Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

Errol Morris's hard-to-find TV show.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

Netflix announced this week that “Moesha,” “The Game,” “Sister, Sister,” “Girlfriends,” “The Parkers,” “Half & Half” and “One on One” will all be available to stream in the coming months. Oh how I hope more shows from the back catalog make their way to streaming, too.

See you Monday. Be safe.

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This weekend I have … a half-hour, and I carry hope in my heart

Meep meep meep meep “Muppets Now” on Disney+ meep meep.Disney+

‘Muppets Now’

When to watch: Now, on Disney+.

I want to believe that our society is capable of birthing another great Muppet TV show, that our good will toward the characters and their worldview will again lead us to a satisfying, joyous payoff of humor and imagination, that the simplicity of puppetry will again nudge us to fill in the blanks with our own emotional reasoning, thus creating a surprisingly personal bond of empathy. “Muppets Now” is not quite there, though it’s closer than a Muppet property has been in a long time. This new iteration replaces the variety format of “The Muppet Show” with web-series formats — a good and timely swap! — but it doesn’t always capitalize on what actually makes those web shows entertaining.

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… an hour, and I need something fun

Iain Stirling, Joe Thomas, Lou Sanders, Paul Sinha and Sian Gibson on “Taskmaster.”Avalon UKTV

‘Taskmaster’

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

Existing somewhere between a game show, a panel show and reality contest show, this British series pits five comedians against one another in a series of strange and silly tasks, for example painting a horse while riding a horse, or collecting the highest weight of doughnuts in a bucket while keeping your hands on your hips. Think a combo of “Double Dare” and crossword-puzzle logic. The first six seasons of “Taskmaster” are available on the show’s YouTube channel (with more episodes going up regularly), and starting this weekend the CW will be airing Season 8 — but there’s really no good or bad place to start. Every episode is funny and surprising. This is the show I have recommended most often and most insistently to my friends and family during quar.

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… a few hours, and have you ever noticed that people are interesting?

Errol Morris, left, with Antonio Mendez, a retired C.I.A. agent.Mikki Ansin/Bravo

‘First Person’

When to watch: Now, on YouTube.

The director Errol Morris recently posted his 2000-2001 documentary series, “First Person,” on his YouTube channel, and the episodes are fascinating — often but not uniformly morbid, and also spirited and alive in ways interviews rarely are. The show, which aired on Bravo, is mostly monologues; Morris’s subjects include a retired C.I.A. agent, a woman who dated multiple serial killers, a man connected to a particularly notorious mass shooting, a researcher obsessed with giant squid. The aesthetic here is definitely of its era, but Morris’s ability to capture the human poles of passion and casualness is as exciting as ever.

Your Friday double feature: A Night at the Rodeo

Rob Morgan in “Bull.”Samuel Goldwyn Films

‘Bull’ and ‘The Rider’

In the touching new independent film “Bull,” now streaming on Hulu, Rob Morgan stars as Abe, a former rodeo star who now works as a professional “matador,” drawing bulls away from fallen riders so they don’t get trampled. But Abe’s age and chronic injuries cost him gigs on the professional circuit, so he works mostly at regional Black rodeos outside Houston, scraping together what little money his broken body can earn him.

At the center of “Bull” is Abe’s relationship with Kris (Amber Havard), a 14-year-old white neighbor who is on the fast track to juvenile detention before she starts to show an interest in riding. Kris and Abe are a contentious pair — they get to know each other after Kris and her friends trash Abe’s house — but a friendship grows around this common interest, as does some real complexity about what it represents for the girl. There’s freedom and salvation in discovering a new passion, but Abe himself is a cautionary tale, proof that other hardships await.

Many of those same themes surface in “The Rider,” from Chloé Zhao, which stars the real-life cowboy Brady Jandreau as a Lakota Sioux rodeo star who is nursing a serious head injury that could shorten his career, and maybe his life. Mixing documentary and fiction techniques, Zhao evokes the fullness of his life on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where he works at a grocery store, takes care of his autistic sister and occasionally trains wild horses. His struggles are acutely rendered, but when Zhao shows Jandreau in his element, quietly communing with these animals, the film is staggeringly beautiful. — Scott Tobias

Stream “Bull” on Hulu. Rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play and Vudu.

Rent “The Rider” on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.

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