Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

Two Australian imports.

By Margaret Lyons

Dear Watchers,

Big news for fans of “The Crown”: Netflix announced this week that the show will actually have a sixth and final season, which is a surprise because in January producers said it would end after five. Season 4 just finished filming earlier this year, so we still have quite some time before Season 6 comes our way, but it doesn’t hurt to have something to look forward to.

Have a safe weekend. See you Monday.


This weekend I have … a few minutes, and I need good role models

A scene from the “Bluey” episode “Hammerbarn.”Ludo Studio


When to watch: Friday at 8 a.m., on Disney

Season 2 of the least annoying kids’ show of our time is finally making its way from Australia to the United States, to the delight of toddlers, their families and anyone else who might need a jolt of loving positivity. The show emphasizes imaginative play and expressing oneself, but thanks to its naturalistic, genuine dialogue, the series it most often reminds me of is the British comedy “Outnumbered.” “Bluey” is legit better than many modern sitcoms, and the family dynamics it depicts are both aspirational — oh, to be that easygoing and creative! — and relatable, like when Dad, scrambling, offers Bluey’s little sister $20 in an attempt to back out of an ill-conceived promise.


… a few hours, and I like dramedy

Don McKellar and Kim Cattrall in “Sensitive Skin.”HBO Canada

‘Sensitive Skin’

When to watch: Now, on Acorn

Kim Cattrall stars in this Canadian series about a woman who is suddenly, or maybe not that suddenly, unhappy with her tony life. The show can be quite dark — not in a murder way but in an “actually, you’re not worth loving any more” way, and because the characters are all smart and polished, they can be quite vicious. This is not technically part of the “Slings and Arrows” universe, but there is a lot of cast and creative overlap, as well as a similarly perceptive take on what it’s like to be accustomed to being beheld. “Sensitive Skin” has just two six-episode seasons that come and go from streaming platforms; Season 1 is available now and Season 2 will be on Acorn later this year.


… a few hours, and I already watched everything on FX

Matt Okine in a scene from “The Other Guy.”Stan Originals

‘The Other Guy’

When to watch: Now, on Hulu

This two-season Australian comedy follows AJ (played by Matt Okine), a hip, miserable radio host, through a protracted breakup and a lot of drunken mistakes. He’d probably say the former caused the latter, but in reality it’s more the other way around. Okine also created the show, and it feels like a lot of other auteur comedies in a good way; think “Ramy” or “Better Things,” but with a more vulgar and often less artful vibe. Season 2 takes things into a meta territory that I found less compelling, but if you like wounded people behaving shabbily — well, get therapy. But also watch this.

Your Friday double feature: James Baldwin

James Baldwin as seen in the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” by Raoul Peck.Sedat Pakay

‘I Am Not Your Negro’ and ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’

Before he died, the Black author and activist James Baldwin was working, with customary weariness, on a memoir about the slain civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. — all men he knew personally. The manuscript, called “Remember This House,” only totaled 30 pages of notes, but it was a brilliant jumping-off point for “I Am Not Your Negro,” the director Raoul Peck’s essayistic documentary about Baldwin’s life and ideas, and how they continue to resonate.

Now streaming on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, the film unfolds as an elegant montage, incorporating clips of Baldwin on talk shows and other public forums with scenes from movies and advertisements and contemporary footage of Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson. Passages from Baldwin’s work are interspersed throughout, read in a mesmerizing whisper by Samuel L. Jackson. “History is not the past,” he says. “It is the present. We carry our history with us.” Peck’s documentary explores uncomfortable truths about Black progress in a country that continues to express a centuries-old hostility.

Also on Hulu, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” an adaptation of Baldwin’s novel about young lovers in early 1970s Harlem, is like watching a case study of the racial injustice the documentary describes. In his heartbreaking follow-up to “Moonlight,” the writer-director Barry Jenkins starts with the modest ambitions of a Black couple (Stephan James and Kiki Layne) who are trying to build a home for themselves and their first child, only to have their lives derailed by a false rape charge. As with “Moonlight,” the lushness of Jenkins’s images and the quiet intimacies of the central relationship contrast sharply with the harshness of the encroaching world.

Stream “I Am Not Your Negro” on Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. Rent it on Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.

Stream “If Beale Street Could Talk” on Hulu. Rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.


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