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What to Watch on TV and Streaming This Week

Reese and Jen reunite, Clint is back, and the Emmys are here!​​

En español | ​Fluff up the sofa cushions, because it’s a big week for TV. For one, the Emmys arrive on Sunday to honor the best and the brightest on the small screen, plus there's the return of Apple TV’s close-to-the-bone Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. We’ve also got a new doc on Muhammad Ali, a new film from the indefatigable Clint Eastwood (at age 91!) and a soulful reboot of The Wonder Years set in Civil Rights-era Alabama. Read on for what’s on when and why our picks are worth your TV time. And pass the remote!

​It’s Emmy Time!

Cedric the Entertainer holds a trophy as he is set to host the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards

Cliff Lipson/CBS

Cedric the Entertainer

73rd Primetime Emmy Awards

​In TV’s most prestigious awards, will The Mandalorian beat The Crown, or WandaVision beat The Queen's Gambit? (We hope not!) Tune in and root for your heroes, and catch our coverage the next morning of all the grownups who prevailed.​

Watch it: 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, Sept. 19, 8 p.m. ET on CBS​


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Ready for some juicy, smart TV?​​

The Morning Show, Season 2

​In the new season of Apple TV’s 2020 hit, the rivalry of dueling UBA network TV newsies Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston (52) gets real, and the cast gets some big new names: Hasan Minhaj, Holland Taylor (78) as UBA’s formidable chairwoman, and Julianna Margulies (55) as a reporter investigating the network's scandalous problems. ​

Watch it: The Morning Show, on Apple TV+

DON’T MISS THIS: What’s the Best Newsroom-Style TV Show Ever?​


Clint Eastwood brings a tall character to the small screen

Cry Macho

Clint Eastwood, whose eternal popularity depends on viewers over 50, directs and stars as an over-the-hill Texas rodeo cowboy whose old boss (Dwight Yoakam, 64) sends him to bring back his estranged son Rafael (Eduardo Minett) from Mexico. Clint rides high — and he’s not slowing down.​

Watch it: Cry Macho, on HBO Max 


Get out your handkerchiefs for this nostalgic reboot

The Wonder Years 

The 1980s hit about coming of age in the ’60s is back, this time chronicling the life of a Black kid (Elisha “EJ” Williams) in Montgomery, Alabama, and his musician/professor father (Dulé Hill), working mom (Saycon Sengbloh) and teen sister (Laura Kariuki). But the most famous actor is the narrator, Don Cheadle (56), who says, “One thing about being 12 that hasn’t changed over the decades is that it’s around 12 that you figure out what your place is in the world.” It’s produced and directed by Fred Savage (45), who played the 12-year-old originally.​

Watch it: The Wonder Years, premiering Sept. 22, 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC​

DON’T MISS THIS: It's Reboot Mania Right Now in TV Land


Ken Burns takes on 'The Greatest’ in this new documentary​​

Muhammad Ali

Ken Burns presents a definitive documentary on the three-time heavyweight champ whose influence on society went way beyond the boxing ring.​

Watch it: Muhammad Ali, premiering Sept. 19-22, 8 p.m. ET on PBS

DON’T MISS THIS: 8 Ways Muhammad Ali Changed the World That Go Far Beyond Boxing​


We couldn’t pick just 1 must-watch on Netflix this week, so we picked 2!

Sex Education, Season 3

​In the sizzling show about the romantic learnings of the students at Britain’s Moordale Secondary School, Gillian Anderson (53) plays the pregnant sex therapist mom of a student, and Harry Potter’s Lucius Malfoy, Jason Isaacs (58), joins the cast as the nasty rich brother of the school’s disgraced headmaster.​

Watch it: Sex Education, on Netflix

Dear White People, Season 4

How to keep the satirical show about Black students at prestigious white-dominated Winchester University fresh in its final season? Make it a musical! Top that, Spike Lee’s School Daze!​

Watch it: Dear White People, on Netflix​

DON’T MISS THIS: The 24 Best Things Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix in September


Your feel-good watchlist of the week is here (and queer!)

RuPaul stars in the Netflix series AJ and the Queen and John Leguizamo, Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze star in the film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

Beth Dubber/Netflix; Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

(Left to right) RuPaul in "AJ and the Queen"; John Leguizamo, Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze in "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar."

Inspired by the movie Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the cinematic adaptation of a hit West End musical that follows a 16-year-old who dreams of becoming a drag queen, our critics have rounded up nine fantastic TV shows and movies that capture the fierce culture in all its glory. Bet you can’t stream just one!

Get the list: The 9 Most Fabulous TV Shows and Movies About Drag Queens


Did you know that one man controls three entire nights of prime time network programming?

Television producer Dick Wolf

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Dick Wolf

If you’re a Law & Order fan, you may already be guessing the right answer. It’s Dick Wolf, the 74-year-old crime-drama impresario who has — are you ready? — eight one-hour shows in prime time this season. Learn more about the amazing Mr. Wolf and what he’s got planned for our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights this season.

Get the scoop here: The Man Who Gave Us Law & Order Is Taking Over Prime Time


Fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines, prepare to binge nonstop with our inside guide

Chip and Joanna Gaines

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Chip and Joanna Gaines

If you love HGTV and home renovation shows, chances are you’ve fallen hard for Joanna and Chip Gaines, the married hosts of Fixer Upper. But did you know that the designers are in the process of launching their own entire television channel? The Magnolia Network is coming, but until it hits the airwaves in January 2022, we’ve got a shortcut (two, actually) to stream their new lineups of original unscripted programming, which officially launched this July. Start bingeing now, folks!

Get the list: The Insider’s Guide to Chip and Joanna Gaines’ New Magnolia Network


Love game shows? You’re going to love this watch list!

Michael Strahan and Elizabeth Banks

Heidi Gutman/ABC; Eric McCandless/ABC

Michael Strahan (left) hosts "The $100,000 Pyramid" and Elizabeth Banks hosts "Press Your Luck."

Turn the nostalgia up to 11, because network TV is officially in love with all our favorite game shows of the past and is rebooting them. We’re talking new versions of everything from The Dating Game and Supermarket Sweep to Name That Tune. Our critics have the lowdown on all the new shows and where to watch them. What is amazing TV for $1,000, Alex?

Get the list: Love Game Shows? Don’t Miss These Fresh Revivals of 9 All-Time TV Classics


Pssst… we know what’s coming to TV this fall!

The cast of The Wonder Years and a scene from CSI: Vegas

Erika Doss/ABC; Sonja Flemming/CBS

(Left to right) Dulé Hill, Saycon Sengbloh, Elisha Williams and Laura Kariuki star in "The Wonder Years," and Paula Newsome and Jorja Fox star in "CSI: Vegas."

The first look at the fall 2021 season is here, and our critics have the low-down on all the new shows and what you’re going to want to watch. Be the first to know what’s up by checking it all out here: First Look: What’s Coming to TV Screens for the Fall 2021 Season


Who wants their MTV?

Side by side images of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen

Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo; TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy Stock Photo; Paul Natkin/WireImage

(Left to right) Madonna, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen

Whether you’re a hip boomer or a card-carrying Gen Xer, you no doubt remember the revolutionary launch of the music video channel in 1981 and all the hits and stars who emerged from that brave new world. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of MTV, our critics have highlighted the iconic albums and videos from the first 10 years, and it’s a wild trip down memory lane. Read and watch it all, right here: Every Essential Album (and Music Video) From the Golden Age of MTV


From football and ice hockey to professional wrestling, these TV comedies are all-star fun

Jason Sudeikis stars in Ted Lasso and Ralph Macchio in Cobra Kai

Apple TV+; Guy D'Alema/Netflix

Jason Sudeikis (left) and Ralph Macchio

Take your local live sports seriously? We know, we know. But there’s a wonderfully funny world of sports sitcoms out there, and what with Ted Lasso ruling the airwaves right now (have you watched?), our critics thought it was high time we named names. From Coach to this week’s new show Big Shot, check out our hottest new watch list: The Best Sports-Themed Sitcoms to Stream Now


Love Law & Order? Have we got a list for you!

The cast members of Law and Order and Law and Order Special Victims Unit

Kevin Foley/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

If you’ve been part of Law & Order nation since Jerry Orbach was shaking his head at corpses on the mean streets of New York in the 1990s, we know you’ve followed the spin-offs and have watched some of them become blockbusters. But which ones are the best of the best? Our critics have ranked all seven Law & Order iterations, plus offered up the very best episode from each series to watch right now. It’s a dream come true. Check it out here: What’s the Best Law & Order Series of All Time?


Also Catch Up With ...

Scenes From a Marriage

(HBO)

In a five-episode remake of Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 classic about a heavenly marriage turned inferno, Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac sizzle and shriek as a couple who, after 10 years, don’t know if they can be in the same room without hurting each other. Which they’re good at. He’s a hyperanalytical Tufts philosophy prof and Mr. Mom to their young daughter; she’s a high-powered tech exec haunted by her mother’s many divorces. What could go wrong? The writer/director Hagai Levi brought you the original Israeli version of the series In Treatment.

Watch it: Scenes From a Marriage, on HBO

Go deeper: Watch the original 1973 version starring Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, also on HBO Max


On the Verge (Season 1)

(Netflix)

Before Midnight star/auteur Julie Delpy, 51, presents her first TV show, about late-in-life mothers and how they cope with crises. “Many younger women working on the show said they were inspired to see all these great 50-something characters on screen,” Delpy told Variety. “When you’re 25, it’s reassuring to know that in 20 years you won’t be sidelined.”

Watch it: On the Verge, on Netflix


Worth, PG-13

(Netflix)

Michael Keaton, 70 on Sept. 5, was never better than he is as Ken Feinberg, the attorney who ran the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. His job: to put a cash value on lost lives and wrestle with a moral conundrum. Who’s worth more: an immigrant dishwasher or a finance titan with a pregnant wife? Should gay partners or a bigamist’s secret second family get one dime? Can Feinberg, a bottom-line number cruncher, deal with his feelings as he hears out the anguished families of the lost — and reconcile justice with the need to get thousands of victims’ families to agree not to sue (causing airline bankruptcies and a cratered economy) before the deadline elapses and legislators take all the compensation money away?

Watch it: Worth, on Netflix


Blood Brothers: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, PG-13

(Netflix)

Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali’s historically significant, tragically troubled friendship has gotten superb fictional treatment lately in the hits One Night in Miami and The Godfather of Harlem. So it’s a fine time for this thoughtful documentary by Marcus A. Clarke and Black-ish producer Kenya Barris about what really happened — with the piercing insights of Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz and colleagues Herb Boyd and A. Peter Bailey, Ali’s brother Rahman and daughters Maryum and Hana, and brilliant professors Johnny Smith, Randy Roberts, Todd Boyd and Cornel West.

Watch it: Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali, on Netflix


Queen Sugar, Season 6

(OWN)

The terrific hit by Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us) about the squabbling heirs to an 800-acre Louisiana sugarcane farm, returns. What’s the secret to the success of the 42 directors who made the series? Every single one is a woman.

Watch it: Queen Sugar, on OWN


Only Murders in the Building

(Hulu)

In a 10-part comedy that’s also a satisfying whodunit, three strangers obsessed with true crime stories (Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez) investigate a gory killing in their fancy building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “Nathan Lane and Amy Ryan live in our building — she becomes my girlfriend,” Martin tells AARP. “Tina Fey is a very famous podcaster, and Sting plays himself, a celebrity in the building.”

Watch it: Only Murders in the Building, on Hulu

DON’T MISS THIS: Steve Martin and Martin Short spill the secrets of their murder mystery spoof.


Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo

(Netflix)

Kondo became a star by teaching people how to tidy up their homes and let go of possessions that possess them. Now she’s out to declutter your entire life: at work, at home, in your relationships.

Watch it: Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo, on Netflix


The Chair

(Netflix)

Don’t miss Sandra Oh’s comedy about the new chair of the English department at a floundering college. Jay Duplass is great as her fellow prof and maybe-lover-to-be, spiraling after his wife’s death, and Holland Taylor and Bob Balaban as irascible elder colleagues. It’s touching and funny, and a wicked satire of undergrad wokeness gone mad as a hatter to boot.

Watch it: The Chair, on Netflix

DON’T MISS THIS: Sandra Oh dishes on The Chair and turning 50


Fantasy Island

(Fox)

Who doesn’t remember the kitschy-fabulous original Fantasy Island that lit up Saturday nights in the late 1970s and early ’80s? Like everything nostalgic on TV, this juicy gem is back in a whole new reboot. Now Roselyn Sanchez (Without a Trace) steps into Ricardo Montalban’s shoes to help folks with fantasies learn a life lesson.

Watch it: Fantasy Island, on Fox

DON’T MISS THIS: It’s Reboot Mania Right Now in TV Land

AND SPEAKING OF FANTASY ISLAND: Take a beach walk down memory lane with our critics, who unearth some of the biggest celebrity appearances on the original show, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Sherman Hemsley and, yes, Tori Spelling. 

Check it out: 16 Classic Celebrity Appearances on Fantasy Island


Ted Lasso, Season 2

(Apple TV+)

If you watch only one show this summer, make it this one, a heartwarming, dark-horse hit comedy that’s the antidote to our bitter times. Jason Sudeikis plays a relentlessly upbeat American football coach who knows nada about soccer but gets hired to coach a soccer team in England. Apple TV+ has a first-week-free offer, and if you bought a new iPhone lately, you probably have a year’s free subscription on it.

Watch it: Ted Lasso, on Apple TV+

DON’T MISS THIS: 10 Facts You Need to Know About Jason Sudeikis’ Hit Show Ted Lasso


Atypical, Season 4

(Netflix)

In a smart, heartwarming family show by the talented auteur of Horrible Bosses, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport play the parents of a son (Keir Gilchrist) coming of age on the autism spectrum.

Watch it: Atypical, on Netflix

DON’T MISS THIS: Jennifer Jason Leigh Isn’t Afraid of Anything


Lupin, Part 2

(Netflix)

Part 1 of this suspenseful, mirthful, utterly wonderful thriller-comedy — inspired by a famous French literary character, gentleman thief Arsène Lupin — was Netflix’s utterly unexpected No. 1 hit this year. Omar Sy portrays the character modeled after Lupin, Assane Diop, who is out to avenge the downfall of his late father at the hands of rich guys who aren’t half as clever.

Watch it: Lupin, on Netflix

Don’t Miss This: Love Lupin? Here Are 10 Fantastic Foreign-Language Shows on Netflix Right Now


The Underground Railroad

(Amazon)

You knew this 10-episode adaptation of MacArthur genius Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning novel about escaping slaves by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk) would be worth seeing. But it turns out to be an epic, Handmaid’s Tale-topping dystopian masterpiece that dwarfs every other new film or TV show.

Watch it: The Underground Railroad, on Amazon Prime Video

DON’T MISS THIS: 11 Black Filmmakers You Should Know


The Upshaws

(Netflix)

Comedian/actress and force of nature Wanda Sykes produces and stars in a sitcom about an Indianapolis working-class couple, Bennie and Regina (Mike Epps from Survivor’s Remorse and The Facts of Life’s Kim Fields), who are raising three kids and his teen son from another woman. But Bennie’s biggest challenge is his tart-tongued sister-in-law, Lucretia (Sykes), who thinks he’s a charming, well-meaning and total mess of a man.

Watch it: The Upshaws, on Netflix

DON’T MISS THIS: Wanda Sykes Brings the Funny When We Need It Most


Hacks

(HBO Max)

In the intergenerational show of the year, Jean Smart (Designing Women, Mare of Easttown) stars as a Las Vegas comedy legend forced to mentor an up-and-coming comic (Hannah Einbinder). The show is much-buzzed, and insiders predict that Smart, who got Emmy nominations for Watchmen, Fargo and 24, may land her first lead actress nomination for this extremely juicy role. High time!

Watch it: Hacks, on HBO Max

DON’T MISS THIS: Getting Smart: Jean Smart shares her secrets about feeling sexy and nabbing the best roles of her life at 69


Godfather of Harlem, Season 2

(Epix)

Forest Whitaker, 59, returns for his second season as Bumpy Johnson, the real-life 1960s mobster who dated Lena Horne, played chess with Lucky Luciano and befriended Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. Joining the cast are Cliff “Method Man” Smith, as the Philly Black Mafia chief Sam Christian, and Annabella Sciorra, as mob wife Fay Bonanno.

Watch it: Godfather of Harlem, on Epix

Don’t miss this: Forest Whitaker talks with AARP about playing Bumpy Johnson and looks back on his life and shares what he knows now.


Your Honor

(Showtime)

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: Your Honor, on 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


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: Netflix


Tim Appelo covers entertainment and is the film and TV critic for AARP. Previously, he was the entertainment editor at Amazon, video critic at Entertainment Weekly, and a critic and writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, The Village Voice and LA Weekly.


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