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New Shows to Watch on TV This Week: ‘Atlanta’ Returns and ‘Halo’ Dawns

Plus the return of ”Bridgerton,“ ”Riverdale“ and ”9-1-1“

There’s so much new TV this week that we barely have time to write this intro. From the return of “Atlanta,” “Bridgerton,” “Riverdale,” and “9-1-1,” to Olivia Rodrigo concert films, mega-church documentaries and the long-awaited “Halo” adaptation, there’s simply TOO MUCH TO WATCH. But hey, we know you’ll give it your best shot.

On with the television!

“Atlanta”

Thursday, March 24 at 10 p.m., FX

Atlanta
FX

More than four years after the previous season aired, “Atlanta” is back for its hotly anticipated third season. This season once again stars Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz, and was directed by Glover’s longtime creative collaborator Hiro Murai. But this season of “Atlanta” is markedly free of Atlanta, as the new season follows Paper Boi (Henry) as he goes on his first international tour, with stops in London, Paris and Amsterdam. (Famously, Glover had the entire writing staff moved to London so that he could work on the scripts for season 2 while filming “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Now he’s back!) And while the protracted wait was, indeed, a bummer, fret not – the fourth (and final) season of “Atlanta” will premiere on FX later this year. [TRAILER]

winter tv finale

“Our Flag Means Death”

Thursday, March 24, HBO Max

Our Flag Means Death
HBO Max

Admittedly, “Our Flag Means Death” started out a little shaky, as we followed fancy man Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) as he attempted to start a new life of high-seas piracy. Tonally it was stuck somewhere notorious flop “Cabin Boy” and the British stop-motion animated “Pirates! A Band of Misfits.” But as the series went on, it started revealing formerly hidden complexities, both in terms of Bonnet’s life before he got on the ship (Darby’s character is based on a real historical figure) and later as his relationship with Blackbeard (Taika Waititi) evolved. (Blackbeard wants to learn how to be more of a gentleman and offers to teach Bonnet how to be more of a pirate.) Stuffed with unexpected twists and out-of-left-field cameo appearances (yes, that’s Leslie Jones), “Our Flag Means Death” has sneakily become one of the best shows on TV. And now it’s time for the finale. Ready the cannonballs. [TRAILER]

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“Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u (a SOUR film)”

Friday, March 25, Disney+

Olivia Rodrigo Sour
Disney+

Olivia Rodrigo is already a Disney+ mainstay, thanks to her starring, breakout role on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” (After a regular for two seasons she bumps herself down to recurring for the upcoming season 3.) For this, her first concert film, based on her Grammy-nominated album “SOUR,” we join Rodrigo as she travels from Salt Lake City (where she began writing the album) to Los Angeles (where she finished it). Along the way, she performs new arrangements of songs from the album, interspersed with “intimate interviews and never-before-seen footage from the making of the album” (according to the official release). Considering Disney+’s uniformly excellent music content, from Beyonce’s brilliant “Black is King” to last year’s Beatles-palooza “Get Back,” our hopes are high for this one. [TRAILER]

winter tv watch list documentary

“Hillsong: A Mega-Church Exposed”

Thursday, March 24, Discovery+

hillsong
Discovery+

We love a good mega-church exposed documentary as much as the next red-blooded American, but the downfall of Hillsong, an ultra-trendy, celebrity-endorsed church, was extra delicious. This three-part documentary (all three parts debut on March 24) promises to feature interviews with “Hillsong insiders, megachurch experts and Ranin Karim” (according to the official release). Karim is, of course, the woman whose five-month affair with church pastor Carl Lentz (who helped the church expand its global reach after starting out in Australia), helped bring about his firing and expulsion. Hopefully this will be as much about the culture that allows a mega-church to rise like this (and retain its power in many parts of the world) as much as it’s about the church itself. [TRAILER]

winter tv watch rewatch of the week

“The Righteous Gemstones”

HBO Max

the-righteous-gemstones-season-2-cast
Ryan Green/HBO

If you need more mega-church shenanigans, why not dip into “The Righteous Gemstones?” If you haven’t watched the series, created by Danny McBride and directed by McBride and his two key collaborators, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green, then it’s about time. If somehow you missed season two, which was maybe even more hilarious/outrageous, you could correct that mistake too. The series follows the Gemstone family, led by John Goodman and including sons played by McBride and Adam DeVine (whose season two subplot about training an army of super-strong bible boys is transcendently bizarre) and a daughter played by Edi Patterson, who might be the single funniest human being on television. Yes, it’s extreme, but it’s one of the most well-written, insightful shows on TV. And season 3 can’t come quickly enough. [WATCH]

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“Riverdale”

Sunday, March 20 at 8 p.m., The CW

After last season’s deeply bizarre “Rivervale” five-episode event, “Riverdale” is back in the main continuity (creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed that the “Rivervale” miniseries did happen and is part of the main show’s canon). We’re not revisiting the bombing that ended season 5. This new episode finds Archie, Betty and Jughead dealing with the fallout following the explosion (including alluded-to “mysterious side effects”), while Cheryl and Veronica learn that their family members may have been partially to blame. So, you know, typical “Riverdale” stuff.

“9-1-1” / “9-1-1: Lone Star”

Monday, March 21, 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., Fox The Ryan Murphy co-created emergency procedural and its Texas-set spin-off are on the same night for the first time (that’s a lot of emergency personnel). “9-1-1” continues its fifth season, which began back in the fall of 2021, and “9-1-1: Lone Star” continues its third season, which started at the beginning of the year. But now they’re on the same night! Huzzah! This is giving us big “when ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ were on the same night a million years ago” energy and we’re loving it. [TRAILER]

“Halo”

Thursday, March 24, Paramount+

Yes, “Halo” is finally here. After eons of development, first as a movie overseen by Peter Jackson and now as a television show overseen by Steven Spielberg (the show had its own set of behind-the-scenes troubles), it is debuting on Paramount+. It’s enough to wonder if another sci-fi streaming series, about a guy in an iconic helmet, helped ease their fears. Pablo Schreiber from “Orange is the New Black” plays Master Chief in this big budget, based-on-the-Xbox-game adaptation, which sees a futuristic battle playing out against mech-suited soldiers and scary alien monsters. (You know, that old song.) Jen Taylor, who has been the voice of Cortana in the game and the larger Xbox ecosystem, returns to voice the character here. Very cool! [TRAILER]

“Bridgerton”

Friday, March 25, Netflix

Clutch your pearls, Netflix’s hit bodice-ripper is back! You can expect several things from the breakout, Shona Rhimes-produced hit – coy nudity, modern pop songs rearranged in classical/string versions, and more corsets than you can count. One thing you can’t expect: Regé-Jean Page, the dreamy breakout of the first season, who won’t be returning for season 2. (Don’t worry, you’ll be seeing much more of him soon. He’s plotting his big screen ascendancy.) Still, try to enjoy. Happy “Bridgerton” everyone. [TRAILER]

“Pachinko”

Friday, March 25, Apple TV+

This is the kind of ambitious drama only Apple TV+ would attempt (or could afford) – a sweeping, multigenerational story, based on the best-selling 2017 novel by Min Jin Lee, that features dialogue in three different languages. The eight episodes are directed by two of the most exciting filmmakers working today – Kogonada, whose new film “After Yang” is a masterpiece and playing on Showtime now, and Justin Chon, who directed last year’s underrated “Blue Bayou.” The official logline says that the series “chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they leave their homeland in an indomitable quest to survive and thrive.” Bring it on. [TRAILER]

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