Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

«Power» gets a spinoff and Hilary Swank goes to space.

Dear Watchers,

Did you catch the “The Circle,” the unscripted series that had eight strangers interact from solitary isolation and made social media seem even worse than it actually is? That same production company sold Amazon a reality series in which British singles try to find love while cosplaying students — cheerleader, jock, math geek, etc. — at an idyllic American high school. Can’t wait to identify with the lucky contestant who hides in the library and writes bad confessional poetry.

Oh, and apparently Fox is rebooting “The X-Files” as a wacky animated series. Isn’t this basically “Scooby-Doo”?

Rock that three-day weekend in social isolation. See you Labor Day.


This weekend I have … an hour, and I’m all grown up

Michael Rainey Jr. in a scene from “Power Book II: Ghost.”Starz

‘Power Book II: Ghost’

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

“Power,” a moody, glitzy, kinetic show about a drug dealer, Ghost, who is trying to go straight (does that ever work?), ended in February after six seasons, with a big revelation and a surprise arrest. This spinoff series, the first of an announced four, picks up immediately, with Ghost’s son, Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), shouldering a full college course load and entangling himself in some very adult problems. So think “grown-ish”or “A Different World,” but with more murder.


Fans who miss characters from the original series will like the spinoff’s strong supporting cast, which includes Clifford Smith, better known as Method Man, as a defense lawyer, and Mary J. Blige as the head of a crime family.

… 3 hours, and I’m big on that ‘never meet your heroes’ thing

Aya Cash and Antony Starr in a scene from Season 2 of “The Boys.”Jasper Savage/Amazon Prime Video

‘The Boys’

When to watch: Now, on Amazon Prime Video.

How you feel about “The Boys” will depend on your appetite for ultraviolence. If you can stomach the gore, then stick around for this dark satire of hero comics and hero worship. It’s extremely tongue-in-cheek as long as you assume that cheek has suffered a machete wound. Season 2 continues the clash between the Seven, a gang of camera-ready superheroes, or “supes,” who really bring home the “power corrupts” idea, and the Boys, a group of low-grade vigilantes set on bringing them down.


This season, Aya Cash joins as Stormfront, a media-savvy supe with an especially unsavory agenda. The first three episodes dropped on Friday, with the next five doled out weekly, giving you a chance to shower in between the blood baths.

… all day, and I want to get out of this place

Hilary Swank stars as the leader of a mission to Mars in “Away.”Diyah Pera/Netflix


When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

Where has Hilary Swank been the past few years? En route to Mars. This 10-episode drama stars Swank as Emma Green, the mission commander on the first manned (womanned?) mission to Mars.

In space, disaster lurks around every asteroid. Back on earth, Emma’s husband (Josh Charles) and their daughter (Talitha Bateman) face their own crises. Should Emma complete her mission or return home to care for her family? Working moms have it rough! Swank, backed by a nifty international cast, commits with her usual live-wire intensity. But the vibe remains gloomy and the heart-wringing, like the vast expanse outside the shuttle, goes on and on and on. Guess you can cry in space.

Your Friday double feature: Glad Games

Paul Reubens in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.”Warner Bros.

‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ and ‘Pollyanna’

As Paul Reubens and Phil Hartman were busy refining Reubens’s Pee-wee Herman character, first in the improv troupe the Groundlings and later in an HBO special and various public appearances, a young Tim Burton was making a name for himself as a wunderkind animator and director of shorts like “Vincent” and “Frankenweenie.” Their collaboration on Burton’s 1985 feature-length directorial debut, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” is a perfect synthesis of talent, running Reubens’s eccentric man-child through a road comedy that has the energy of a Warner Bros. cartoon.

Now streaming on Hulu, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” follows Pee-wee as he travels across the country in search of his stolen bicycle, which he is told lies in the basement of the Alamo. Like the misfit heroes that populated later Burton films, Pee-wee is a quirky nonconformist — or as he puts it: “I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.” But he has the power to win everyone over, including a motorcycle gang and a fugitive. That power extends to the audience, too, which is swept along by Burton’s visual flourishes, Danny Elfman’s Nino Rota-inspired score and Reubens’s odd infectiousness.

The film was originally conceived as a remake of the 1960 Disney live-action movie “Pollyanna,” the first of six Hayley Mills vehicles for the studio. The basic spirit is the same: Like Pee-wee, the 12-year-old orphan Pollyanna (Mills) meets with a lot of hostility and suspicion when she arrives in the small town of Harrington to live with her rich, uptight Aunt Polly (Jane Wyman). And also like Pee-wee, she has a relentless positivity that wears down every grump in sight, and all that love comes back to her when she needs it most. — Scott Tobias

Stream “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” on Hulu. Rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.

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


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