Watching: Two Binge-Worthy Treats

A sports comedy and a legal thriller.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

We’re coming into spring finale time a little early this year, with several network shows ending their seasons a few episodes shorter than planned because of the coronavirus. Obviously four fewer episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” is not a human rights tragedy, but it’s another item on a long and growing list of absences and disappointments. Sometimes when the scope of a crisis is too huge to meaningfully internalize, the small stuff takes on greater significance. The “Grey’s” finale airs tomorrow.

I hope some of your small stuff is going OK. See you Friday.

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I Want Something Fun

Kia Stevens, top, and Betty Gilpin on “GLOW.”Beth Dubber/Netflix

‘Glow’

When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

You want this ragtag gang of misfits to play in the big game? But they’ll never be ready in time! Why, they’d have to train nonstop! And start to work as a team! And get to know one another, and really understand one another — and now that you mention it, really understand themselves, too. And me? Why, I’m just a lowly nobody, coach, with some unconventional methods, but if you think I’m the only one who can lead this wacky bunch, well, I guess I could try ….

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“GLOW” happily hits plenty of the expected sports-movie beats and several unexpected ones, and because it’s set in the early, mostly scuzzy days of women’s professional wrestling, it has an added scrappiness. Strong performances — especially from Betty Gilpin, Alison Brie and Marc Maron — help its world feel even more substantial and developed. “GLOW” typifies that high-achieving modern-dramedy blend of serious stories and light touch, but it isn’t fussy or needlessly depressing like some of its brethren. Instead, it’s a blast.

There are three 10-episode seasons, and each goes by in a flash. (Netflix ordered a fourth and final one pre-pandemic.) Prepare yourself for the possibility that watching the show will make you want to wrestle someone.

I Want Something Serious

Glenn Close, left, and Rose Byrne on “Damages.”Larry Riley/FX

‘Damages’

When to watch: Now, on Hulu.

I hadn’t rewatched this legal thriller in a long time, and oh boy — it was even juicier than I remembered. I got totally sucked in and greedily watched till dawn. Rose Byrne stars as Ellen, a promising young associate recruited by the powerful lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) to come work for her. But it doesn’t go how Ellen hoped. The show starts as a crazed, bloodied Ellen flees a fancy apartment building and then flashes back to a mere sixth months earlier, just as she joins Patty’s firm. Double-crossing and sneaky legal maneuvering abound, and so do much darker and more dangerous behaviors.

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Season 1 is by far the best season, thanks in part to Ted Danson’s performance as its antagonist, a billionaire fighting a class-action lawsuit. The show is big on disjointed timelines, which was more unusual when the series premiered in 2007, and it has that rich potency that made TV so thrilling during the antihero era. If you ever dreamed of combining “Scandal” and “Breaking Bad,” watch this.

Wait, One More Thing

Parasite” is now streaming on Hulu. What an exciting time to think about class stratification!

EXTRA-CREDIT READING

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