A slate of new and classic movies and TV are available to watch this weekend, from Netflix’s new fantasy show Cursed to the more-than 5,000 hours of entertainment now available via Peacock. To make sense of it all, Observer Entertainment has curated the guide below to help figure out what to watch this weekend on your off-hours. The major streaming services alike are represented below, from Netflix to Hulu to Amazon, and we’ve offered recommendations for for all of them, including both new releases as well as hidden gems that may be buried between the cracks.
The list below is not comprehensive, but it is curated. Here are some of the finest offerings available to stream online or watch on TV right now.
Netflix’s newest splashy fantasy release is Cursed—which tells the story of Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, before King Arthur achieved his legendary monarchy. The early episodes of Cursed are messy, but fun. It’s adapted from an illustrated novel by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler and its first episodes are directed by Zetna Fuentes, who endeavored to bring some Lord of the Rings flavor to the show—including an epic long take in its first episode. Watch Cursed on Netflix.
The greatness of SyFy’s Bush-era Battlestar Galactica series is hard to summarize. At once it was a political drama, a sci-fi war epic, a gripping account of refugee life after a genocide and an aggressively meta-physical commentary on humanity’s place in the universe. It’s right up there with Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation (two other shows that creator Ronald D. Moore worked on) as one of the greatest science-fiction narratives of the last several decades. And you can watch it for free (with ads) on Peacock. Watch Battlestar Galactica on Peacock.
Amazon Prime Video
Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy (both BoJack Horseman alumni), Undone may have been 2019’s most visually innovative show. It stars Rosa Salazar as a young woman living with mental health issues and hearing loss who suddenly discovers she can manipulate time after undergoing a traumatic experience. Watch Undone on Amazon Prime Video.
Directed by Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book (2016) is one of the Disney remakes that feels like it actually had something new to say. It retells Rudyard Kipling’s stories about Mowgli and Shere Khan but used its cutting-edge animation more elegantly and creatively than, say, The Lion King did several years later, which largely amounted to a carbon copy of the original. Both are on Disney+ but my pick would be The Jungle Book any day. Watch The Jungle Book on Disney+.
The granddaddy of the hospital drama has been on on-and-off Hulu for a very long, long time, and I urge everyone to watch it. St. Elsewhere cast a murderer’s row of talent over its run: William Daniels (The Graduate, Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World), Ed Begley Jr., Howie Mandel, David Morse, Denzel Washington, Alfre Woodard and many, many more incredible actors starred in or had roles on the show. It’s a classic. Watch St. Elsewhere on Hulu.
Twenty years ago this week, this movie changed Hollywood forever. X-Men is one of the great modern superhero blockbusters—an ancestor to the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe and an important trendsetter for all the Hollywood intellectual property tentpoles that came after it. “Nobody had made those movies before, certainly not on the level that we were doing it,” the actress Famke Janssen told Observer earlier this week in a wide-reaching discussion with the film’s creative team. Watch X-Men on HBO Max.
Loren Bouchard gave us Bob’s Burgers and Home Movies and is now back with Central Park—starring Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr. and more. The show is an animated comedy that revolves around the Tillerman-Hunter family who live in New York’s most famous green space as they work to protect the park from a the clutches of a greedy land developer. It’s still early in the show’s run, but like Bob’s Burgers, Central Park wins on its quirky comedy and offbeat characters. (Note that Kristen Bell recently dropped out of the show over concerns about playing a mixed-race character.) Watch Central Park on Apple TV+.
More than 20 years after its release, Galaxy Quest is still the best parodic spin of the Star Trek franchise, easily eclipsing lesser efforts like The Orville or Black Mirror‘s “USS Callister,” and it’s available to watch for free on Tubi. A star-studded cast led by the legendary Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver (winking at her Alien roles) and Tim Allen (cast perfectly in the role of an insufferable asshole)—Galaxy Quest is meta-roast of all things Trekkie as the cast of a long-running sci-fi TV series has to deal with actual alien invaders. Whether you love the show or love to make fun of its fandom, you will enjoy this movie. Watch Galaxy Quest on Tubi.
And on demand, a harrowing WW2 film
Our review today by Oliver Jones called The Painted Bird, a new film by Czech director Vàclav Marhoul, one of “the most relentless depictions of evil ever” and we stand by it. As Jones describes it, an animal being set on fire is perhaps “the least-worst thing that happens to” the protagonist the course of the movie. Nonetheless he believes, and I agree, that the film should be watched and that artistic depictions of atrocity should be evaluated. If we are to live in a more compassionate and humane world, we cannot look away from horrors. Watch The Painted Bird through IFC Films.
Keeping Watch is a regular endorsement of TV and movies worth your time.