En español | She said what? That’s the fun of a saucy game show, and the pleasure is all the more when it’s a TV classic with a super-funny host … and his even funnier mother in the cohost seat. Check out why we’re laughing all the way to the sofa this week, plus the hottest thing to hit Netflix since The Queen’s Gambit. Pass the remote!
Put some laughter into your week with this terrific game show reboot
To Tell the Truth, Season 6 (ABC, Jan. 26, 8 p.m. ET)
Sure, Anthony Anderson is great on his sitcom Black-ish, but his reboot of the 1956 game show on which liars try to fool celebrities (this week, Jimmy Kimmel, Andrea Savage and Sherri Shepherd) has a secret weapon: Anderson’s hilarious mom, Doris. She earned the cohost job by cracking up the audience on another game show, Celebrity Family Feud, with her answer to the question, “Where would a nude magician pull a rabbit out of?” (We’ll let you look it up if you’re curious.) Says Anderson, “My mother grew up lying to me my entire life, so she prepared me for hosting this show.” Mom and son are magicians of entertainment.
Watch it: ABC
Put some thrills into your week with this terrific movie reboot
Snowpiercer, Season 2 (TNT, Jan. 25, 9 p.m. ET)
In the apocalyptic sci-fi show with a class-struggle subtext, the runaway luxury train containing humanity’s survivors, stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs acquire a brilliant new costar: Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean, playing the engineer who built the train that circles the snow-ravaged globe. The show’s exec says Bean’s character is “dastardly and fun and very well-dressed.”
Watch it: TNT
RELATED: Speaking of thrills, are you a Talented Mr. Ripley fan? If so, don’t miss our list of the best screen adaptations of the consuming novels of author Patricia Highsmith. You can build a month of top-notch viewing with this list alone: The Ultimate Guide to the Films of Novelist Patricia Highsmith
Your No. 1 watch on Netflix this week is positively addictive
Move over, The Queen’s Gambit and Bridgerton — Netflix’s new unexpected No. 1 hit is Lupin, whose 70 million viewers will exceed those other addictive must-see series. The dazzling Omar Sy plays a thief and master of disguise whose crimes avenge his father’s false imprisonment and death at the hands of a monstrous plutocrat, society’s puppet master and orchestrator of a massive conspiracy against the downtrodden, especially the hero’s family. The thief bases his capers on a 1905 French children’s book starring Arsène Lupin, gentleman burglar, and his exploits keep you guessing, while the spectacular French locations keep you wishing you could go there. The ideal show for COVID escapist viewing.
Watch it: Netflix
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
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
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 ...
Miss Scarlett & the Duke
(PBS, check local listings)
If you liked Remington Steele (and dig period British drama), try this new show about Victorian England’s first female detective (Kate Phillips), who breaks the glass ceiling by hiring her womanizing childhood friend Detective Inspector William Wellington (Stuart Martin) as her front man. Sparks fly as crooks get caught.
Watch it: PBS
All Creatures Great and Small
(PBS, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
Want to escape America in 2021? Flee to comforting 1930s Yorkshire, as a newcomer veterinarian (Nicholas Ralph) copes with small-village folkways, lovable dogs, difficult cow pregnancies, an irritable boss (Mr. Selfridge’s Samuel West) and eccentric animal owners like Mrs. Pumphrey (the late Diana Rigg in her last role), who just might pamper her Pekingese puppy Tricki Woo to death. It’s an all-new version of the classic book, just republished in a 50th-anniversary edition.
Watch it: PBS
Elizabeth Is Missing
(Streaming on pbs.org)
Glenda Jackson returns to TV after 27 years in a whodunit about a woman with early-stage Alzheimer’s searching for her lost friend before she loses her ability to solve the mystery.
Watch it: PBS
Last Tango in Halifax, Season 4
In the new episodes of the wonderful show about teenage sweethearts (I, Claudius’ Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid of Sanditon) who reunite 50 years later, the couple discover love’s still complicated the second time around.
Watch it: Netflix
Sam Pollard’s devastating documentary concerns the FBI’s surveillance of, and obsession with, the civil rights leader, from 1963 to his 1968 assassination. Prolific Emmy winner Pollard (who has chronicled Zora Neale Hurston, Sammy Davis Jr. and August Wilson) weaves rich black-and-white archival footage with the shrewd insights of political experts and historians.
One Night in Miami, R
Oscar- and Emmy-winning powerhouse actress Regina King, 49, directs a talky screen adaptation of Kemp Powers’ 2013 play, which imagines a fictional February 1964 night in Miami. Boxer Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), athlete Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and crooner Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) gather, party and discuss what it meant, and what the obligations were, to be a successful Black man in ’60s America.
Watch it: Amazon Prime
Some Kind of Heaven, Unrated
Why did 130,000 people flock to live out their golden years in The Villages, the biggest retirement community in America, near Orlando, Florida? Because the developers built it to be a child-free, crime-free paradise for grownups. This absorbing doc takes us inside a fascinating parallel universe, as elders golf, dance, swim, flirt, cheerlead, do karate, play tennis and binge movies in the place envisioned as the Disneyland of retirees.
Watch it: Streaming on demand
Promising Young Woman, R
The dazzling Carey Mulligan plays Cassie, a once-stellar med student, in this smart, stylish revenge flick for the #MeToo era. Cassie spends nights at bars pretending to be blotto to lure men to assault her so she can avenge her childhood friend and med school classmate Nina, whose life was ruined by a sex scandal. Alison Brie (Mad Men), Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) and Alfred Molina (Spider-Man) are terrific, with Molina in an uncredited role as one of Nina’s victimized victimizers. The script wobbles at times, but the performances are must-see.
(NBC, Thursdays, 8 p.m. ET)
Ted Danson is great in Tina Fey’s new sitcom about a businessman, Neil Bremer, who comes out of retirement to find himself the mayor of Los Angeles, with an irritable liberal, Arpi Meskimen (Holly Hunter), as his deputy mayor. “I am 10 years younger than you, but I’m perceived as a kooky old woman and you’re still a sexually viable man,” Meskimen complains to Bremer. “Thank you!” he says. “Like underwear bought in a drugstore, you’re not going to last two months,” she predicts. Though it’s not quite as good as 30 Rock, the stars’ repartee has a familiar ring, and their show will likely last longer.
Watch it here: NBC
Call Your Mother
(ABC, Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)
In her new sitcom showing off her comedy chops, The Closer star Kyra Sedgwick plays an empty-nester mom who moves thousands of miles to get back into her kids’ lives. (The premiere airs right after an episode of The Conners, 9 p.m. ET, in which another mom with emotional baggage returns to her kids: Candice Bergen as the tart-tongued, booze-loving mother of Jay R. Ferguson’s Ben, boyfriend of Sara Gilbert’s Darlene. Might be worth watching both shows.)
Watch it here: ABC
RELATED: Kyra Sedgwick tells AARP how she dealt with her own empty nest, shares the quarantine baking project she’s obsessed with and explains how Call Your Mother can help us all get through pandemic times: Read more here.
Wouldn’t it be great if Downton Abbey had the wickedness of Gossip Girl? That’s what you get from this escapist romantic period fantasy, the first Netflix series from Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal), the super-producer who shocked Hollywood by defecting from ABC to the streaming service in a historic $100 million deal. It’s like Jane Austen with a feminist spin and a multiracial cast like Hamilton — and like Hamilton, Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) may have had Black ancestry. The queen likes to meddle in the social season and loathes her rival: viper-tongued gossip columnist Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews, who advises ambitious girls to learn “the art of the swoon, managing to faint with nary a petticoat out of place”). It’s all sumptuous, very 1811 and 2021, and altogether swoonworthy.
Watch it here: Netflix
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Viola Davis and, in his last role, the late Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) star in Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson’s illustrious tale of Ma Rainey, the 1920s Mother of the Blues. It’s hard to say which actor scores the more towering performance. It’s like a duet between geniuses — or, since they’re fighting bitterly over how Ma should record her music, old-dirty-blues-tent-show style or hepcat modern jazz style — an acting duel. Both win, as do all of us.
RELATED: Viola Davis tells AARP about Ma Rainey, August Wilson, aging, her big break, and what happens when you get everything you always wanted. Read it here: Viola Davis Finds a Powerful Voice
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
Falsetto virtuoso Barry Gibb, the last Bee Gee who’s stayin’ alive, tells the spectacular, melancholy story of the brothers who harmonized gorgeously and squabbled nastily as they sold more records than anyone but the Beatles and the Supremes. Eric Clapton, Mark Ronson and Justin Timberlake weigh in, and Noel Gallagher notes it ain’t easy singing with your brother. Barry says, “I’d rather have them all back here and no hits at all.”
Watch it here: HBO
(Showtime, Sundays, 10 p.m. ET)
Bryan Cranston, who played a good-hearted teacher forced to go criminal to save his family on Breaking Bad, plays a New Orleans judge scheming to help his son escape a hit-and-run accident charge in a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game with the law.
Watch it here: Showtime
RELATED: Cranston talks with AARP about his two good bad-guy roles and his real-life near-recovery from COVID-19: Bryan Cranston Is Back to Challenge Our Loyalties in Your Honor
The Life Ahead, PG-13
At 86, Sophia Loren is back! In her terrific new tearjerker, directed by her son Edoardo Ponti, she heartwarmingly plays a former prostitute, Holocaust survivor and caretaker for streetwalkers’ children. She looks after an orphaned African street kid (Ibrahima Gueye), grudgingly at first, and develops a deep bond with him.
Watch it here: Netflix
RELATED: Sophia Loren tells AARP about her comeback and her six life lessons
The Crown, Season 4
The real-life melodrama about Great Britain’s royal family was already the most addictive show on TV ... but now it’s way better, with the best actress yet (Olivia Colman) playing Queen Elizabeth II, in 1982; Emma Corrin as the much-cheated-on Princess Diana; and The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson as the triumphant and vanquished Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Bet you can’t watch just one episode.
Watch it here: Netflix
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
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