Yes, the weather is getting better, but you can’t be outside all the time, right? You still need shows to stream and, potentially, binge.
Here are four great choices, and a couple you might want to check out.
“Star Trek: Picard” (Paramount+) • If you are even a casual fan of “Star Trek,” you don’t want to miss this — it’s a gift to Trekkers and Trekkies.
As is so often the case with “Star Trek,” there’s a huge threat to the Federation and only our heroes stand in the way of disaster. And, unlike the first two seasons of “Picard,” the third season reunites most of the original cast of “Next Generation” to get the job done — Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is joined by William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton), Worf (Michael Dorn) and maybe even Data (Brent Spiner).
There are callbacks to not just “Next Generation,” but “Deep Space Nine,” “Enterprise,” “Voyager” (Jeri Ryan, who plays Seven of Nine, is a regular) and the original “Star Trek.” Multiple familiar characters pop up, and there are a few new ones who fit in beautifully. And the effects are amazing. Season 3 features the greatest space battles in “Trek” history.
I really want to expound, but I don’t want to spoil it for you if you’re not already watching. And I’m not kidding, Trekkers — it’s worth subscribing to Paramount+ just to see this.
• Episodes 1-9 are streaming. The season — and series — finale debuts on Thursday.
“Schmigadoon!” (Apple TV+) • Season 1 of this decidedly odd musical series was an absolute delight, so it’s not all that surprising that Season 2 doesn’t quite live up to it.
Maybe that’s because the first season was an ode to, and send-up of, 1940s and 1950s musicals. Including, of course, “Brigadoon.” The second season’s parodies/pays tribute to musicals from the 1960s through the early 2000s, and “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Company,” “Dreamgirls,” “Hair,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Sweeney Todd” aren’t always all that joyful.
Anyway … Season 2 begins with Mel (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) longing to return to Schmigadoon. But when they try to find their way back, they end up in Schmicago, where they find themselves caught up in a murder mystery. Comparisons to Season 1 aside, this second go-round is filled with great music and production numbers, and it’s an enormous amount of fun.
The Episode 4 “Annie”-”Sweeney Todd” mashup alone makes the six half-hour episodes worth watching.
• The first three episodes are currently streaming on Apple TV+. The final three episodes premiere on the next three Wednesdays — April 19, April 26 and May 3.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime) • The good news is that this tremendous series is back. The bad news is that the fifth season will be the last.
Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) is more driven than ever to make a go of her stand-up comedy career, and her manager, Susie (Alex Borstein), is determined to book her on a Johnny Carson-like national talk show. And is romance in the offing?
• Three episodes are now streaming. Episodes 4-9 will start streaming, one at a time, on Fridays from April 21-May 26.
“Unstable” (Netflix) • Rob Lowe and his son, John Owen Lowe, co-created “Unstable” with Victor Fresco — the man behind “Better Off Ted,” the hilarious 2009-2010 ABC corporate satire. Like “Ted,” “Unstable” is an often over-the-top, manic comedy that, nonetheless, has a heart.
Rob Lowe stars as Ellis Dragon, a self-involved biotech genius who has been a mess since the recent death of his wife. And without him, the Dragon company is at risk. So CFO Anna (Sian Clifford) talks Ellis’ sort-of estranged son, Jackson (John Owen Lowe), into returning home to try to stabilize his father.
“Unstable” is filled with eccentric characters and sudden twists. I had to pause several times because I was laughing so hard.
• All eight episodes are streaming on Netflix. And, by the way, all 26 episodes of “Better Off Ted” are streaming on Hulu.
And the maybes
“Beef” (Netflix) • What should have been a nothing parking-lot incident turns into a major beef between two deeply flawed, high-strung people: Danny (Steven Yuen), a morose, struggling contractor, and Amy (Ali Wong), an entrepreneur who’s hiding her true self from, well, everyone.
This is not just about Danny and Ali trying to get back at each other. It’s about their not-so-happy lives, which occasionally intersect. That’s vague, but no spoilers here.
Netflix describes this as a “dark comedy.” It’s certainly dark, but it’s more clever than comedic. I kept watching to see how it ended, but I can’t say that I’m really a fan.
If you do make it to the final episode, DO NOT stop watching before it’s completely over. Just sayin’.
• All 10 episodes are now streaming.
“Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (Paramount+) • This is a prequel, set four years before the events in the 1978 movie musical. Which was, of course, based on the 1971 stage musical.
Anyway, “Pink Ladies” takes place in the 1954-55 school year at Rydell High. A nerdy new girl, Jane (Marisa Davila), falls for the Big Man on Campus, Buddy (Jason Schmidt), but she’s the target of mean-girl attacks and unfounded rumors — so she and three other budding Pink Ladies fight back.
This is best by far when they’re singing and dancing, and far less entertaining when they stop to talk. If you can make it through the too-long (about an hour), too-talky first episode, it does get better. Subsequent episodes are closer to 42 minutes long.
• The first three episodes are currently streaming on Paramount+. Episodes 4-10 premiere one at a time on Thursdays from April 20-June 1.
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