Need a break? Shut off the outside world with some of the best shows and movies on TV this week. And it’s a good week, too. After most networks and streaming services took last week off because of the 2020 presidential election, they’re coming back with a fury this week, with a bunch of great options. Comedy fans will especially have a good time, but there are a few wonderful documentaries, a new drama that will be talked about a lot, and the return of one of broadcast’s great primetime soaps.
Our full list of editors’ picks for the week are below, but if this isn’t enough and you’re looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, sign up for our free spam-free Watch This Now newsletter that delivers the best TV show picks straight to your inbox, or check out the best shows and movies in November on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Series premiere Sunday at 11/10c on Showtime, YouTube (free); complete season on Showtime’s streaming apps
Comedy supergroup Fred Armisen, John C. Reilly, and Tim Heidecker play a trio of astronauts training to be the first on a manned station on the moon, and that should already be enough to get you revved up to watch this. It’s a claustrophobic workplace comedy filled with incompetence and danger (usually from their incompetence) and three great performances, particularly from Heidecker. This is the show that Netflix’s much ballyhooed Space Force should have been. Showtime is making the premiere episode available for free on YouTube, and if you’re a binger, all of Season 1 will be available on Showtime’s streaming apps.
Series premiere Monday at 10/9c on HBO
Remember when you were in your 20s and you could work long hours in the office all day and then go clubbing all night, sleep in a bus stop, then splash water under your arms the next morning and do it all over again? This British series follows a group of recent college grads vying for jobs at a cutthroat financial institution in London where they work hard and party hard. It’s a combo of coming-of-age drama and scathing rebuke of capitalism, but to be honest, needs a little more work with character and style to become a legit good series, and unless you are a senior partner at a hedge fund, most of the work lingo — and the supposed tension that comes from it — will go right over your head. Still, it’s watchable for those fascinated by the monster that is the money machine.
First three episodes of Season 1 premiere Tuesday on Hulu
Hannah Fidell’s teeny-tiny 2013 indie film A Teacher gets blown out into a full 10-episode series, this time with Kate Mara playing the role of the titular educator who teaches one of her students (Nick Robinson) about a lot more than English Lit. The series enrolls in Controversy 101 when Mara’s character becomes infatuated and obsessed with one of her students, a high school senior. They begin an illicit relationship, and boy oh boy things get complicated.
The Cost of Winning
Two-episode series premiere Tuesday at 9/8c on HBO
Nothing gets me weepy like a story of a high school football team full of at-risk youth who are saved by a dedicated coach who teaches them life lessons through tough love and athletics! The Cost of Winning follows Baltimore’s St. Frances Catholic School football team, ranked No. 2 in the country, as they try for another winning season AND another season of getting 100 percent of their players, many of whom have grown up in poverty and surrounded by violence, into college. It’s a lot like one of my favorite documentaries of all time, the Oscar-winning Undefeated (available on Netflix and Amazon Prime), which balanced lessons in masculinity, hard work, and dedication with the love of seeing kids reach their full potential. You don’t have to like football to love this. The Cost of Winning is four 30-minute episodes long; two air Tuesday, and the final two air Wednesday.
Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun
Premieres Wednesday on Netflix
Australian comedy troupe Aunty Donna brings their upside-down sense of humor to the United S of A in this wacky, relentless sketch show that has all the manic energy of a rabid wallaby. It is WILD, but also very funny if you’re into absurd humor like Mr. Show or Tim and Eric. The Office‘s Ed Helms and Comedy Bang Bang!‘s Scott Aukerman are among the producers, and it features appearances by Kristen Schaal, Weird Al, and Antony Starr. Don’t be put off by the trailer above; it’s a lot funnier than that indicates.
Station 19/Grey’s Anatomy
Season 4/Season 17 premiere crossover event Thursday at 8/7c on ABC
If you’re looking to escape the doggy doo-doo that was 2020, don’t watch this. COVID-19, wildfires, anxiety, and panic come to Seattle in the three-hour Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy crossover event that kicks off their respective new seasons. Why not throw a nail-biting presidential election in there, too?
Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds
Friday on Apple TV+
Is there anyone better to talk you through the potential extinction-level event of a massive meteor strike than Werner Herzog? The hard German accent of the acclaimed filmmaker and The Mandalorian star sets the perfect mood for discussing an explosive apocalypse from a flying space rock! He’s joined by Clive Oppenheimer, Herzog’s collaborator on the volcano doc Into the Inferno. They talk about other things, of course, like how meteors have affected various cultures both ancient and current, but we’re here for the doomsday pitch.
Stop searching, start watching! TV Guide’s Watch This Now! page has even more TV recommendations.
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