There’s a big dose of nostalgia for grownups this week on the small screen. The cult 1980s and ’90s comedy series The Kids in the Hall is rebooting with an all-grownup cast, the 2003 best-selling The Time Traveler’s Wife is a fresh series, and Netflix has every Downton Abbey episode for pre-movie binge-watching. See what other TV treats our critics are pounding the sofa cushions about ... and pass the remote!
A cult TV comedy classic is all grown up ... and back!
The Kids in the Hall
From 1988 to 1995, the Kids (Dave Foley and four less famous, equally funny guys) were the most eccentrically inventive Canadian comedy troupe to hit America since SCTV. Now they’re 27 years older, wiser, not a bit saner, and streaming new sketches (along with their earlier seasons) on Amazon.
Watch it: The Kids in the Hall on Amazon Prime
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This new Netflix series is the closest thing you’ll get to Law & Order
The Lincoln Lawyer
Matthew McConaughey gave his career a big boost with the 2011 movie adapted from Michael Connelly’s first best-selling novel about Mickey Haller, a clever Los Angeles lawyer whose office is his car. Now überproducer David E. Kelley (The Practice, Big Little Lies, L.A. Law) makes a series from the second Haller novel, starring Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, who’s less flashy but grows on you. Neve Campbell is good as his first ex-wife and Becki Newton is bubbly as his second ex-wife, helping him get his career back on track. It’s not quite as rich as the other new Connelly show Bosch: Legacy, but it’s a solid courtroom drama/detective show — the closest thing streaming has to Law & Order.
Watch it: The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix
Don’t miss this: Inside the Criminal Mind of Michael Connelly
Everyone’s must-read romantic novel is finally coming to TV
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The time is ripe for the six-episode series version of the 2003 best seller about the love of a woman’s life who keeps popping up at various moments in her life, time-tripping at various ages of his life, inconveniently naked and needing clothes fast. Now the world is awash with tales of multiverses and multiple timelines, so TTTW has never been more timely. Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) is winsome as the ambiguously blessed woman, Theo James (Divergent) is OK as the involuntary time tripper, and the director (Game of Thrones’ David Nutter) and producer (Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat) have illustrious résumés. The show isn’t superb, but its romance and charming star make it far more watchable than the 2009 movie version with Rachel McAdams.
Grab a little neon pink 1980s nostalgia with this fresh series
The most unlikely star ever to hit Hollywood was Angelyne, the buxom, pink Corvette-driving character who appeared out of nowhere on billboards all over Los Angeles in the 1980s. She had no publicist nor agent, no movie or show to promote — only herself, and her bizarre anonymity. In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter at last revealed she was a Holocaust survivor’s child who remade herself as a performance artist with an imagination worthy of Warhol. Emily Rossum (Shameless) adapted her story and stars as the big pink mystery woman so famous for being well known, yet totally unknowable.
Watch it: Angelyne, coming May 19 to Peacock
Your Netflix watch of the week is here!
Downton Abbey: Series 1 to 6
Get ready for the May 18 movie Downton Abbey: A New Era by seizing your last chance to chill with the show that made Britons of us all. You’ll enjoy the second Downton film (better than the first!) more if you’re up on the complicated backstory. It leaves Netflix May 31.
Watch it: Downton Abbey on Netflix
Don’t miss this: The 27 Best Things Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix in May
Are you hooked on Abbott Elementary yet? Meet its most grownup star!
The season’s brightest new comedy features a cast of mockumentary students and young teachers, but 70-year-old William Stanford Davis is the grownup star of the class. AARP talks with Davis about his most inspiring teachers, being in a band in high school, and why acting became his calling.
Get the story: William Stanford Davis of 'Abbott Elementary' Is a Class Act
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?
Catch the best Broadway plays in recent memory — from your sofa!
Some of the hottest new movies are made from plays — like The Humans and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. With omicron putting a serious dent in our Great White Way aspirations, we’ve got 14 Tony Award standouts made into movies, all streaming right now.
Get the list: The Best Broadway Hits You Can Watch at Home
Hot TV Tip of the Week
Ready to (finally!) get a handle of which streaming services you want, which ones to ditch, and which ones are – deep breath – free? We’ve got seven simple steps to taking control of your TV in all the right ways: How to (Finally!) Organize Your Streaming Services
Bonus: Want to watch more films for free? We’ve got the inside scoop: How to Get Video on Demand for Free
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.
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!
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
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The seven-season Amazon hit series Bosch gets a spinoff on Freevee (which used to be IMDb TV), this one with ads so it’s free to watch. It’s pretty much an eighth season of the original, only now irritable, admirable Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver, 60) has quit LAPD to be a PI, and he has a new tech sidekick named Mo (Stephen Chang), who’s like James Bond’s Q, except that Bond understands Q’s gizmos and Bosch is a luddite. His doting daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) is an LAPD rookie cop, and Bosch’s frienemy, lawyer Honey “Money” Chandler (Mimi Rogers, 66), is now his ally. Legendary William Devane, 82, plays a zillionaire client who wants Bosch to find the lost love of his youth.
Watch it: Bosch: Legacy, on Freevee
Hacks, Season 2
Could the 2022 Hacks possibly be as clever, funny and touching as its triumphant, Emmy-gobbling first season? Yes! Seasoned Vegas standup Deborah (Jean Smart, 70) and her entitled young cowriter Ava (Hannah Einbinder) go on the road in an RV for a comedy tour. Their inseparable bickering only bonds them ever more tightly — but Ava gets plastered and trashes her boss in emails she wishes she could unsend. New this season: guest stars Laurie Metcalf, 66, and Margaret Cho, 53.
Watch it: Hacks, on HBO Max
DON’T MISS THIS: Getting Smart: Jean Smart shares her secrets
Operation Mincemeat (2021)
John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) directs Colin Firth, 61, in an adaptation of the true World War II story Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory.
In yet another terrific true-crime series (and the second Colin Firth smash hit this week), Firth plays Michael Peterson, the seemingly doting husband of Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette), who winds up gorily dead at the foot of their stairs. Though the documentary about the case, also called The Staircase (on Netflix) it also addictively good, the Firth version is even better.
Watch it: The Staircase, on HBO Max
Grace and Frankie (Season 7, Part 2)
The most AARP-friendly, longest-running Netflix smash concludes its adventures, with Dolly Parton joining stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. What could be sweeter than the reunion of the 9 to 5 cast 42 years later — at ages 76, 84 and 82 — at the peak of their powers and the apex of their honors?
Watch it: Grace and Frankie, on Netflix
Masterpiece: Ridley Road
In a drama inspired by the real-life fight against neo-Nazis in 1960s London, a Jewish girl (Agnes O’Casey) tries to infiltrate a fascist group to save her anti-fascist boyfriend. Brilliant Rita Tushingham, 80 (Dr. Zhivago), plays her landlord, and Eddie Marsan, 53, is the head of the Nazi-hunting 62 Group.
Watch it: Ridley Road, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET, on PBS
Ozark (Season 4, Part 2)
In the stay-up-all-night-bingeing final seven episodes of the killer crime series, Missouri’s answer to Lady Macbeth (Laura Linney, 53) slyly vies to use her drug cartel cash to buy control of Midwest politics. Her uxorious hubby (Jason Bateman, 53) strives with desperate ingenuity to keep his clan alive as the gangsters and FBI close in. This show is on a par with Better Call Saul.
Watch it: Ozark, on Netflix
Barry, Season 3
(HBO, HBO Max)
A promising student (Bill Hader) of a passionate acting teacher (Henry Winkler) keeps trying to leave his former profession as an assassin but keeps getting dragged back. It makes for a tough balancing act when he lands a part on a hot TV show. In Season 3, the comic drama gets as dark and morally knotty as Better Call Saul. Like Bob Odenkirk’s Saul, Hader’s Barry proves that an SNL funnyman can turn out to be one of the great dramatic actors on TV.
(HBO, HBO Max)
Rain Man director Barry Levinson, 80, tells the real-life story of Poland’s Harry Haft, who was forced to fight 76 other Auschwitz prisoners for the entertainment of SS officers before escaping to America and fighting Rocky Marciano. USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Emeritus Stephen D. Smith has called it “one of the best contributions to Holocaust filmography since Schindler's List.”
Russian Doll, Season 2
In the superb first season, an East Village hipster (Natasha Lyonne) repeatedly relived her 36th birthday party à la Groundhog Day or Palm Springs. In Season 2 she has escaped that time loop. Now pushing 40, she steps into a Manhattan subway car in 2022 and steps off in 1982, where she meets her late, mentally troubled mother (genius Chloë Sevigny) and tries to solve a family mystery involving Krugerrands stolen by Nazis. This season is more like Back to the Future crossed with Quantum Leap. It’s a messier fantasy than the perfectly contained first season, but still smart and absorbing — a head trip well worth taking.
Watch it: Russian Doll, on Netflix
Anatomy of a Scandal
In Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley’s latest scandalous courtroom thriller limited series, Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery is a prosecutor on the trail of British politician James Whitehouse (Rupert Friend), who has had an affair with an aide — or is he actually a rapist who strikes in elevators? Sienna Miller plays his wife, facing the consequences of her life of privilege, and the prosecutor has some secrets of her own. It’s not as good as Big Little Lies by a long shot, but it does scratch the same itch. It’s the kind of show that makes you exclaim, “That plot point in that flashback was far-fetched and unconvincing! Now let’s stay up late and find out what happens next.”
Watch it: Anatomy of a Scandal, on Netflix
A Chicago public defender (Law & Order veteran Courtney B. Vance, 62) is days away from retirement, and facing prostate cancer. But when a young track star with a college scholarship gets accused of a cop killing, and there’s an evidence-planting cop on the kid’s trail, how can he turn away? His politician wife (Aunjanue Ellis, 53, who out-acted Will Smith in King Richard) is displeased. It’s not the world’s most original show premise, but there aren’t many actors this good on TV right now.
Watch it: 61st Street, Sundays, 10 p.m. ET, on AMC
All the Old Knives
(Amazon Prime Video)
In this Amazon Original film with John le Carré DNA, the CIA’s irritable director (Laurence Fishburne, 60) tells his handsomest agent (Chris Pine) that there’s a mole responsible for a jet hijacking disaster eight years ago in Vienna — and it just might be the agent’s ex-girlfriend and CIA colleague (Thandie Newton, 49), now retired in heavenly Carmel, California. Or could the villain be another tipsy, slippery old CIA agent (Jonathan Pryce, 74)? Whom can you trust, anyhow?
Watch it: All the Old Knives, on Amazon Prime
Jane Seymour plays a retired-professor-turned-sleuth who discards lovers like tissues and cracks her detective son’s murder cases through literary knowledge. Says Seymour, “I don’t think I’ve been as excited by anything since Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman!”
Watch it: Harry Wild, on Acorn TV
Don’t miss this: Jane Seymour Goes Wild
Liked Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy? Try him as a flatulent, irascible master spy now reduced to leading a team of the biggest losers in British intelligence, investigating a white nationalist kidnapping. Kristin Scott Thomas plays a nasty MI5 official.
Watch it: Slow Horses, on Apple TV+
Bridgerton, Season 2
In the return of Netflix’s most-watched episodic series, irascible Lord Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) auditions an eager parade of wannabe wives, but he’s beguiled by his verbal duels with an elusive, irritably and Austenishly feminist, utterly gorgeous old maid of 26 (Simone Ashley of Sex Education), newly arrived from Bombay. No, Bailey isn’t incandescently sexy like last season’s Regé-Jean Page, but Ashley is, and if the second season’s lovemaking is less steamy than the first’s, the love lives are intriguingly complex and there’s a Dickensian wealth of vivid characters. Claudia Jessie is adorable as Bridgerton’s kid sister, who hates having to debut before the vain queen (Golda Rosheuvel) and wants to sleuth out the identity of town gossip Lady Whistledown — only she doesn’t know it’s her wallflower best friend (Nicola Coughlan), who’s sweating over getting outed. The anachronistic soundtrack works great: Nirvana’s “Stay Away” is perfect for standoffish neurotic Lord B. And the show is still way more satisfying than The Bachelor.
Watch it: Bridgerton, on Netflix
Love Bridgerton? How about Grey’s Anatomy? Then don’t miss our ultimate Shondaland ranking: Shonda Rhimes’ Best TV Shows of All Time (So Far!)
Meryl Streep, move over — Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) steals some of her thunder as French chef and TV star Julia Child in an eight-part bio-series from the creator of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The grownup cast is amazing: David Hyde Pierce as her not entirely un-Niles Crane-like husband, Bebe Neuwirth as her bestie, James Cromwell as her stern dad, and Isabella Rossellini as her coauthor.
Watch it: Julia, on HBO Max
Killing Eve, Season 4
(BBC America, AMC, AMC+)
In the final season of the smashing cat-and-mouse thriller about two driven, mutually obsessed women (Sandra Oh, 50, and Jodie Comer), the charismatic psycho killer (Comer) joins a religious community to be a better person, while the renegade MI6 spy (Oh) gets in touch with her dark side. No show boasts better clothes or cooler soundtrack tunes.
My Brilliant Friend: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
(HBO, HBO Max)
The best series ever about female friendship, taken from the brilliant fiction of Elena Ferrante, returns for a third season. It’s the 1970s, and Elena (Margherita Mazzucco) has married a professor, published a prestigious novel and risen above her lowly Naples upbringing. Her lifelong bestie Lila (Gaia Gerace), smarter but forced to skip college and marry a local thug, becomes a single mom working in a ghastly factory. Are they still besties? It’s complicated.
Law & Order
The ripped-from-the-headlines police procedural that launched the AARP generations’ TV franchise fave is back after 12 years off the air (and 32 years after its debut), complete with beloved cast members Sam Waterston and Anthony Anderson, who says, ”The mothership is back, baby.”
Watch it: Law & Order, Thursdays, 8 p.m. ET, on NBC (followed by Law & Order: SVU at 9 p.m. and Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10 p.m.)
Don’t miss this: Anthony Anderson Brings the Heat to the New Law & Order
Members Only Access: Get reacquainted with Camryn Manheim, Law & Order’s new lieutenant
Halle Berry, 55, doesn’t play nice in her gritty feature directorial debut. In a cross between Million Dollar Baby and Raging Bull, she stars as hard-drinking MMA vet Jackie Justice. The fighter’s spectacular flameout in the cage left the Newark, New Jersey, native in a spiral of booze, abuse and bad choices. When the 6-year-old son Jackie abandoned as an infant suddenly shows up, mute and damaged, it puts her at a crossroads: Can she regain her dignity and find her inner dragon mom? You betcha — and it will all end in one thrilling flyweight title fight, with a little help from Jackie’s gay trainer, Buddhakan (striking Sheila Atim). Go, Berry, for taking your muscular, agile self where Antoine Fuqua, 55, once took Denzel Washington, 66, and for showing audiences the magnitude of your range. Kick butt, break rules and direct your first feature after 50? Maybe Berry could be the next Bond.
Watch it: Bruised, on Netflix
Don’t miss this: How Halle Berry found her groove
Yellowstone, Season 4
One of TV’s biggest hits sounds a lot like Succession, only it’s got eight times as many viewers: Kevin Costner, 66, plays John Dutton, a fabulously wealthy Montana rancher whose kids fight for his approval, and he schemes to thwart developers, Indigenous tribes and other rivals for power. Think of it as Succession with murders, or The Godfather with cowboy hats. Costner's tall-in-the-saddle tyrant evidently survived last season's cliffhanger ending, when he faced a fusillade of bullets. But now he faces a scary new enemy. Market Equities, the deep-pocket firm that tried to heist his ranch and turn it into an airport/ski lodge development, just hired a new CEO (Jacki Weaver, 74, Oscar nominated for the must-see movies Silver Linings Playbook and Animal Kingdom). “She’s a city slicker walking through fields of cowpats in designer heels and classy tailored suits," Weaver told TV Insider. "She looks out of place, but she’s terrifying."
Watch it: Yellowstone, on Paramount Network
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, on HBO Max
Don’t miss this: 10 Things to Know About Succession
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
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
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.