This week, Selena Gomez shows how she's getting through the pandemic — by inviting famous chefs to cook in her home on camera — and Tracy Morgan finds a new lease on life on The Last OG. Plus, celebrate Wes Anderson's new mega-quirky comedy The French Dispatch by watching his greatest hits from the comfort of your couch.
Have a Wes Anderson film festival on TV
The big news for fans of indie genius Wes Anderson, 52, is The French Dispatch (Oct. 22 ), a love letter to The New Yorker magazine if it were published in Paris, edited by Bill Murray and peopled by extreme eccentrics (Frances McDormand, Henry Winkler, Willem Dafoe and many more). Also if the place were named Ennui-sur-Blasé instead of Paris. See it (or await its streaming debut), but first treat yourself to Anderson’s four greatest hits right now:
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
A high-strung concierge (Ralph Fiennes) at a 1930s European hotel as pretty as a wedding cake caters to older folks and copes with a highly stylish murder.
2. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
A lovestruck Boy Scout runs off with his beloved, pursued by grownups played by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Bill Murray. Truffaut never made a sweeter film about young love.
Watch it: Moonrise Kingdom, on HBO Max
3. Rushmore (1999)
A teenage stage impresario (Jason Schartzmann) befriends, then wars against a tycoon (Bill Murray) in one of the most original intergenerational coming-of-age comedies ever made.
Watch it: Rushmore, on Hulu
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
The French Dispatch is live action enlivened by animation, so it’s a good time to discover Anderson’s animated flick about a sly fox (George Clooney) who leads an Ocean’s Eleven-style raid on a neighbor’s farm.
Watch it: Fantastic Mr. Fox, on Disney+
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The Last O.G., Season 4
Tracy Morgan, 52, having bounced back from a near-fatal accident, stars in this hit about Tray, an ex-con back in bewilderingly gentrified Brooklyn after 15 years in the clink. This season, Tray bounces back from a violent attack and has a personal reawakening.
Selena + Chef, Season 3
Newly blond Selena Gomez, the sizzling star of Steve Martin’s Only Murders in the Building, invites friends, family and celebrity chefs — including Jamie Oliver, Kwame Onwuachi and Padma Lakshmi — to her kitchen.
NOVA: Universe Revealed
PBS and BBC present the history and future life story of our universe. See the birth of a star, colliding galaxies, a star flung like a slingshot by a black hole, the day when the stars leave us in darkness and other wonders.
Watch it: NOVA: Universe Revealed, coming Oct. 27 to PBS, 9 p.m. ET Wednesdays (check local listings)
Don’t miss our Netflix pick of the week!
Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie can’t hold a candle to John Travolta as 1962 Baltimore mom Edna Turnblad in John Waters’ irresistible musical comedy about race relations and teen dance shows. Michelle Pfeiffer sizzles and inspires giggles as wicked Velma Von Tussle.
Watch it: Hairspray, on Netflix
Are you the Master of your Domain?
If you get this headline, then you’re going to love our latest critics’ roundup. In honor of all 180 episodes of Seinfeld arriving on Netflix this weekend, we’ve picked the 20 best episodes in the landmark sitcom about nothing, and ranked them. Who wins — the Soup Nazi or Elaine dancing? Did your favorite make the list?
Check it out here: The 20 Best Episodes of Seinfeld, Ranked
What is the best, most hilarious TV sitcom of all time?
CBS via Getty Images; Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Is it M*A*S*H? I Love Lucy? The Jeffersons? Since 1951, great situation comedies have been brightening our prime times, and it’s high time to name the best of the best. Our critics went through the entire history of the small screen to name the 25 all-time best sitcoms. Bonus? We ranked them! Get the whole countdown, watch hilarious video clips, and see if our list matches yours.
Paging all Schitt’s Creek fans!
Love that wry Canadian point of view that has defined the Netflix cult favorite (and snagged a bunch of Emmys along the way)? We thought so, which is why we decided it was high time to celebrate our neighbors to the north with this grade-A roundup. Whether it's more Canadian humor, stirring dramas or sweeping adventures, you’ll discover a whole world up there.
Get the list: 11 Great Canadian Films and TV Shows Streaming Now
Your feel-good watchlist of the week is here (and queer!)
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!
Did you know that one man controls three entire nights of prime time network programming?
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
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!
Love game shows? You’re going to love this watch list!
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?
Pssst… we know what’s coming to TV this fall!
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
From football and ice hockey to professional wrestling, these TV comedies are all-star fun
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!
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 ...
Succession, Season 3
In the superb show about power struggles in a super-rich, entertainingly evil family, downtrodden son Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) has the upper hand over his domineering dad, Logan (Brian Cox, 75), who vows to “go full [expletive] beast” on his offspring. New cast members Alexander Skarsgard and Adrien Brody liven up the wicked mix.
Watch it: Succession, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET, HBO
Don’t miss this: 10 Things to Know About Succession
B Positive, Season 2
In the comedy series about a retirement community from the maker of The Big Bang Theory and The Kominsky Project, grownups are taking over. Linda Lavin (83) plays a sharp, witty resident of the Valley Hills Assisted Living facility, a surrogate mom to impulsive young Valley Hills van driver Gina (Annaleigh Ashford). The killer cast includes Celia Weston (69), Lavin’s costar on TV’s classic Alice, as the terminally ill wife of a brusque Valley Hills resident (Héctor Elizondo, 84), Jane Seymour (70), as a beauty who finds aging unwelcome, and Ben Vereen (74) as a retired professor with memory issues.
DON’T MISS THIS: Linda Lavin tells AARP her 16 steps to aging well
Grantchester, Season 6
A highlight of PBS Masterpiece’s 50th anniversary season is this ripping series about crime fighters DI Geordie Keating (Robson Green) and the not strictly celibate Rev. Will Davenport (Tom Brittney), investigating murder and moral dilemmas in 1958 Cambridgeshire.
In a new Netflix original series adapting Stephanie Land’s best-selling memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive, Margaret Qualley plays a single mom and Andie MacDowell, 63 (her actual mom), plays her lively, apparently mentally ill mother who refuses treatment and acts out in a dramatic way that is God’s gift to an actress. A grueling but important study of domestic abuse, poverty and overwhelming dysfunction.
Watch it: Maid, on Netflix
The Great British Baking Show
A dozen veddy British bakers, including a software developer, a retired detective and a dancer, vie to inspire the taste buds of judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith in Season 9 of this heartwarming hit that makes you feel cozy. And hungry.
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?
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.
DON’T MISS THIS: It's Reboot Mania Right Now in TV Land
Blood Brothers: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, PG-13
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.
Only Murders in the Building
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.
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
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
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
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
The Underground Railroad
(Amazon Prime Video)
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.
DON’T MISS THIS: 11 Black Filmmakers You Should Know
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
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.
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.