Watching: Are You There, God?

It’s Steve Buscemi.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

If you’re feeling a little cooped up thanks to not traveling for the holidays, here are some of the year’s best travel photos to keep your wonder coffers stocked.

Have a safe and chill week.

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I’m not hungry hungry, but I could eat …

Steve Buscemi stars as God on “Miracle Workers.”TBS

‘Miracle Workers’
When to watch: Now, on HBO Max.

This quirky comedy is funny and smart and the good kind of bittersweet, and it blossoms from what feels like just a solid list of silly asides into a tender, surprising framing of all existence. Season 1 is set in heaven, with Steve Buscemi as an amiable dirtbag version of God, a checked out boss overseeing corporate tedium. Everything changes when Eliza (Geraldine Viswanathan) gets a new assignment answering prayers alongside Craig (Daniel Radcliffe), and she decides she wants to improve the department. But nothing goes quite how she wants — not in heaven, and definitely not on Earth.

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The season is only seven episodes, which I scarfed down in a sitting, but if you wanted to watch only one episode, pick Episode 6, in which God asks his family to help fund a business venture that combines a lazy river with a restaurant. If you miss “The Good Place,” if you have a favorite New Yorker cartoon, or if you wonder what it would be like if Todd from “BoJack Horseman” were God, watch this.

“Miracle Workers” is an anthology series, and Season 2, set in the Dark Ages, will begin streaming on HBO Max Jan. 10; in October, TBS ordered a third season, which will be set in the Wild West.

I want something spooky

A scene from “Equinox.”Tine Harden

‘Equinox’
When to watch: Arrives Wednesday, on Netflix.

Sometimes crime thrillers toy with the supernatural before offering pedestrian explanations for the freaky deaky, but not “Equinox” — it goes full-on into woodsy netherworlds and scary dreamscapes. Astrid was just a little girl when her older sister and her sister’s classmates disappeared in a mysterious accident, but now she’s a grown-up with a radio show and lingering trauma. Bring on the investigation! As in most dramas of this ilk, shady folks abound, as do cozy sweaters and windowed corridors where everyone can be observed having ominous conversations. If you like stories in which an egg is involved in an eerie ritual, watch this.

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Also this week

A scene from “Letterkenny.”Amanda Matlovich
  • Season 9 of the odd and wonderful Canadian comedy “Letterkenny” is now streaming on Hulu.
  • “American Masters: Laura Ingalls Wilder” airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
  • The final 10 episodes of “Vikings” arrive Wednesday on Amazon. (They’ll eventually make their way to History, where the show usually airs.)

Your newly available movies

Jamie Foxx voices the character Joe Gardner, right, in “Soul.”Disney/Pixar

The Christmas season is always a competitive one for major studios. But last weekend’s straight-to-streaming blockbusters were a battle for clicks instead of tix, with HBO Max’s “Wonder Woman” sequel pitted against the new Pixar animated film “Soul” on Disney+. Our critics had a clear favorite.

Some independent films are available via “virtual cinemas,” which share the rental fees between distributors and theaters. Unless otherwise noted, other titles can generally be rented on the usual platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube. — Scott Tobias

‘Dear Comrades’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Film Forum virtual cinema)

[The director Andrei] Konchalovsky complements the screw-tightening atmosphere with a claustrophobic visual style. “Dear Comrades!” is shot in black-and-white and in near-square image dimensions instead of wide-screen. Even the choice of angles, with an emphasis on doorways and private spaces, contributes to the sense of lives lived furtively. — Ben Kenigsberg (Read the full review here.)

‘Soul’ (A Critic’s Pick; Disney+ only)

“Soul” tries, within the imperatives of branded commercial entertainment, to carve out an identity for itself as something other than a blockbuster or a technologically revolutionary masterpiece. It’s a small, delicate movie that doesn’t hit every note perfectly, but its combination of skill, feeling and inspiration is summed up in the title. — A.O. Scott (Read the full review here.)

‘Sylvie’s Love’ (A Critic’s Pick; Amazon Prime only)

Desire and dreams meet beautifully in “Sylvie’s Love,” an old-fashioned romance for 21st-century hearts. Modestly scaled yet emotionally expansive, it tracks a pair of young lovers over years of happiness and regret, from the late 1950s to the early ’60s. — Manohla Dargis (Read the full review here.)

‘The War With Grandpa’

“The War With Grandpa” is relentlessly anodyne, from the cartoony lettering of the opening credits on. Even its bad-taste jokes, culminating in some awkward corpse inspection at a funeral, land in the nicest way possible. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ (HBO Max only)

Patty Jenkins is behind the camera again, but this time without the confidence. Certainly some of the problems can be pinned on the uninterestingly janky script, a mess of goofy jokes, storytelling clichés and dubious politics. — Manohla Dargis (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:

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