Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

A drama, a doc, a classic comedy.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

ABC announced its renewals and cancellations this week, and I was relieved to hear that “Stumptown” survived the cull and will return (someday). I love an offbeat procedural, and even though “Stumptown” only occasionally lives up to its “Veronica Mars”-meets-“Terriers” potential, I remain optimistic. The first season is available on Hulu and on the ABC website.

I hope you’re finding bright spots where you can and help where you can’t. Have a good weekend.


This weekend I have … an hour, and I like longing stares

Barry Atsma, left, and Nicola Walker in “The Split.”Mark Johnson/SundanceTV/BBC Worldwide

‘The Split’

When to watch: Thursdays and Fridays at midnight, on Sundance TV. The season premiere is available now, no login required, on the Sundance website; Episode 2 airs Friday.


Season 2 of this juicy legal drama picks right up where things left off, so definitely start with Season 1 — it’s available on multiple platforms. Nicola Walker stars as Hannah, a divorce lawyer from a family of divorce lawyers, where everyone’s business is everyone’s business. There’s ample steaminess to “The Split,” but the show doesn’t see itself as a soap, and so those secret glances and thrilling transgressions have real weight and consequence. If you like ensemble dramas in which smart, elegant people stand in nice kitchens and sadly ponder their lives, watch this.

… 90 minutes, and I’m competitive

Lance Armstrong, the subject of the documentary “Lance.”Elizabeth Kreutz


When to watch: Sunday at 9 p.m., on ESPN.

This new “30 for 30” documentary is a steady enough portrait of Lance Armstrong but a real wonderland of obstinacy. Excellence in any discipline requires determination, and in some ways, stubbornness is an asset for athletes — but not in all ways. What in flattering light looks like tenacity can also be a chronic refusal to acknowledge reality, and “Lance” finds forcefields of denial around many of its subjects, including society’s abundant willingness to ignore obvious truths. Part 1 airs this weekend; Part 2 airs next Sunday.


… many hours, and taking a break from all my worries sure would help a lot

Ted Danson and Shelley Long in “Cheers.”NBC


When to watch: Now, on CBS All Access, Hulu and Netflix.

“Cheers” is leaving Netflix at the end of June, though it will remain on other platforms and will be available on Peacock, NBC’s new streaming service, when it debuts in July. But if you are in a Netflix-only household, or you just need a fortifying TV project, this is the perfect time to visit or revisit the influential sitcom, which holds up exceptionally well thanks to great jokes and even better chemistry. Sam and Diane (Ted Danson and Shelley Long) are the quintessential will-they-won’t-they couple, but every pairing has its own special wavelength. You will never regret deciding to watch an episode of “Cheers.”

Also this weekend

Wes Harper and Gwen Grimes in a scene from “Naked and Afraid XL.”Discovery

  • “Homecoming,” now starring Janelle Monáe, is back for its second season, on Amazon.
  • “AKA Jane Roe,” a documentary about abortion rights and Norma McCorvey — the Roe in Roe v. Wade — airs Friday at 9 p.m. on FX. (It arrives on Hulu the next day.)
  • “Tiger Slam,” a one-hour special about the time Tiger Woods held all four major championship titles simultaneously, airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on the Golf Channel.
  • On regular “Naked and Afraid,” participants survive for 21 days in the wilderness. On “Naked and Afraid XL,” which returns for a sixth season Sunday at 8 p.m. on Discovery, it’s 40 days. If you want to turn some of your cabin fever into sweet, sweet relief, try watching parched, naked strangers burning their feet on the ground and making shelters from thorn bushes.
  • The season finale of “Run” airs Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

Your weekend double feature: Unrequited love

Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Age of Innocence.”Columbia Pictures

‘The Age of Innocence’ and ‘The Remains of the Day’

The ’90s were a Golden Age for period romances, and in 1993, Columbia Pictures released two of the best: Martin Scorsese’s “The Age of Innocence” and James Ivory’s “The Remains of the Day,” each an exquisitely wrought tale of love stifled by tradition. One takes place among societal elites in 1870s New York City, the other among British aristocrats in the lead-up to World War II — each a world that, as Edith Wharton wrote in the novel on which “Innocence” is based, is “balanced so precariously that its harmony could be shattered by a whisper.”

Added to the Collection on the Criterion Channel this week (which means a bunch of added bonus features), “The Age of Innocence” may seem like a departure for Scorsese, who made “Goodfellas” (1990) and “Casino” (1995) during that same period. But his adaptation is a gangster film in another form. When Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), a New York lawyer set to marry the girlish May Welland (Winona Ryder), falls for the disgraced Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), the goons and gossips of high society quietly intervene. Order is enforced as rigorously on matters of the heart as it is on proper place settings.

For Mr. Stevens (Anthony Hopkins), the gentleman butler at the center of “The Remains of the Day,” maintaining proper place settings at Darlington Hall keeps him from pursuing his feelings for the head housekeeper (Emma Thompson) and from realizing that his boss (Edward Fox) is an odious Nazi appeaser. Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, this beautifully mounted and acted drama turns on the tragic fate of a man who is a bystander to history, and to his own life. — Scott Tobias

Stream “The Age of Innocence” on the Criterion Channel; rent it on Apple TV, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and YouTube.

Rent “The Remains of the Day” on Apple TV, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and YouTube.


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