Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

A motorcycle travelogue.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

ABC canceled “Stumptown” after all. Even though the show was initially renewed back in May, pandemic-related production delays derailed the would-be second season, according to Deadline. Sigh. I really liked that show.

Have a safe weekend.


This weekend I have … an hour and a young child

Mo Willems, as seen in “Don’t Let The Pigeon Do Storytime!”HBO Max

‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!’

When to watch: Now, on HBO Max.

The children’s book author and illustrator Mo Willems enlists a panel of celebrities for this special, filmed at the Kennedy Center in the Before Times, that features stories, sketches and live sound effects from Fred Newman. If you’re familiar with Willems’s recent Lunchtime Doodles web series, this has a similar madcap style, a high-energy nudge toward silliness and creativity, even if some of the obvious glee during the live performance does not fully translate onscreen. “Please draw,” Willems tells the grown-ups in the audience. “Please get caught drawing with your kids; it is a physicalized form of empathy.”


… three hours, and I crave adventure

Ewan McGregor, left, and Charley Boorman in “Long Way Up.”Apple TV+

‘Long Way Up’

When to watch: Now, on Apple TV+.

This is the third motorcycle adventure series starring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman: In “Long Way Round,” they rode from London to New York, and in “Long Way Down,” from John o’ Groats, Scotland, to Cape Town. “Up” takes them from the southernmost point of Argentina north to Los Angeles, a 13,000-mile ride. The show is a combo travelogue and making-of series, documenting the trip itself and the staggering amount of planning it requires. It’s hard not to love the easy camaraderie and moments of real bliss here, especially when leisure travel and cozy companionship are so impossible. The first three episodes are available Friday, and the subsequent eight will be available weekly.


… 10 hours, and I like Y.A. stories

From left, Brianna Hildebrand, Quintessa Swindell and Kiana Madeira in a scene from “Trinkets.”Netflix


When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

Season 2 of this teen drama about three girls who meet in a 12-step group for shoplifters picks up right where things left off, so I would start with Season 1 and let each batch of 10 half-hour episodes fly by. “Trinkets” feels like a cross between the earnestness of “The Fosters” and the juiciness of early “Pretty Little Liars,” a combo of the wholesome “we all make mistakes” and the more exciting “and some of those mistakes are honestly cool and alluring.” If you like “Make It or Break It” or “Switched at Birth,” but you want something a little edgier and with more interesting costumes, watch this.

Also this weekend

Anna Konkle, left, and Maya Erskine in the new season of “PEN15.”Hulu

  • Season 2 of “PEN15” is now streaming on Hulu.
  • Larry Wilmore’s new talk show, “Wilmore,” premieres Friday at 9 p.m. on Peacock.
  • The new season of “Last Tango in Halifax” starts Sunday at 8 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
  • The Emmys are Sunday night at 8 p.m. on ABC. You can find all of our Emmys coverage here, and we’ll be live-blogging the ceremony.

Your Friday double feature: Sporting women

Parminder Nagra in a scene from “Bend It Like Beckham.”Associated Press

‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and ‘Personal Best’

It’s been 18 years since the low-budget “Bend It Like Beckham” was a huge international hit, so it’s probably worth a reminder that David Beckham, the former British soccer star, had a talent for “bending” free kicks around a wall of defenders and slipping the ball into the back of the net. This cross-cultural rom-com from Gurinder Chadha exhibits a similar craftiness, too, in threading a story of assimilation around traditions it’s careful not to disrespect.

Now streaming on Disney+, “Bend It Like Beckham” made a star out of Keira Knightley, who plays the striker for a London women’s soccer team, but the true center of the film is Parminder Nagra as Jess, an 18-year-old phenom she recruits to the squad. Jess comes from a family of Indian Sikhs who blanch at the immodesty of the sport, so she starts playing in secret. A love triangle between the two women and their coach (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) adds some drama, but Jess’s efforts to square her dreams with her identity are what sets this crowd-pleaser apart.

The friendship and rivalry between teammates takes a more intimate turn in Robert Towne’s “Personal Best,” which explores the love between pentathletes (Mariel Hemingway and Patrice Donnelly) in the lead-up to the 1980 Summer Olympics. Although Towne’s script for the brooding detective noir “Chinatown” cemented his reputation as one of Hollywood’s best writers, this film is all about bodies in motion, emphasizing the fluidity of relationships on the track and in the bedroom. That it leads up to an event America boycotted makes it all the more personal and poignant. — Scott Tobias

Stream “Bend It Like Beckham” on Disney+. Rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.

Stream “Personal Best” on HBO Max. Rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.


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