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7 New TV Shows to Watch This Week, From ‘For All Mankind’ to ‘Ms. Marvel’

Also a new Adam Sandler movie and a very timely doc

Well, we survived the great content crush of spring 2022. (Timed, of course, for maximum Emmy-voting effectiveness.) Now we can just sit back, take a nice little breather and … wait, what’s that you say? There’s still tons of great television, streaming every week, including this week which contains the return of “For All Mankind,” the launch of a terrific Marvel Studios series on Disney+ and a new Adam Sandler sports drama on Netflix? All the better! May the content crush never end!

On with the television!

spring tv watch list premiere

“For All Mankind”

Friday, June 10, Apple TV+

For All Mankind
Apple TV+

“For All Mankind” has been heralded as one of the greatest shows on TV. And that isn’t an unfair assessment. It’s an alternate history look at the space race. Instead of beating Russia to the moon, the U.S. followed them. Real-life heroes are dramatized alongside wholly made-up characters. And everything is rendered in such vivid detail, both conceptually and emotionally, that it feels like watching a historical dramatization of something that actually happened but never did. The third season of the show skips forward yet again; not quite to the 1995 that was teased at the very end of Season 2, but slightly before, as NASA, Russia and a private spaceflight firm (sound familiar?) begin a three-way race to Mars. What’s more, it’s set against the backdrop of the 1992 election cycle; only instead of Bob Dole, Bill Clinton is running against Jodi Balfour’s Ellen Wilson. That’s really all we can give away with good conscience. If you’ve been watching the show, you’re already pumped for Season 3. If you’re new to it and intrigued, you have time to catch up. It’s one small step, really. [TRAILER]

spring tv watch list finale

“The Staircase”

Thursday, June 9, HBO Max

the-staircase-colin-firth-toni-collette
HBO Max

“The Staircase” really should have been a sensation. If it had been on linear HBO, maybe it would have been. This series had everything that usually makes for what used to be referred to as water-cooler television – based-on-a-true-story salaciousness, killer twists, weird sex scenes, an owl attack. But it has fallen between the cracks, probably due to the crush of great new programming this spring and, again, because it’s only on HBO Max. “The Staircase” is also full of dynamo performances, led by Colin Firth as a bizarro failed journalist who may or may not have pushed his wife (Toni Collette) down the stairs, landing him in prison for life. Nimbly directed, with a narrative that toggles effortlessly from past to present and between real and imagined scenarios, it’s grim but rewarding. And even if you know the story, you don’t know what to expect – particularly with this final episode. Cannot wait. [INTERVIEW]

spring tv watch list movie

“Hustle”
Wednesday, June 8, Netflix

Hustle
Scott Yamano/Netflix

The ballad of Adam Sandler and Netflix has a new verse. “Hustle” places Sandler more squarely in the dramatic space (sorry, “Hubie Halloween” superfans), with the star playing a former basketball scout who attempts to revive his career by recruiting a player from overseas. Sounds good, right? The cast includes Queen Latifah, Ben Foster, Robert Duvall, Anthony Edwards and Juancho Hernangómez, the real-life Utah Jazz player who plays Sandler’s new recruit. (There were a number of NBA stars spotted in the trailer, which maybe isn’t a surprise since the movie is produced by LeBron James.) If you like your Sandler to be a little serious sometimes, “Hustle” (which has already been warmly received by critics) should be a slam dunk. [REVIEW]

spring tv watch list documentary

The Janes”

Wednesday, June 8 at 9 p.m., HBO

The Janes
HBO Documentary Films/Courtesy of Sundance

Some documentaries take on a timeliness that is a little eerie, especially given how long it takes to shoot and edit a documentary feature. That is certainly the case with “The Janes,” which tells the story of The Jane Collective, an underground group in Chicago that helped provide more than 11,000 illegal abortions in the years before Roe v. Wade legalized the procedure nationwide. Directors Emma Pildes and Tia Lessin drew early raves out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where the movie was hailed as “urgent and thoroughly engaging” and “rousing.” In light of a looming Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade altogether, the film might also foreshadow the future in many American states. [REVIEW]

spring tv watch list re-watch

“High Flying Bird”
Netflix

High Flying Bird
Netflix

If Sandler’s “Hustle” has you itchy for more Netflix basketball drama, why not check out “High Flying Bird,” Steven Soderbergh’s 2019 drama starring André Holland and Zazie Beetz alongside (here we go) real-life NBA players like Reggie Jackson and Karl-Anthony Towns. “High Flying Bird” is a little headier than most sports movies (it boasts an original script by “Moonlight” scribe Tarell Alvin McCraney), with Holland playing an agent who attempts to revolutionize the industry in 72 hours, thanks to a league-wide lockout. Shot entirely on the iPhone 8 (!), which brings an urgency and accessibility to the story, and with a stellar supporting cast that includes Kyle MacLachlan and Bill Duke, “High Flying Bird” is absolutely electric. The film also makes a great double feature with “Hustle” this week. And at 91 minutes, it’s shorter than some of the new “Stranger Things” episodes. [WATCH]

spring tv watch list best of rest

“Irma Vep”
Monday, June 6 at 9 p.m., HBO
French writer-director Olivier Assayas adapted his own 1996 movie of the same name into a limited series, in which Alicia Vikander plays an American actress working on a new version of “Les Vampires.” As her commitment to the role starts to deepen, she begins to lose herself in more than one way. (Obviously, there’s a whole new meta element with Assayas remaking his own film.) The original “Irma Vep” was a lightning rod when it was first released (Owen Gleiberman named it one of the worst films of the year in the pages of Entertainment Weekly) but has simmered into a cult classic over the years. Maybe this new version, which debuted last month at the Cannes Film Festival, will be a favorite out of the gate. [TRAILER]

“That’s My Time With David Letterman”
Tuesday, June 7, Netflix

This new crop of episodes was recorded during the recent Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival that took over a large swath of Los Angeles. The format is slightly different – this time, Letterman is joined by a different comedian, who does a small set before chatting with the late-night legend. Sounds fun! [RECAP]

“Ms. Marvel”
Wednesday, June 8, Disney+
The latest Marvel Studios series for Disney+ is also one of the best. “Ms. Marvel” stars Iman Vellani, a self-described “brown girl from Jersey,” who idolizes Captain Marvel and who, one day, starts exhibiting superpowers of her own. Lively and emotionally real, with a kind of comic book-y style reminiscent of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and a tone that is closer in line with YA fiction than anything Marvel Studios has attempted before, “Ms. Marvel” is a winner. And Vellani is a star. (She’ll be reprising her role in the upcoming “Captain Marvel” sequel, “The Marvels,” slated to hit theaters next summer.) The MCU is expanding! [TRAILER]

“First Kill”
Friday, June 10, Netflix
Based on the V. E. Schwab short story of the same name (Schwab created the series too), “First Kill” is a Y.A. vampire story that is different in a couple of key respects. One – the young couple is interracial, which is a welcome change (one is the latest in a long line of monster hunters, the other is a “legacy vampire” ready for her … first kill). But the other, even more progressive element is that the vampire and the slayer are two young women. Yep, “First Kill” is super gay! The trailer promises some “Buffy”-on-a-budget fun and the Internet should respond very kindly to the gay vampire drama. Twitter will shake. [TRAILER]

“Peaky Blinders”
Friday, June 10, Netflix
This beloved, incredibly British period drama (set in the Birmingham criminal underworld directly after World War I) is finally nearing the end. After the announcement of a sixth and final season, there was a wee bit of backtracking with plans for a feature film to follow. Still, this is the end of “Peaky Blinders” as we have come to know it. This season aired earlier this year on the BBC but is finally coming stateside, with all six episodes once again written by creator Steven Knight. Are you ready to say goodbye (at least for now) to “Peaky Blinders?” Blimey. [TRAILER]

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