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What to Watch on TV and Streaming This Week

Celebrate the national holiday with America’s natural grandeur and patriotic movies!

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Here comes the Fourth of July weekend, and while we know it’s all about cookouts and sparklers in the backyard, we also know you need a break from the action and a little TV time. Don’t we all? See what our critics have in store for your holiday weekend — from two new glorious nature documentaries to our favorite patriotic movies that are ready to stream right now. Happy Fourth to all …  and pass the remote!

Remind yourself of the sheer physical beauty of our nation this weekend

America the Beautiful

Michael B. Jordan narrates National Geographic’s patriotism-swelling documentary about the nation’s most spectacular locations: fruited plains, waves of grain, the works. Made by the genius auteurs of Planet Earth, it may be the first nature documentary to use jet-mounted cameras like those that brought you Top Gun: Maverick — which is the top pick on our list Star-Spangled Patriotic Movies to Watch on July Fourth Weekend (check out the link below!).

Watch it: America the Beautiful on Disney+

Don’t miss this: Star-Spangled Patriotic Movies to Watch on July Fourth Weekend


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And while you’re at it, remind yourself of the sheer physical beauty of our globe this weekend

The Green Planet

Sir David Attenborough, 96, treks from the jungles to the poles in a five-part BBC series that uses robot cameras, thermal imaging and microscopy to reveal the secrets of plants that can plan, count, remember, care for their young and injured — and hunt animals. 

Watch it: The Green Planet, coming July 6, 8 p.m. ET, to PBS


Your Netflix watch of the week is here!

Stranger Things, Season 4, Vol. 2

Why did Netflix present the two grand finale episodes of its biggest hit’s fourth season as its own “volume”? Because each episode of the sprawling story of teens battling underworld demons is long — longer than the Spielberg and Stephen King flicks to which it’s an homage. (Also, Netflix needs a hit this month since its stock crashed 70 percent.) It’s a rich mix, and Winona Ryder, 50, gives it grownup energy in her first TV role, as a mom seeking her son lost in the otherworld. She also counseled the kid cast and lectured the show’s creators on how to keep its 1980s cultural references authentic, like the 1985 Kate Bush hit Stranger Things boosted to No. 1 in 2022 (in the real world).

Watch it: Stranger Things, on Netflix

Don’t miss this: The 27 Best Things Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix in July


​Are you hooked on Abbott Elementary yet? Meet its most grownup star!

William Stanford Davis smiles in a scene from the ABC show Abbott Elementary

Scott Everett White/ABC

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!

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?


Hot TV Tip of the Week​​

A smartphone showing logos of different streaming services on the screen

Ralf Liebhold/Alamy Stock Photo

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?

Cast photos of The Jeffersons, Seinfeld and The Office

CBS via Getty Images; Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

(Left to right) Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford in "The Jeffersons," Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jerry Seinfeld in "Seinfeld" and Steve Carell in "The Office."

​Is it M*A*S*HI Love LucyThe 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. ​

Get the list: This Is the All-Time Best Sitcom in TV History — Can You Guess What It Is?​​


Also catch up with ...

Only Murders in the Building, Season 2

(Hulu)

Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez and Nathan Lane are back in the hit comedy about true-crime podcasters investigating a killing in their fancy Manhattan apartment building, the Arconia. Last season, they nabbed a murderer, but now they’re the suspects in the death of the Arconia’s owner (Jayne Houdyshell). A rival (Tina Fey) accuses them in her podcast, Only Murderers in the Building, and guest stars Shirley MacLaine, Andrea Martin, Amy Ryan and Amy Schumer (playing herself) complicate the plot.

Watch it: Only Murders in the Building, on Hulu


Loot

(Apple TV+)

Maya Rudolph, who turns 50 on Monday, plays a woman who divorces her jerk husband (Adam Scott) after 20 years and runs a charity to give away some of her $87 billion settlement. Created by writers for Parks and Recreation, it’s The Office with a midlife-reset theme. 

Watch it: Loot, on Apple TV+


Money Heist: Korea — Joint Economic Area

(Netflix)

In the Korean version of Netflix’s popular Spanish action show about criminals recruited by “the Professor” (in this case, Oldboy‘s Yoo Ji-tae, 46) to rob big money from the national mint, North and South Korea are not at war, and everybody’s out for cash — including BTS, who play packed shows up north.

Watch it: Money Heist: Korea — Joint Economic Area, on Netflix

Don’t miss this: Korean Shows Are Ruling TV Right Now, and Here’s What to Watch


The Upshaws (Season 2)

(Netflix)

Wanda Sykes waxes sardonic as the big sister of an Indianapolis woman (Kim Fields) married to a car mechanic (Mike Epps) who could use some improvement, she thinks.

Watch it: The Upshaws, on Netflix


You Don’t Know Me

(Netflix)

Fans of murder mysteries where you can’t decide if the accused is guilty or not (Colin Firth’s The Staircase, Hugh Grant’s The Undoing) will love this courtroom drama series about an honest (or is he?) London car salesman (Samuel Adewunmi) with a dead girlfriend who fires his lawyer and represents himself. A rare BBC hit with a 95 percent Black cast.

Watch it: You Don’t Know Me, on Netflix


The Old Man

(FX, Hulu)

In his first lead TV role, Jeff Bridges, 72, plays a CIA agent who went off the grid after Russia’s 1980s Afghanistan invasion and is now being sought by his old partner (John Lithgow, 76). “Our chickens have come home to roost — the consequences of our earlier behavior,” says Bridges, who’s glad to be back at work after an almost two-year battle with cancer and COVID. “I feel terrific!”

Watch it: The Old Man, on FX and Hulu


The Lincoln Lawyer

(Netflix)

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 PracticeBig Little LiesL.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


Bosch: Legacy

(Amazon Freevee)

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

Don’t miss this: Titus Welliver explains his new, more noir-ish spinoff show Bosch: Legacy


Hacks, Season 2

(HBO Max)

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


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.

Watch it: Barry, on HBO and HBO Max​


The Survivor

(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.”​

Watch it: The Survivor, on HBO and HBO Max

Don’t miss this: The Champ From Auschwitz


Slow Horses

(Apple TV+)

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+


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


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.