Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

Awkward small talk, frantic shopping sprees.

By Margaret Lyons

Dear Watchers,

Quibi is shutting down, despite raising $1.75 billion, because even though money can buy dozens and dozens of short-form web series, it can’t buy everything.

Elsewhere, residents of a town in England have created a hedgehog highway for our prickly pals.

Have a safe weekend.

This weekend I have … a half-hour, and awkward is a virtue

John Wilson in “How To With John Wilson.”HBO

‘How To With John Wilson’

When to watch: Friday at 11 p.m., on HBO.

John Wilson almost never actually appears on this show, but “How To” is entirely from his perspective, with omnipresent voice-over and footage that seems to be collected from constant autobiography, which only become discrete stories through video collage. There are six episodes of the show, and they vary tremendously; the series premiere, “How To Make Small Talk,” radiates so much anxiety I almost had a contact panic attack, but “How To Cover Your Furniture,” the fourth episode, stunned me with its loveliness and perceptiveness. If you like the podcast “Reply All” or your favorite show is “Nathan for You,” watch this.

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… an hour, and I want something energetic

Leslie Jones hosts “Supermarket Sweep.”Eric McCandless/ABC

‘Supermarket Sweep’

When to watch: Sunday at 8 p.m., on ABC.

This reboot of the beloved game show, now hosted by Leslie Jones, captures the goofy franticness of the original but adds some new games and a bigger prize: $100,000. Even though it was filmed during the pandemic, the show feels like it comes from a cheerful alternate dimension, where grocery shopping was at worst a chore but at least occasionally a source of serendipitous pleasure. Fear not the hourlong run time; it’s really two episodes that air together, which means double the “those aren’t big-ticket items, you fools!” (For more on how the show came together, I really liked this interview in The A.V. Club about the production.)

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… three hours, and I’m a dime a dozen 🙁

From left, Ron Eldard, Brian Dennehy and Ted Koch in “Death of a Salesman.”Joan Marcus/Showtime

‘Death of a Salesman’

When to watch: Now, on the Goodman Theatre’s website or on Playbill.com, free

If you want to feel like a wind-whipped local-news meteorologist drowned out by the roar of a hurricane, but inside your heart, buckle in for this staging of Arthur Miller’s classic, which was filmed and broadcast in 2000 but has not aired since. Brian Dennehy stars as Willy Loman, but “stars” is maybe too gentle; he supernovas, as does Elizabeth Franz as Willy’s wife, Linda. “Salesman” is available only through Sunday, so make like a guy who walks into the jungle at 17 and seize the moment.

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Your newly available movies

Sacha Baron Cohen in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”Amazon Studios

Jagshemash! Fourteen years after Sacha Baron Cohen brought Borat Sagdiyev, his Kazakh troublemaker, to the big screen, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” comes to the small screen as an October surprise. Also this week: Robert Zemeckis tries his hand at the Roald Dahl fantasy “The Witches,” and a new adaptation of “Rebecca” reveals the perils of trying to outdo Alfred Hitchcock.

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

‘Bad Hair’ (Hulu only)

This movie builds its fright night around the oppression Black women face in the form of discrimination against their natural hair. But despite the potentially heavy (or heavy-handed) material, “Bad Hair” is self-consciously and pleasingly campy, and it delivers a new cinematic monster: the sew-in weave. — Teo Bugbee (Read the full review here.)

‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ (Amazon Prime only)

There’s nothing in this moviefilm that matches the elegant social experiment of the first, which sought to explore where precisely American civility departs from morality. — Devika Girish (Read the full review here.)

‘Ham on Rye’ (A Critic’s Pick; virtual cinema)

Tyler Taormina purposefully dresses his cast and designs their environment in a way that throws them into a sort of temporal never-never land. He achieves a number of other startling effects in this impressive movie, which sheds its naturalism slowly as it embraces a surrealism that’s both disquieting and poignant. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Rebecca’ (Netflix only)

If you want real estate titillation — either of the Mediterranean grand hotel or the English country house variety — you’d do better on Zillow. For vintage clothes, maybe Etsy? And if you’re in the mood for brooding psychological drama, well of course there’s always Zoom. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ (Amazon Prime only)

Note the last two words in the title of Heidi Schreck’s hit show, “What the Constitution Means to Me”: This is a highly personal take, not a historical or legal lecture. Yet Schreck succeeds in widening her autobiographical play into a paean for basic fairness: The American Constitution, admired as it is, fails to protect all of us from violence and discrimination. — Elisabeth Vincentelli (Read the full review here.)

‘The Witches’ (A Critic’s Pick; HBO Max only)

A weird stew of jokes, fantastical turns, swooping cameras, half-baked ideas and ugly signifiers. It’s also a missed opportunity because by not radically upending Dahl’s story, the movie remains burdened by its creepiness. — Manohla Dargis (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:

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