Watching: Whimsy, Magic …

and pork belly.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

This week’s “Jeopardy!” episodes are the final five hosted by Alex Trebek. Episodes hosted by Ken Jennings start Jan. 11.

Have a safe week.


I crave enchantment

“Summer Camp Island” is so stinkin cute.Cartoon Network Studios, Inc.

‘Summer Camp Island’

When to watch: Now, on HBO Max.

Season 3 of this freakishly darling cartoon about a magical summer camp is broken into three chapters, and the better aquatinted you are with the characters, the more in-jokes you will appreciate. But the truth is you can jump in wherever. Sentient pajamas, teen witches who get a thrill from farting in restaurants, an origin story for umbrellas in drinks — one can enjoy all these details with or without a broader narrative. “Summer Camp Island” blends whimsy and kid-appropriate naughtiness with good jokes and tender philosophizing. If your household enjoyed “The Worst Witch” or “Adventure Time,” or if you ever saved a really good sticker well into adulthood, watch this.


I already watched ‘Chef’s Table’

A scene from “Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody.”via Netflix

‘Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody’

When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

This two-part exploration of pork belly (in Korean, with subtitles) has plenty of the requisite slow-motion sizzling-meat footage, as well as details on pig husbandry and the process of making charcoal. Yes, it will make you want to travel and to eat pork belly, but the show also made me yearn for wider availability of lifestyle shows from other countries. If you miss going to restaurants, or if you want to watch a food show that’s not a contest, watch this. Episode 1 is available now, and Episode 2 arrives Jan. 11.


Also this week

Isiah Whitlock Jr. in an episode of “History of Swear Words.” Fans of “The Wire,” I bet you can guess which episode.Netflix
  • Season 3 of the reboot of “Muppet Babies” starts Monday at 5 p.m. on Disney Junior; this season Fozzie has a new sister, named Rozzie.
  • Antiques Roadshow” returns for its 25th season Monday at 8 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
  • Also returning for its 25th season is “The Bachelor,” which airs Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC.
  • “A Woman’s Work: The N.F.L.’s Cheerleader Problem,” an Independent Lens documentary about labor rights, airs Monday at 10 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
  • Season 2 of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” starts Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.
  • “History of Swear Words” is “I Love the ’80s” but for profanity, and with Nicolas Cage. It arrives on Netflix Tuesday.
  • “Mr. Mayor,” the new comedy from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC. Ted Danson stars as the new mayor of Los Angeles, and for some reason the show thinks the political group most deserving of ridicule at the moment is disability rights activists.


Critic’s Pick

‘Spiral’ Review: A Peerless Policier Takes On Its Final Case

France’s answer to “The Wire” and “Law & Order” begins its final season on MHz Choice.

By Mike Hale

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‘Cobra Kai’: Strike First. Strike Hard. Come Back for More.

In a group interview, the original stars of “Karate Kid” discuss their enduring bond and the new, reunion-heavy season of the sequel series, “Cobra Kai.”

By Alexis Soloski

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‘Elizabeth Is Missing’ Review: Glenda Jackson’s Return to TV

The renowned actress stars as a woman fending off dementia while she searches for a lost friend.

By Mike Hale

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The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu and More in January

Every month, subscription streaming services add a new batch of titles to their libraries. Here are our picks for January.

By Noel Murray

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Critic’s Notebook

David Fincher, the Unhappiest Auteur

The director makes beautiful bummers in an industry that prefers happy endings. Perhaps that’s why his movies seem like an endangered species.

By Manohla Dargis

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‘Ratatouille’ Review: What’s Small and Hairy With Big Dreams?

What started as a TikTok meme and became a crowdsourced musical could have online lessons to offer for Broadway.

By Jesse Green

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Icy Podcasts to Warm Your Cold, Cold Heart

A polar podcast playlist from cold places, full of nonfiction and fiction storytelling set in the snow.

By Phoebe Lett

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