Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, our TV critic Margaret Lyons offers hyper-specific viewing recommendations in our Watching newsletter. Read her latest picks below, and sign up for the Watching newsletter here.
This weekend I have … an hour, and I like stand-up
‘Hannibal Buress: Miami Nights’
When to watch: Now, on YouTube.
Hannibal Buress has the best command of detail of any comedian working today, and his new special, available free, is a knockout. Because of his understated delivery, Buress is able to turn tiny grimaces or fleeting pauses into big moments, and thus when a riff really takes off — for example, imagining a nebulizer party where asthmatics are going wild — it’s even more dazzling. This special was filmed last August, but the climactic segment about being arrested on stupid charges takes on additional resonance right now.
… an hour, and I’m climbing the walls
‘My Cat From Hell: Cat ____ Crazy!’
When to watch: Saturday at 9 p.m., on Animal Planet.
The pandemic is hard on everyone, cats included, and this one-off special has productive advice for pet owners — or maybe it’s advice for all of us. Maybe we’re all acting out because we want to escape? Maybe everyone screaming all the time makes all of us stressed and bitey? Maybe that thing from six years ago actually still is a problem now that you mention it? Jackson Galaxy offers his typical compassionate guidance, and because this was filmed recently, there’s a D.I.Y. aspect to the festivities. I wish this were more focused and less shticky, but it’s such a relief to watch for even one hour someone listen patiently, ask questions, offer guidance and then solve problems. It can be done!
… several hours, and I want a drama with feeling
‘Halt and Catch Fire’
When to watch: Now, on Netflix.
The first season of “Halt and Catch Fire” is by far its weakest, but stick with the show — especially if you’re looking for an engrossing, thoughtful drama that’s not about murder and misery. Set in the 1980s in the early days of computing in Texas, “Halt” has a ton of fun with its scrappy-band-of-misfits vibe, as well as with its grounded, unglamorous but beautifully intimate understanding of how hard it can be to connect with people. If your favorite scenes on screen or in life are when people leave a party and happily complain to each other about how everyone else at that party sucked, you will love this show.