Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

If you need a little tenderness.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

The first episode of the new season of “The Great British Baking Show” is now streaming on Netflix, and I’m delighted to tell you it’s fantastic — a few high-drama moments and a frankly hilarious showstopper challenge. We need this.

Have a safe weekend.

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This weekend I have … a half-hour and an imagination

Gobo, left, and Mokey on “Fraggle Rock.”HBO, via YouTube

‘Fraggle Rock’

When to watch: Now, on Apple TV+.

“Fraggle Rock” has come and gone from streaming platforms over the years, and happily four seasons of it have resurfaced, this time on Apple TV+. (The platform is also home to the very charming current reboot, “Fraggle Rock: Rock On!”) The show debuted in 1983, but its themes of mutuality and curiosity are timeless. If you’re picturing the bouncy earnestness that defines a lot of Muppet material for young viewers, there is plenty of that. But “Fraggle Rock” also has a lot of the dreamy melancholy that’s more “Muppet Show” than “Sesame Street.” “Why do caterpillars crawl?” Mokey sings in one episode. “Why is there a sky? Why is there a world at all? Why do I ask ‘why’?” Big sigh.

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… a half-hour, and I need tenderness

A scene from the season premiere of “Bob’s Burgers.”Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

‘Bob’s Burgers’

When to watch: Sunday at 9 p.m., on Fox.

Oh thank God, “Bob’s Burgers” is back for its new season, and not a moment too soon: We could all use some love, understanding, patience, support, mild sexual energy and recipe suggestions right about now. The season kicks off with Bob feeling bad about being vaguely irresponsible and Tina facing a crisis of not being able to do those hand-clapping playground games and songs. If you miss the “Schitt’s Creek” vibe of “we are a family who supports one another, and especially supports one another’s quirks, strange passions and rigid rules around certain kinds of social behaviors,” consider “Bob’s Burgers” your next move. (Previous seasons are on Hulu.)

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… several hours, and I read a lot of headlines

Oscar Pistorius, center, leaving his sentencing hearing in 2016.Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images

‘30 for 30: The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius’

When to watch: Arrives Sunday on ESPN+.

The South African Olympian and Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide in 2014 for shooting and killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in his home. But as with any instance of catastrophic violence, the story starts earlier and ends later than it seems. This new four-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary is a thorough look at Pistorius’s life, his country’s history and the mesmerizing circus that arises when sports, celebrity and crime overlap.

Also this weekend

Season 4 of “Fargo” starts Sunday.Elizabeth Morris/FX

  • “Utopia” is now streaming on Amazon. I was really excited for this, but I made it through only two episodes before its unrelenting violence overwhelmed me. If you like swirling conspiracies, want a show that’s about dangerous viruses and savor gruesome on-screen torture, today’s your day, and we honor your joy.
  • “A Wilderness of Error,” a new true-crime series, starts Friday at 8 p.m. on FX.
  • The Amber Ruffin Show starts Friday at 9 p.m. on Peacock.
  • Season 32 of “The Simpsons” starts Sunday at 8 p.m. on Fox.
  • “The Comey Rule” starts Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.
  • And finally, “Fargo” returns for its fourth season with back-to-back episodes starting Sunday at 9 p.m., on FX.

Your weekend double feature: Jacques Perrin nature films

Stay tough out there, baby. In “Oceans,” a green turtle crawls across Europa Island, near the coast of Madagascar.Disneynature

‘Oceans’ and ‘Winged Migration’

The French filmmaker Jacques Perrin started his film career as an actor and producer, working with world-class directors like Costa-Gavras on “Z” and Jacques Demy on “The Young Girls of Rochefort.” When he turned his attention to nature documentaries with the groundbreaking 1996 film “Microcosmos,” which he produced, Perrin brought with him the sensibility of an artist.

Perrin conforms to certain aspects of the child-friendly Disneynature formula for “Oceans” (2010), now streaming on Disney+, but he deploys the company’s significant resources toward images and sequences of staggering beauty. Yes, there’s the usual anthropomorphized storytelling and New Age-y narration (here by Pierce Brosnan). But Perrin and his co-director, Jacques Cluzaud, also turn a crustacean’s egg into a planet, witness a rocket-launch through the eyes of a marine iguana and draw tension from watching sea gulls dive after baby sea turtles.

Perrin’s “Winged Migration” (2003), co-directed by Cluzaud and Michel Debats, was an even purer experiment in nature documentary filmmaking, dispensing almost entirely with narration and using simple titles to note the migratory journeys of different birds. The aerial photography allows not only for a hushed appreciation of formations and flight but also for a unique topography of the planet, as birds fly over cities, mountains and oceans. The film’s educational value may be minimal, but as an appreciation of nature’s ecstatic poetry, it’s an ornithological delight. — Scott Tobias

Stream “Oceans” on Disney+. Rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.

Rent “Winged Migration” on Amazon, Apple TV and Vudu.

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