“The Good Fight” is one of the TV’s best current dramas, audacious and interesting and well-tuned. On some shows, everything interesting that happens to a character happens to them onscreen; there’s no real object permanence, so when we’re not looking, they disappear. On “The Good Fight,” the characters are fleshed out enough — and the show moves quickly enough — that it feels like their world, which is a lot like our world but with better tailoring, exists with or without us.
The show’s Season 4 premiere, an extended dream sequence in which Diane (Christine Baranski) revels in Hillary Clinton’s victory, is now free to stream on YouTube through July 15. In addition, nine other episodes are available free on the CBS website (look for the thumbnails that don’t have a “subscribe” chyron on them), and they’re a solid sampling from the series.
While there are some big, season-long and series-long arcs on “The Good Fight,” don’t worry about spoiling yourself for a possible full-on watch with these cherry-picked episodes. The bigger arc is the show’s own evolution, growing away from its origins as a spinoff of the network drama “The Good Wife” and toward its freer format as a streaming show.
The titles for Season 3 episodes are spoofs of the naming convention from “Friends”: “The One With Lucca Becoming a Meme,” or “The One Where a Nazi Gets Punched.” Season 4 pushes things in a wilder direction, and thus its titles are a riff on episode titles from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”: “The Gang Deals With Alternate Reality,” “The Gang Gets a Call From HR.”
I love a good lawyer show, and one of my favorite things about “The Good Fight” is how much its characters love fighting — not in a “let me dab my eyes; these people are fearless heroes” way, but rather in a “if conflict is your love language, nothing ever feels like a victory” way. If you like your serious shows to still have a good sense of humor, or you want a political drama with an actual point of view, watch this.
Your newly available movies of the week
Chris Jackson, left, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in “Hamilton.”Disney+
Released on Disney+ for the Independence Day weekend, the film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” considers the American experiment from a uniquely patriotic angle. Werner Herzog directs a cast of nonprofessional Japanese actors through the peculiar fiction-documentary hybrid “Family Romance, LLC.” And the HBO documentary “Welcome to Chechnya” uses technological advances to detail the horrifying persecution of L.G.B.T.Q. Chechens.
Some independent films are available via “virtual cinemas,” which share the rental fee between the distributor and the art-house theater of your choice. Other titles can generally be rented on all the usual platforms — Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube — unless otherwise noted. — Scott Tobias
Unspooling over the course of a few lazy summer days, the film offers an enigmatic examination of youthful alienation, its plot irresolute and unpredictable. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review.)
‘Family Romance, LLC’ (A Critic’s Pick; Mubi only)
In many of Herzog’s nonfiction films, the director himself is a defining presence. One understands why he wanted to stay behind the camera and off the soundtrack here. This wrinkle in modern social life is best taken in without the mitigation of overt distancing. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)
The film does an excellent job of introducing the pop star to unfamiliar audiences, contextualizing her activism and, more broadly, examining the role art can play in shaping our beliefs. — Lovia Gyarkye (Read the full review here.)
One of the marvels of the show is the way it brings long-dead, legend-shrouded people to vivid and sympathetic life. The close-ups and camera movements in this version enhance the charisma of the performers, adding a dimension of intimacy that compensates for the lost electricity of the live theatrical experience. — A.O. Scott (Read the full review here.)
Adapted from a nonfiction book by Jake Tapper and directed by Rod Lurie, “The Outpost” evolves from what initially feels like a collection of war-movie commonplaces, highlighting crude-talking soldiers in a bad situation, into something more complex and illuminating. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)
‘Welcome to Chechnya’ (A Critic’s Pick; HBO and HBO Max only)
The film’s restlessly roving images (some captured on cellphone) convey a persistent physical danger, lingering on bruised bodies and peering at fingers damaged by electrodes. The intimacy and immediacy of the filmmaking can also produce moments of enormous tenderness, as when one victim struggles to describe a brutal beating and his partner silently strokes his damaged leg. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)
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