Watching: If You Need to Chill

Calming shows for stressful times.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

HBO Max announced yesterday that a “Sex and the City” reunion will start filming this spring. The 10-episode limited series, called “And Just Like That…,” will star Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon — but not Kim Cattrall.

Have a safe week.


I’m pretty darn fried

A scene from “The Repair Shop.”Netflix

‘The Repair Shop’

When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

On each episode of this British show, people bring in family heirlooms for repair: depleted chairs, stopped clocks, grimy sculptures in need of specialized cleaning. Then experts restore the items to their true glory — attention, solvent fans, your time has come — and everyone feels happy and satisfied, for indeed it is not just the treasured objects that have been made new.


Unlike many workplace reality shows, “The Repair Shop” is light on ginned-up contrivances and squabbling and instead has lots of loving footage of sturdy aprons. If you ever have a tiny moment of “but what if ‘Toy Story’ is true?!” before you throw something out, this might not be for you. But otherwise, this is about as calming as TV gets.

No, I can’t even handle that

Hello from a snow vole in “The Alps.”Terra Mater Factual Studios & Wild Nature Film

‘Nature: The Alps’

When to watch: Wednesday at 8 p.m., on PBS. (Check local listings.)

If you’ve developed a notch in your pinkie finger from where your phone rests, it’s time for TV’s most potent chillaxer: the nature documentary. This week’s new offering is a two-parter about the Alps, and it includes bears eating honey, snow melting, birds soaring, a lot of babbling water sounds and lines like “the mountain’s green lungs are breathing again, exhaling the rich fragrance of life.” Aahh. Breathe some of that Alpine air over this-a-way.


When do my shows come back?

Oliver Stark, left, and Peter Krause on the season premiere of “9-1-1.”Fox
  • “Search Party”: Jan. 14, HBO Max
  • “9-1-1”: Jan. 18, Fox
  • “Riverdale”: Jan. 20, the CW
  • “Call My Agent”: Jan. 21, Netflix
  • “Gomorrah”: Jan. 21, HBO Max
  • “Blown Away”: Jan. 22, Netflix
  • “Euphoria” (special episode): Jan. 24, HBO
  • “Good Trouble”: Feb. 17, Freeform
  • “The Walking Dead”: Feb. 25, AMC+, and Feb. 28, AMC
  • “Grey’s Anatomy”: March 4, ABC


‘All Creatures Great and Small’ Heals Cows and Soothes Souls

This charming mini-series adaptation of the James Herriot book was a surprise pandemic hit in Britain. This week it arrives in an America in need of its own relief.

By Roslyn Sulcas

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How Can ‘Jeopardy!’ Replace Alex Trebek? See Game-Show History

The same producer who helped Drew Carey succeed Bob Barker on “The Price Is Right” is now working on the “Jeopardy!” succession.

By Julia Jacobs

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Michael Apted, Versatile Director Known for ‘Up’ Series, Dies at 79

His output included “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and a James Bond film. But he was best known for his long-running documentary series about life in Britain.

By Neil Genzlinger

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Let Down by ‘Wonder Woman 1984’? Here are 6 Great Superhero Movies

The Wonder Woman sequel received mixed reviews. But there are plenty of excellent and entertaining alternatives to stream, and many that never received the attention they deserve.

By Noel Murray

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What Did Museum Sign Up For: Exhibition or Investigation?

As part of an exhibition at Miami Dade College’s art museum, Forensic Architecture planned to examine the treatment of migrant children at a nearby facility. The pandemic is only one reason that never happened.

By Colin Moynihan

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Critic’s Notebook

Who Said Art Is Only for the One Percent?

Marian Goodman Gallery and MoMA are reviving interest in multiples — art produced in affordable editions for the ’60s middle-class. Now, some artists are taking up the cause.

By Blake Gopnik

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Children’s Books

Gary Paulsen’s Real-Life Survival Guide

“Gone to the Woods” is a memoir so rife with childhood trauma he wrote it in the third person.

By Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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