Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

Chillin', cooking and the strange beyond.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

I’ve never watched the series finale of one of my all-time favorite shows, “Pushing Daisies.” I thought maybe I would “need” it some day, and at various points during isolation I’ve wondered if it was time to break the emergency glass. So far I haven’t done it, but I honestly don’t know if that’s good or bad.

Thank you to everyone who wrote in to tell me what shows they are pumped about; it was a real treat to hear so much excitement in such a dark time.

Have a safe weekend. See you Monday.

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This weekend I have … a half-hour, and I am very chill

Nina Moran, left, and Rachelle Vinberg in a scene from “Betty.”Alison Rosa/HBO

‘Betty’

When to watch: Friday at 11 p.m., on HBO.

This low-concept comedy, about a group of young skateboarders in New York City, is not exactly a sequel to the 2018 movie “Skate Kitchen” but a spiritual successor featuring much of the same cast. The show has a shaggy vérité style that can veer toward diffuse, but in its best moments it captures the blissful chill of just hanging out, like a puff of smoke that at any moment can either float away or give you a contact high.

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… an hour, and I could eat

Vivian Howard in a scene from the “How Do You Cue?” episode of “Somewhere South.”Rex Miller

‘Somewhere South’

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

Vivian Howard turns her attention to barbecue this week on “Somewhere South,” a show that is part travelogue and part ethnography. Learn about how colonialism shaped food culture, but also learn how to make a really good bologna sandwich. If you like earnest food programming that’s not just straight chef-worship, or if you need to alleviate some cabin fever and appreciate the tiny treasures of humanity, watch this.

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… a few hours, and I like afterlife shows

Robbie Amell on “Upload.” The dog is his character’s therapist.Amazon Prime Video

‘Upload’

When to watch: Starting Friday, on Amazon.

“Upload” feels like a hybrid of “The Good Place,” “Black Mirror” and “Idiocracy,” a cheeky, cynical but still lyrical sci-fi romantic dramedy. Robbie Amell stars as Nathan, a tech bro in 2033 whose consciousness is uploaded to a chichi but bizarre afterlife. Corporate greed is a defining pillar of modern life, and on “Upload” it’s a defining pillar of death, too, where the indignities of being advertised to, of always feeling shaken down, of being little more than a revenue stream, can endure for eternity. But hey, free gum! If you like big, imaginative shows with bite, watch this.

Your weekend double feature: Delphine Seyrig

Delphine Seyrig in a scene from the 1975 film “Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles."Janus Films

‘Daughters of Darkness’ and Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles’

By the time the actress Delphine Seyrig surfaced in the cult classic “Daughters of Darkness,” now streaming on Amazon Prime, she had established herself as a beguiling presence in two Alain Resnais enigmas, “Last Year at Marienbad” and “Muriel,” and in major films by François Truffaut (“Stolen Kisses”) and Luis Buñuel (“The Milky Way”). So what in the world was a sophisticated international star doing in a soft-focus lesbian vampire film from Belgium?

The imperious glamour of Seyrig’s performance as a 300-year-old vampire countess helps explain the enduring high-art/low-art appeal of “Daughters of Darkness,” which has the prurience of drive-in fare but a surprising sophistication, too. Set mostly in an opulent seafront hotel in the off-season, the film already ventures into dark sexual fantasy when two newlyweds (John Karlen and Danielle Ouimet) arrive for an extended stay. Then the ageless Seyrig and her companion (Andrea Rau) take an interest in them. The director Harry Kümel delivers the requisite gore and sadism, but he also gives the film a slow, entrancing, dreamlike texture.

Four years later, Seyrig played the defining role of her career in Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles,” currently streaming on the Criterion Channel. For 201 minutes, Akerman details the grinding domestic routine of Seyrig’s Dielman, a middle-aged widow who’s shown doing chores — including, famously, the peeling of many potatoes — and turning the occasional trick. Throughout these mundane tasks, Akerman and Seyrig suggest hairline cracks in her inscrutable facade, leading to an ending of shocking psychological impact. — Scott Tobias

Stream “Daughters of Darkness” on Amazon Prime. Rent it on Google Play and YouTube.

Stream “Jeanne Dielman” on Criterion Channel. Rent it on Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu.

Also this weekend

Paul Giamatti on “Billions,” paying tribute to another Showtime show.Jeff Neumann/Showtime

  • “Billions” returns for its fifth season Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.
  • The “Westworld” season finale is Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO; it has been renewed for a fourth season.
  • “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” and “Good Girls” also have their season finales Sunday at 9 and 10 p.m. on NBC. So far neither show has been renewed for another season.
  • “Rick and Morty” returns for the second half of its fourth season Sunday at 11:30 p.m. on Adult Swim.

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