Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

Start getting real … again.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

Starz announced this week that it is reviving the wonderful, short-lived comedy “Party Down” for a six-episode limited series. I’m choosing to greet this as great news.

Have a lovely weekend.


This weekend I have … 20 minutes, and I like listening

The dialect coach Erik Singer.YouTube

‘Accent Expert Gives a Tour of U.S. Accents’

When to watch: Now, on YouTube (Part 1, Part 2)

The dialect coach Erik Singer has done a bunch of solo videos over the years, but this newer mini-series also brings in several other linguists and experts to explore and explain American accents among English speakers. Tracing regional dialects creates a sort of audio map of history, with ethnicity, migration and other languages affecting every vowel sound that crosses our lips. If you want something super interesting that does not require much in the way of an attention span, watch (wautch, waatch, wuhtch) this.


… an hour, and I’m nostalgic

From left, Norman Korpi, Kevin Powell and Julie Gentry on the reunion series “The Real World Homecoming: New York.”Danielle Levitt/MTV 2021 Paramount+, Inc.

‘The Real World Homecoming: New York’

When to watch: Now, on Paramount+.

The original castmates from the first season of “The Real World” reunite for another go-round, back in the same New York loft and everything. “It’s like a time machine,” whispers Norman Korpi, and that’s accurate. Paramount+ is an expansion and rebranding of CBS All Access, and this is among the banner shows for the platform — but unless you were a die-hard fan of the original New York season, I’m not sure this is worth shelling out for in particular, depending on your appetite for “people who now have their lives together reflect on the ’90s.” Reunite “Real World: Seattle,” though, and maybe that changes. …


… an hour, and it’s been ages since I swashbuckled

Melanie Scrofano in a scene from the final batch of “Wynonna Earp” episodes.Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc./Syfy

‘Wynonna Earp’

When to watch: Friday at 10 p.m., on Syfy.

This cult fave demon-hunting western, starring Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp, descendant of Wyatt, returns this weekend for its final six episodes. While the mythology is a little too involved to grasp this close to the end, newcomers can still enjoy the show’s punchy dialogue and overall campy sensibility, especially on this week’s installment, which includes an engagement party where everyone falls under a love spell. If you’re not sure what to do with your “Buffy” love these days, try this.

Your newly available movies

Eddie Murphy returns as Akeem in the genial sequel “Coming 2 America.”Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures/Amazon Studios

The streaming wars heat up again with three high-profile films: Paramount+ launches with the retina-searing animated film “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”; Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reprise three-decade-old roles in “Coming 2 America”; and Disney+ subscribers can pay a “premium access” fee for visitation rights to “Raya and the Last Dragon.”

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

‘Coming 2 America’ (Amazon Prime Video only)

A genial, mostly inoffensive, sometimes quite funny sequel to a beloved comedy from way back in the 1980s. — A.O. Scott (Read the full review here.)

‘Lost Course’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Film at Lincoln Center virtual cinema)

Broadly adhering to a vérité style, [the director Jill Li] builds a case that active civic engagement in China inevitably leads to trouble — or else further corruption. — Ben Kenigsberg (Read the full review here.)

‘Moxie’ (Netflix only)

Unfocused and too often unbelievable, Amy Poehler’s “Moxie” feels like a battle between two competing visions: go-girl crowd-pleaser and serious high-school harassment drama. Neither wins. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)

‘Night of the Kings’

The movie keeps edging from compressed into sketchy, with Zama King oddly remaining a blank. But having also sat through two and a half hours of “Wonder Woman 1984,” I found myself daydreaming that the superhero’s time could be magically yielded to [the director Philippe Lacôte] to flesh out his evocative mythmaking. — Nicolas Rapold (Read the full review here.)

‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ (Disney+ premier access only)

The animators don’t stray far from the overall style of recent Disney fare like “Frozen” or “Moana,” though the film’s meticulously detailed environments — rainforest shrines teeming with visible moisture, snowy mountain fortresses shrouded in fog — are particularly impressive. — Beatrice Loayza (Read the full review here.)

‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ (Paramount+ only)

The rest is studded with references to the first (and vastly superior) SpongeBob film, from 2004, and chokes up its third act with an endless, overly sentimental lovefest. All this rendered in C.G.I. animation so nauseatingly garish and artificial it’s like inserting LED lights directly into your eyeballs. — Maya Phillips (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:

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Also this weekend

A scene from the new season of “Naked and Afraid.” They don’t seem that afraid!Discovery
  • The season finale of “WandaVision” is now on Disney+. What will Twitter talk about now?
  • “Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.
  • A new season of “Naked and Afraid” starts Sunday at 8 p.m. on Discovery.
  • “Good Girls” returns for its fourth season Sunday at 10 p.m. on NBC.


Critic’s Notebook

‘The Real World’ Revisited: When Reality Had Bite

The nostalgic reunion series is surprisingly polite. But on a rewatch, the original season is still an eye-opening piece of TV and social history.

By James Poniewozik

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Justice Smith Doesn’t Need Your Assumptions

With his lead role in the new HBO Max series “Genera+ion,” the young, charismatic star of stage, indie films and blockbusters found a part that spoke to “the ways I need to live in my truth.”

By Alexis Soloski

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Take a Tour of ‘All Creatures’ Country

“All Creatures Great and Small” charmed viewers with its pastoral setting in Britain’s Yorkshire Dales. Here, the show’s production designer explains the eternal appeal of the region’s landscapes.

By Tom Jamieson and Jennifer Vineyard

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weekend roundup

5 Things to Do This Weekend

Our critics and writers have selected noteworthy cultural events to experience virtually and in person in New York City.

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How Daniel Kaluuya Makes His Characters Come Alive

The “Get Out” and “Judas and the Black Messiah” actor combines deep preparation and a hunger for spontaneity. “I don’t think I’m entitled to your attention.”

By Reggie Ugwu

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Kelly Marie Tran: ‘I’m Not Afraid Anymore’

The actress has left the “Star Wars” bullies behind to star as Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess in “Raya and the Last Dragon.” She says, “I’m finally asking for the things I want.”

By Sarah Bahr

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Eddie Huang: Filmmaker Was on His List of Things to Do Even Before Chef

He discusses his debut drama, “Boogie”; what moving to Taiwan showed him about America; and what it was like to work with Pop Smoke, a star of his movie.

By Brandon Yu

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