As much of the country reopens after the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, we're more than happy to stay inside, stay safe, and stay put watching our old friend television. Sure, go ahead and hit that outdoor patio seating at your local feeding trough while shouting at your masked server whose hands are splitting open from all the hand-washing they're doing. We'll continue to be entertained by the endless stream of shows in our virus-free environments. But hey, to each their own! (C'mon, be smart out there, people.)
Anyway, this week, the best shows to watch include a do-over of a classic legal drama that your parents watched, a stirring documentary about one of the biggest sports scandals ever, and a guitar-playing Will Ferrell wearing a Viking hat.
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Series premieres Sunday at 9/8c on HBO
You probably remember Perry Mason as an imposing defense attorney somewhere inside that imposing suit as he boiled down murder cases and, like clockwork, wrung out a confession from someone who wasn't his client to prove his client's innocence. Throw most of that out the window, as HBO reboots Perry Mason with The Americans' Matthew Rhys — who's absolutely terrific — playing the iconic TV character as a slightly disheveled, grumpy, boozing, f---ing malcontent who's working a case about a murdered baby in a dirty, grimy 1930s Los Angeles. The eight-episode season of private-eyeing and courtroom drama is bolstered by a wonderful cast, which includes Tatiana Maslany, John Lithgow, and Stephen Root, and a robust budget that brings Depression-era L.A. to gorgeous life under the watchful direction of Game of Thrones' Tim Van Patten. This is how prestige television is done — even if the story ultimately comes up a bit short, the performances and visuals are enough to keep you watching. [TV Guide review]
Season 3 premieres Sunday at 9/8c on Paramount Network
Paramount Network's contemporary Western returns for its third season, with the Duttons picking up the pieces after their war with the Beck brothers led to Kayce's (Luke Grimes) son getting kidnapped and held prisoner by a right-wing militia. The Yellowstone gang was successful in rescuing him, but the violent outburst was wayyyyyy outside the Livestock Commission's jurisdiction, so John (Kevin Costner) has to step down. One of his sons will have to replace him, so who will it be? Elsewhere, Josh Holloway (Lost's Sawyer) joins the cast as Roarke Carter, a hedge fund manager who's a foil for Beth (Kelly Reilly). And the Montana scenery remains as gorgeous as ever. -Liam Mathews
Wednesday on Netflix
This powerful documentary follows the two-year investigation by reporters from The Indianapolis Star who uncovered one of the greatest sports scandals in history: the abuse of hundreds of gymnasts at the hands of doctor Larry Nassar. Athlete A is a reference to Maggie Nichols, who first brought complaints about Nassar to USA Gymnastics in 2015, but the film follows many of the survivors who were brave enough to come forward. The film is about a program rotten to its core, the sacrifice of young athletes to uphold an image, and the lives affected by the evil that was allowed to operate.
Season 3 premieres Thursday on HBO Max
It's been two and a half years since Season 2 of Search Party ended on TBS, but it still serves as one of the best programs to capture (and playfully make fun of!) the millennial generation. After spending the first two seasons looking for a missing person and getting into a little murder, four friends, led by Alia Shawkat's Dory, reckon with their actions when the law comes looking for them. Search Party's greatest asset is its unique tone, which takes a few episodes to ease into, but once you recognize the series' ability to bob and weave through comedy and drama, it becomes a highly addictive binge. The new season features new cast members Michaela Watkins, Louie Anderson, and a scene-stealing performance from Shalita Grant as Dory's ditzy lawyer.
Season 2 premieres Thursday on HBO Max, DC Universe
The best part of the never-ending oversaturation of superhero shows and movies in our lives is that there are finally superhero shows for people who don't really like superhero shows. The CW's DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Amazon's The Boys immediately come to mind, but don't sleep on Doom Patrol, which was pretty much undiscovered as a DC Universe exclusive in Season 1, but moves to HBO Max for Season 2. Doom Patrol follows a real ragtag group of unstable superheroes — one's a robot, another is a starlet with stretchy, gooey limbs, for example — all of whom have been disfigured in someway by their powers, but use that commonality to team up together to fight whatever evil is out there. It's a weird one, leaning into comedy and fun visuals, but it still pulls off wonderful character arcs. In Season 2, the group gets shrunk and fights rats while trying to keep control of their leader's daughter, whose imagination turns out to be the strongest power of all of them.
Friday on Netflix
In this farcical film, Will Ferrell plays one half of a music duo from Iceland competing in Europe's top musical reality competition series, what more do you need to know? Rachel McAdams also stars.
Season 3 premieres Saturday on Netflix
The third and final season of Netflix's hit sci-fi series Dark is guaranteed to make your head hurt with its complex exploration of time travel and multiple worlds, but it's also some of the most engrossing television you'll watch all year. To say much about what occurs in these final eight episodes would be to spoil a series of revelations somehow wilder than last season's mammoth reveals. The adventure that Jonas and the rest of the characters go on this season fully embodies Doctor Who's classic explanation of time, which is that it's a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey ball of stuff. As Jonas attempts to stop the cycle and save both Martha and his universe from its apocalyptic future, we'll meet alternate versions of the characters we already know and love (or hate, in the case of Hannah). But nothing is simple, or even what it appears to be at first. Trust us when we say you just need to watch it for yourselves. –Kaitlin Thomas
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