trying to talk sense to the general, who’s trying to please an unnamed President whose tweets contain amusing misspellings. The show isn’t as funny as many Office fans hoped, but it’s passable enough to add to your quarantine diversions.
And a Provocative Pair of Shows Arriving This Week
(AMC, May 31, 10 p.m. ET)
Oscar nominee Stephen Frears (The Queen, The Grifters) presents a three-episode miniseries about a real-life scandal on the original Who Wants to Be a Millionaire show. A millionaire winner (Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen) was accused of cheating with the help of his wife (Fleabag’s Sian Clifford) by using her coughs as a secret code. “The bottom’s falling out of the truth market,” says one character.
Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network
Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story
(USA, June 2, 9 p.m. ET)
The lurid, fact-based story of a self-sacrificing 1960s wife (Amanda Peet, 48) who put her husband (Christian Slater, 50) through medical and law school, and in the 1980s shot him and his second wife. Meredith Baxter got an Emmy in 1992 for playing Broderick. We’ll see if Peet repeats the feat.
Stay Current on Coronavirus
Courtesy of Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS; Center for Disease Control
Nova: Decoding COVID-19
(PBS, check local listings)
Meet one of the first COVID victims and the scientists racing for a cure.
Watch it here: PBS
What to Watch Now on Netflix
A24/Courtesy Everett Collection
Funnyman Adam Sandler comes of age as a dramatic actor. If comedy auteur Preston Sturges had written the gritty Bad Lieutenant while cribbing from Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets, it wouldn’t be any better than this irresistible crime caper flick about a gambler with a self-defeating dream.
Watch it here: Netflix
Grey’s Anatomy, Season 16
Now you can binge-watch the latest season of the longest-running prime-time medical drama (more seasons than ER, Scrubs, or M*A*S*H), and all 15 previous seasons, too. And if you like the lively style of Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, 50, who made Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh famous, binge her other Netflix shows, How to Get Away With Murder, Seasons 1 to 5, and Scandal, Seasons 1 to 7.
Watch it here: Netflix
What to Watch Now on Amazon
David Appleby/Paramount Pictures
Taron Egerton rocks as Elton John in a rousing jukebox musical movie that tells a fictionalized, fanciful version of his rise from nerd to flamboyant superstar, propelled by his exuberant tunes and exorbitant neuroses.
Watch it here: Amazon
Alias, Seasons 1-5
With gizmos, disguises and well-placed kicks, a graduate student (Jennifer Garner) roams the world’s most glamorous places as an undercover spy. Show creator J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) calls it “Felicity joins the CIA.”
Watch it here: Amazon
Catch Up on Crime
Need to escape into some classic TV mysteries? Pick a favorite from our 9 Mysteries to Binge Watch Now and solve crimes on Vera, Ripper Street, and Agatha Christie’s Poirot, among others.
Also Catch Up With ...
Ramy, Season 2
Some of the coolest characters on TV lately are men of the cloth (Andrew Scott’s hot Priest on Fleabag, Jude Law’s Pius XIII on The New Pope) — but who could be cooler than Mahershala Ali (Green Book)? He plays the spiritual sheikh guiding the hero of Egyptian American comic Ramy Youssef’s semiautobiographical dramedy about finding one’s way amid cultural collisions. Some of the best characters are Ramy’s grownup relatives, especially Hiam Abbass, 59 (Brian Cox’s wife on Succession) as his sheltered mom, who discovers a thrilling new world as a Lyft driver.
Watch it here: Hulu
BBC Television Shakespeare Collection
For the first time, you can binge-watch all 37 of the BBC’s legendary Shakespeare adaptations. Helen Mirren in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It, John Cleese in The Taming of the Shrew, Patrick Stewart in Hamlet, Roger Daltrey in The Comedy of Errors, Judy Davis in The Merry Wives of Windsor? We’re there. Free with a trial subscription (There’s a 7-day free trial, followed by $6.99/month or $69.99/year).
Watch it here: BritBox
Beat the quarantine blues with a vicarious video vacation led by travel maven Scott Eddy, who explores Trinidad, Antigua and Grenada in the first episode. Discover sugar-sand beaches, pungent street food, ziplining, Carnival, ultra-luxury resorts and Caribbean characters having more fun than you. Best enjoyed with a rum punch.
Watch it here: Video Globetrotter
Tom Cruise Movie Marathon
Tom Cruise’s Top Gun sequel got delayed, but a new 4K Ultra HD digital version of the original film (with lots of new interviews) has hit streaming platforms including Amazon and iTunes. (For Blu-Ray fans, the 4K version ships Tuesday.)
I Know This Much Is True
(HBO, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
If you thought Mark Ruffalo’s transformation into the Incredible Hulk in The Avengers was impressive acting, in this six-episode miniseries based on Wally Lamb’s wildly popular 1998 novel, Ruffalo plays twin brothers. The catch: One of them is schizophrenic and 30 pounds heavier than the other. (Ruffalo, 52, really gained the weight.) The heavy-hitter cast boasts Melissa Leo, 59; Rosie O’Donnell, 58; Archie Panjabi, 47; and Kathryn Hahn.
Dylan McDermott, 58, goes gray in his first grownup role as a service station owner whose star-wannabe attendants service Hollywood’s 1940s elite. It’s a seamy yet curiously sweet and innocent time-trip — actors even act in ’40s style. Holland Taylor, 77, and Patti Lupone, 71, play studio bigwigs who win men’s hearts — and Lupone gets her first-ever sex scene. (“Finally!” she told The Hollywood Reporter.) The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, 47, plays Rock Hudson’s agent.
Billions, Season 5
(Showtime, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
How could the hit about the battle between a kinky U.S. attorney (Paul Giamatti, 52) and his hedge fund manager enemy (Damian Lewis, 49) get better? Add The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies, 53, as Yale professor Cat Brant, author of The O Gap, a best seller about orgasms, as Giamatti’s pal, as well as House of Cards’ Corey Stoll as Lewis’ new enemy.
(HBO GO, HBO NOW)
In a bizarre story that’s also a true story, Hugh Jackman, 51, is getting some of the best reviews of his career as the superintendent of America’s fourth most-prestigious school district, in Long Island, New York. Everybody’s happy: the kids he gets into Yale, the parents, the millionaire school board president (Ray Romano, 62), the tough-as-nails assistant superintendent (Allison Janney, 60). Only problem: The superintendent and his assistant stole $11 million from the school.
(Amazon, Season 6. Seasons 1-5 also available)
The cantankerous L.A. homicide detective Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver, 58) is back for a sixth season. Stephen King tweeted this week, “There’s nothing better than BOSCH…The story is engrossing, the cast—led my Titus Welliver—is superb, and nobody is phoning it in. One of the best shows now on TV.”
Cate Blanchett, 50, is sensational as homemaker advocate and Phyllis Schlafly, who torpedoed the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, despite the frantic efforts of feminists Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne), Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman, 60), Rep. Bella Abzug (Margo Martindale, 68) and Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first black female presidential candidate (Uzo Aduba).
Killing Eve, Season 3
(AMC and BBC America, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
Sandra Oh, 48, returns as a woman locked in an unhealthy relationship with a gleeful serial killer.
(Epix, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, 70, adapts his best-selling novel about the scandals, secrets and rather grand parties of London’s upper crust on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo. It’s a Dickens (or a Thackeray) of a story.
Liked Broadchurch? David Tennant stars in another ripping mystery — who set the fatal house fire in a spectacular small Scottish Highlands village? It’s a character-driven show by the creator of Grantchester. Acorn TV has a 30-day free offer at signup.acorn.tv (use promo code FREE30).
Making the Cut
Tim Gunn, 66, and Heidi Klum (who calls him her “TV husband”), 46, didn’t get to do much together on Project Runway. But they sure do on their new show, on which a dozen designers vie for $1 million and their own Amazon fashion line.
One Day at a Time
(Pop TV, Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)
Want a soothing escape from bad news? Try Norman Lear’s rebooted classic sitcom, canceled by Netflix but now reborn after an outcry by fans and TV critics, on Pop TV. Justina Machado is great as a single mom and Army vet in L.A. who’s contending with her kids and her Cuban mother (the legendary Rita Moreno, 88).
FBI: Most Wanted
(CBS, Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET)
Producer Dick Wolf's Law & Order spin-off Law & Order: SVU spawned the spin-off FBI — and now that's got a new spin-off, about a grownup investigator (FBI's Julian McMahon, 51) whose Fugitive Task Force hunts the worst bad guys on the FBI's top 10 criminals list. It's got a better cast than some Dick Wolf shows, whose spin-offs tend to become hits.