Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

If you're feeling a little wilted …

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

Fox announced this week that a revival of “Name That Tune” will come out in January, the latest in our current game show reboot boomlet. I’m still crossing my fingers for a new “Classic Concentration,” but I’d settle for “Bumper Stumpers.”

Have a safe weekend.


This weekend I have … an hour, and I’m wilting

Behold some of the floral arrangements on “Full Bloom.”HBO Max

‘Full Bloom’

When to watch: Now, on HBO Max.

At this point, skill-based reality contest shows are part of a balanced breakfast. Somewhere between doomscrolling, “Jeopardy!,” rewatching an excellent but depressing prestige drama and maybe bingeing a midrange British murder show, you need a little something else — something light and bright. The vibe of this competitive floral arranging show is more “Top Chef” than “Great British Baking Show,” and it also includes occasional festive tips for the home florist. (Netflix has a flower competition show, “The Big Flower Fight,” but this one is better.) The first four episodes are available now, and two new ones come out the next two Thursdays.


… a few hours, and I’m a chorus person

A scene from “Voices of Fire.”Antony Platt/Netflix

‘Voices of Fire’

When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

This new six-part series about assembling a gospel choir, in which performers are assessed not only on their pipes but also on the potency of their Christian testimony, is just OK as docudramas go. But if you’re someone who usually finds joy and sustenance by singing in groups, and the last 10 months have left a hole in your heart where that usually goes, this is great. There is no faster, more transcendent way to understand the difference between the power of an individual and the power of a community than by singing together, and while no show can quite engender that emotional electricity, “Voices” captures it beautifully.


… a few hours, and I want a political drama but only sort of

That’s the back of Katherine Parkinson’s head and Gemma Chan in “Humans.”Colin Hutton/AMC


When to watch: Now, on Amazon.

A few weeks ago, I set out to rewatch a few episodes of this grounded three-season sci-fi show, but instead I binged the entire thing and have been thinking about it ever since. Gemma Chan stars as a “synth,” a widely available helper robot — but she has developed sentience, and maybe she’s not alone. “Humans” is a solid domestic drama beyond its robot stories, and it has plenty to say about xenophobic hostility and the purpose it drains out of our lives. If you want something between “Battlestar Galactica” and “Borgen,” watch this.

Your newly available movies

Shaun Parkes as Frank Crichlow and Letitia Wright as Altheia Jones-LeCointe in “Mangrove,” part of the director Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology of five films.Des Willie/Amazon Prime Video

After theatrical runs, several high-profile titles made their way online this week, including the Russell Crowe revenge thriller “Unhinged,” the long-delayed superhero fiasco “The New Mutants” and “The Nest,” Sean Durkin’s assured follow-up to “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” The best bet may be “Mangrove,” the first of five new movies in the “Small Axe” anthology from the “12 Years a Slave” director, Steve McQueen.

Some independent films are available via “virtual cinemas,” which share the rental fees between distributors and theaters. Unless otherwise noted, other titles can generally be rented on the usual platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube. — Scott Tobias

‘Born to Be’ (A Critic’s Pick; virtual cinema via Kino Marquee)

In 2016, Mount Sinai Hospital opened its Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in Manhattan. The documentary “Born to Be,” directed by Tania Cypriano, follows the work of one of that center’s pioneering surgeons, Dr. Jess Ting, […] an anchor, a presence of compassion and good sense. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Collective’ (A Critic’s Pick)

Some documentaries reassure you that the world is better when they’re over (inequity has been exposed); others insist it could be better (call the number in the credits to see how). “Collective” offers no such palliatives. Instead, it sketches out an honest, affecting, somewhat old-fashioned utopian example of what it takes to make the world better, or at least a little less awful. — Manohla Dargis (Read the full review here.)

‘Mangrove’ (A Critic’s Pick; Amazon Prime Video only)

A history lesson doesn’t have to be a lecture, and at its best, “Mangrove,” with its clear and painful implications for the present, conveys the sense of a world in motion, as the possibility of something new comes into being. — A.O. Scott (Read the full review here.)

‘The Nest’

If Durkin’s writing doesn’t always match his formal flair, “The Nest” has a bracing economy, cramming a lot into tight quarters. — Ben Kenigsberg (Read the full review here.)

‘The New Mutants’

“The New Mutants” spent three years on ice before being allowed to escape into the slowest summer season in a century. That’s fitting for a film that’s all buildup and no bang. — Amy Nicholson (Read the full review here.)


Russell Crowe is as serious as the heart attack his character threatens to have any minute. But while Derrick Borte’s filmmaking is bluntly efficient — and the vehicular stunt work impressive — the character is a windup toy, a dumb and dirty symbol of male grievance. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:


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