Watching: ‘Fauda’ Is Back

As are TV's best vampires.

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By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

I’m homesick for my regular life. Maybe you are, too. A mountain of “Drunk History” episodes, a minor organizing project, a new book and a somewhat involved recipe took the edge off for a little while this weekend, but the sirens blared every few minutes anyway. So many people are suffering.

I hope you’re coping. I hope you’re providing and accepting support as needed. Here are some dogs who are friends with each other.

See you Wednesday.

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I Want a Comedy

From left, Harvey Guillén, Mark Proksch, Kayvan Novak, Natasia Demetriou and Matt Berry on “What We Do In the Shadows.”Russ Martin/FX

‘What We Do in the Shadows’

When to watch: Wednesday at 10 p.m., on FX.

If you miss the ensemble chemistry, doofy enthusiasm and arbitrary bureaucratic processes of “Parks and Recreation,” and if you can handle silly but frequent goriness, watch this vampire comedy set on Staten Island. At the end of last season (available on Hulu), Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) discovered that he’s a descendant of the vampire hunter Van Helsing, which complicates his current position as dutiful familiar.

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“Shadows” isn’t a feel-good comedy in the sense that it has an important moral center and we all learn valuable lessons about safer sex and honesty. But it is feel-good in the sense that it genuinely feels good to give over to its silly and escapist style, to laugh at its slapstick and its more subtle asides. FX is airing two new episodes Wednesday, which is a nice treat.

I Want an Action Drama

Ala Dakka, left, and Lior Raz on “Fauda.”Netflix

‘Fauda’

When to watch: Season 3 arrives Thursday, on Netflix.

The white-knuckle Israeli counterterrorism thriller is back for a third season (in Hebrew and Arabic, with subtitles; English dubbing is only for the Hebrew). I’m usually a big proponent of just jumping into shows, but start at the beginning with this one — there’s a lot going on, and characters work undercover in different capacities, so you really need to know who’s who. If you like the thrills of “24” but prefer the vibe of early (good) “Homeland,” or if your favorite parts of “The Americans” involve the various personas the Jenningses used, watch this. Each season has 12 meaty episodes, and they’re quite tense; make room for a comedy or game show for dessert.

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Movies: Newly Available This Week

Blake Lively in “The Rhythm Section.”Jose Haro/Paramount Pictures

The initial boom of coronavirus-related video releases has dropped off entirely this week, which offers the modestly budgeted thrills of Blake Lively doing her best “La Femme Nikita” and Kristen Stewart in an aquatic “Alien” knockoff.

The films listed can generally be purchased on all of the usual platforms — Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube — but a rental option is usually available within a few weeks.

Here’s what our critics had to say about this week’s selections:

‘The Rhythm Section’ (Available Tuesday)

The movie is produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, the keepers of the James Bond franchise keys. “The Rhythm Section” suggests they want to extend a multifilm license to kill to a female character. (Spoiler alert: Mark Burnell’s novel was the first in a series.) But this picture makes an iffy origin tale. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Underwater’ (Tuesday)

It’s a challenge to keep action coherent and build suspense in the submerged environment simulated in “Underwater,” but [the director William Eubank] doesn’t meet it, instead falling back on stale shocks that are not credibly buttressed by swelling bass effects on the soundtrack. And the final form of the menacing sea creature is in its way as laughable as the carpet monster in the 1964 cinematic mishap “The Creeping Terror.” — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

EXTRA-CREDIT READING

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