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Winter TV Watch List, Week of March 5 – 11: ‘Turning Red,’ ‘Winning Time’ and the Return of Andy Warhol

Another busy week

Another week, another overwhelming amount of new TV. From ripped-from-the-headlines accounts of the Los Angeles Lakers and suburban murders (not in the same show), to a documentary on Andy Warhol, to new movies from Pixar and Ryan Reynolds, plus a new Weeknd concert special and an intriguing mystery starring Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins (Baby Billy himself), this week really does have everything.

Without further ado (because honestly we can’t spare another minute), on with the television!

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HBO

“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”
Sunday, March 6 at 9 p.m., HBO

Your next based-on-a-true-story obsession is here. “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” is based on Jeff Pearlman’s nonfiction book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s,” which charted the immortal franchise during its heyday with Magic Johnson (who is currently very annoyed at this new show and mounting his own series documenting the era). This should hit that nostalgic sweet spot that something like ESPN’s Michael Jordan doc “The Last Dance” did, although his new HBO series has a bunch of famous people playing historical figures from the period (John C. Reilly plays owner Jerry Buss while Jason Clarke plays coach Jerry West and Adrien Brody plays coach Pat Riley). “Don’t Look Up” director Adam McKay directed the first episode and executive produces the show, so you can expect his patented shaky-cam neo-realism and finger-in-the-eye sensibility when it comes to the establishment. The only thing more fun than watching “Winning Time” would probably be being at one of the games back then. [REVIEW]

winter tv finale
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Hulu

“Pam & Tommy”
Wednesday, March 9, Hulu

“Pam & Tommy,” the miniseries chronicling the misadventures of “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) following the theft and distribution of a private sex tape, has been surprising and fun to watch, a time capsule to a time when the internet was burgeoning, sexism and misogyny were a much bigger part of the mainstream, and celebrity culture was largely defined by everyone but the celebrity themselves. All of the performers (besides the actor they got to play Jay Leno) has been admirably uninterested in caricature; these were real people going through an incredibly chaotic period in their lives. It’s a little sad that the miniseries is coming to an end, although given how extreme some scenes have been (the talking penis, anyone?), we might not be able to handle much more of “Pam & Tommy.” [REVIEW]

winter tv watch list movie

“Turning Red”

Friday, March 11, Disney+

turning-red
Disney/Pixar

Like last summer’s “Luca,” Pixar’s latest animated marvel is debuting exclusively on Disney+. “Turning Red” is the story of Mei (Rosalie Chiang), a 13-year-old girl who, on the verge of puberty, finds herself in a very unfortunate position: Every time she gets too emotional, she turns into a magical, giant red panda. You know, that old story. Now she has to navigate her relationship with her doting mother (Sandra Oh), spend time with her group of BFFs, and try to get to the big concert performed by their favorite boy band 4*Town (Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas wrote the band’s new songs), all while keeping her mystical secret from running wild. If you love early-2000s nostalgia, director Domee Shi’s earlier Pixar short “Bao,” adorable things, and sobbing heavily at an animated movie made for children, then “Turning Red” should probably be appointment television. [INTERVIEW]

winter tv watch list documentary
Andy Warhol Diaries
Netflix

“The Andy Warhol Diaries”
Wednesday, March 9, Netflix

Produced by Ryan Murphy and directed by Andrew Rossi, “The Andy Warhol Diaries” (based, in part, on the book of the same name, collected and edited by his longtime friend Pat Hackett), comes to Netflix with perfectly Warholian flourishes – talking head interviews with contemporaries and co-workers, gobs of archival stock footage knowingly recontextualized, and narration from Warhol himself via a cutting-edge A.I. program. (Similar programs were used for “Roadrunner,” the Anthony Bourdain documentary, and the episodes of “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett” that featured a young Mark Hamill.) Will this new documentary be high art? Who knows? But it looks to offer an intimate view of a famously elusive figure, and that sound be riveting enough. [TRAILER]

winter tv watch rewatch of the week
Weeknd Dawn FM
Amazon Prime Video

“The Dawn FM Experience”
Amazon Prime Video

“The Dawn FM Experience,” an elaborate live performance by the Weeknd (né Abel Tesfaye) debuted just last weekend is already worth a re-watch. The special is tied into the music and mythology of his latest album, the absolutely stunning “Dawn FM,” with the Weeknd playing an elderly version of himself, who is trapped in a purgatorial space, looking back on his life and the decisions he’s made. The Micah Bickham-directed special is visually ravishing, inspired by Gaspar Noe’s “Climax,” the recent “Suspiria” remake, and a sweaty night out at the club (among other things). Throw it on and turn your living room into a full-blown dance party. It’ll take your breath away. [WATCH]

winter tv watch best of the rest

“Shining Vale”
Sunday, March 6 at 10 p.m., Starz

Honestly, we could use more half-hour horror comedies. And that’s exactly what “Shining Vale” is. Starring certifiable “Scream” queen Courteney Cox as a novelist suffering from writer’s’ block and the dysfunctional leader of a family who moves, with her husband (Greg Kinnear) and two kids, into a house that is 100% haunted. (The ghost is played by Mira Sorvino.) The trailer suggests that the tone is sort of “American Horror Story” lite, with a killer (pun intended) supporting cast that also includes “Twin Peaks” vet Sherilyn Fenn and Judith Light. Could be a scream! [TRAILER]

“The Thing About Pam”
Tuesday, March 8 at 10 p.m., NBC

This Blumhouse-produced based-on-a-true-crime story is notable for a few reasons. For one, it stars two-time Oscar winner Renée Zellweger in her first regular TV gig since the negligible Netflix series “What If” back in 2019 (no, we don’t remember it either). And then there’s the subject matter – the too-juicy story of Pam Hupp, a seemingly normal woman who soon finds herself entangled in an outrageous murder plot (the details are too good and too bizarre to give away here). The last thing about “The Thing About Pam” is how stellar the supporting cast is. Besides Zellweger, the show features Josh Duhamel, Katy Mixon and Judy Greer, with narration from “20/20” mainstay Keith Morrison (yes, really). [CONTROVERSY]

“Our Flag Means Death”
Thursday, March 10, HBO Max

In a unique release schedule, HBO Max debuted the first three episodes of “Our Flag Means Death,” a new pirate comedy executive produced by Taika Waititi (he also directed the first episode). And this week it premieres the last three episodes of the limited series. So I guess that’s the end of that! “Our Flag Means Death” is loosely based on the life of Stede Bonnet (played by Rhys Darby), an aristocrat who abandoned his fancy life to become a pirate. Straddling the line between swashbuckling adventure and very silly comedy, the series includes appearances from Fred Armisen, Waititi (as Blackbeard), Leslie Jones and Nick Kroll. Just be aware that you’ll probably be talking in pirate-speak for hours after watching the show. [TRAILER]

“The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey”
Friday, March 11, Apple TV+

Based on the novel by crime fiction legend Walter Mosley (who also wrote the limited series), “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” follows a 93-year-old man (Samuel L. Jackson) suffering from dementia who temporarily gains access to his memories via an experimental procedure. With his memories back (and the side effects unknown), he sets about investigating the mysterious death of his nephew. Directors on the series include the great Ramin Bahrani and legendary cinematographer-turned-director Guillermo Navarro. [TRAILER]

“The Adam Project”
Friday, March 11, Netflix

Originally announced a decade ago with Tom Cruise attached to star (it was then known as “Our Name Is Adam”), “The Adam Project” finally debuts on Netflix, this time with Ryan Reynolds in the lead role, reuniting him with his “Free Guy” director Shawn Levy. Reynolds plays Adam, a pilot from the future who steals a time travel device and heads back to 2022, where he reconnects with his younger self (an uncanny and very touching Walker Scobell). From there, a larger plot emerges requiring the pair to travel further back in time to spend time with their dad (Mark Ruffalo), who passed away in a car accident. The film promises a potent mixture of emotional family drama and muscular sci-fi adventure — plus Catherine Keener as the bad guy. [TRAILER]

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