Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

A concert, a craft show and a fun reboot.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

I hope you all had a safe and happy-under-the-circumstances Thanksgiving. If you’re making your way through Season 4 of “The Crown,” you might like this article about the show’s VFX.

See you Monday.


This weekend I have … 90 minutes, and I’m on my own

Lea Salonga.Robert Catto

‘Great Performances: Lea Salonga in Concert’

When to watch: Friday at 9 p.m., on PBS. (Check local listings.)

This concert, filmed last November at the Sydney Opera House, is a ton of fun — a terrific set list, the correct amount of banter and just enough shots of musicians thoughtfully tooting away. The Broadway and Disney star Lea Salonga sings some of what you would expect from her oeuvre, including a “A Whole New World,” which she performs as a duet with an audience member, along with a few surprises like “Meadowlark” from “The Baker’s Wife.”


… a few hours, a child and a glue gun

Three contestants show off their decorated lockers on an episode of “Craftopia.”HBO Max


When to watch: Now, on HBO Max.

If you are managing some of your cabin fever by bedazzling things and watching instructional D.I.Y. videos, or if your household is still into slime, try this good-natured kid-geared craft competition series — like “Making It” for the locker-decorating set. Three creative tweens go head-to-head on each episode, and the judges’ feedback is sweet and supportive. Depending on your tolerance for glitter use, plenty of the challenges could be adapted for the home audience. There are eight regular episodes, two Halloween specials and two new Christmas specials.


… five hours, and I love references

A scene from the new version of “Saved by the Bell.”Chris Haston/Peacock

‘Saved by the Bell’

When to watch: Now, on Peacock.

This revival of the beloved teen sitcom sounded like a terrible idea — but it’s actually bright and charming. In this iteration, the children of the original characters are now students at Bayside, which, thanks to Governor Zack Morris’s fumbling, is welcoming the student body from an underfunded, now-shuttered high school. If you’re into zingy teen shows like “Never Have I Ever,” or the self-aware earnestness of “Cobra Kai,” or if you enjoy the contemporary recapitulation of “The Babysitters Club,” watch this. If you care only about seeing Zack, Kelly, Slater, Jessie, one minute of Lisa and a glancing reference to Screech, skip ahead to Episode 8.

Your newly available movies

Glenn Close as Mamaw in “Hillbilly Elegy,” Ron Howard’s adaptation of the best-selling memoir by J.D. Vance.Lacey Terrell/Netflix

J.D. Vance’s controversial memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” gets a high-profile Netflix adaptation, directed by Ron Howard and starring a glammed-way-down Glenn Close and Amy Adams. But our critics felt more warmly toward the Christmas rom-com “Happiest Season” and new documentary profiles about Frank Zappa (“Zappa”) and Timothy Leary (“My Psychedelic Love Story”).

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

‘Black Beauty’ (Disney+ only)

In this update, the humans are not as villainous. Beauty is not as prominent. And the novel’s mustang spirit diminishes into a ho-hum horse movie. — Robert Daniels (Read the full review here.)

‘Happiest Season’ (A Critic’s Pick; Hulu only)

Beneath the holly jolly facade, there is real disdain here for straight people’s cheery conservatism, their preference for smiling silence. This is a story about the self-annihilation queer people face when they mold themselves to straight expectations, told by a lesbian filmmaker working in maybe the most stereotypically heterosexual genre — the Christmas romantic comedy. — Teo Bugbee (Read the full review here.)

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ (Netflix only)

The strange stew of melodrama, didacticism and inadvertent camp that Howard serves up isn’t the result of a failure of taste or sensitivity. If anything, “Hillbilly Elegy” is too tasteful, too sensitive for its own good, studiously unwilling to be as wild or provocative as its characters. — A.O. Scott (Read the full review here.)

‘My Psychedelic Love Story’ (A Critic’s Pick; Showtime only)

The narrative Errol Morris and Joanna Harcourt-Smith recount is rollicking, globe-trotting and packed with characters, including the shady Hungarian banker Arpad Plesch — who managed to make himself Harcourt-Smith’s step-grandfather and stepfather — and the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Superintelligence’ (HBO Max only)

This is a movie of bits, enacted by varied comic luminaries. Melissa McCarthy’s “who me?” winsomeness, running neck and neck with her quick-witted cheekiness, is familiar. A new dynamic is added by the inspired Brian Tyree Henry, who, as Carol’s best friend and digital guru, hilariously crushes on the movie’s American president (Jean Smart). — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Zappa’ (A Critic’s Pick)

The movie doesn’t ignore the sexism of Zappa’s lyrics, or his occasional smugness in dealing with the press (among others). But it places these features in contexts that give them a certain coherence, while not entirely excusing them. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:


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