‘Glee’ comes to Disney+ and more ideas for what to watch this weekend
Welcome to Screen Gab, the newsletter for everyone who still likes to get out of the house once in a while.
Though escapism and vicarious travel have been consistent themes of ours since launching last summer, this is a weekly dispatch about TV and streaming movies. The whole point is staying in. But as Kristina Garcia writes for The Times’ 100th birthday celebration of the Hollywood Bowl, the L.A. landmark has enjoyed a love affair with both the silver screen and the small one, from “A Star Is Born” to “CSI” — so if you can’t go to the Bowl this centenary summer, we can at least bring the Bowl to you.
Plus, Screen Gab No. 38 features highlights from our podcast interview with “Stranger Things” star David Harbour, a musical nod to “Glee’s” arrival on Disney+, recommendations, listings and more.
And, as always, we’re looking for reader picks: Send your TV or streaming movie recommendations to email@example.com with your name and location. Submissions should be no longer than 200 words and are subject to editing for length and clarity.
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Recommendations from the film and TV experts at The Times
It feels almost too obvious to recommend any installment of the “Drag Race” franchise during Pride month, but the current season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” (Paramount+) has been too stupid-good not to mention. For its seventh season, the spinoff has assembled a powerhouse cast of previous winners — contestants that done already done had theirses — for a chance to be the first queen in herstory to win “Drag Race” twice. Forgoing the usual elimination format for a points system has resulted in the queens really bringing their A-game every week in both their runway looks and challenges that test their charisma, comedy chops, creativity and more. The advantage given to each week’s winner adds a bit of your standard reality TV drama, but overall the season has felt most like a celebration of “Drag Race” itself, where everyone genuinely respects their competitors’ art and enjoys this opportunity to perform together. —Tracy Brown
“Billy the Kid” (Epix) challenges the mythology around one of America’s legendary outlaws in an eight-part drama that looks at the gunslinger’s origin story and his short life through an alternate lens. The child of poor Irish immigrants who left the squalid tenements of New York with his family for the promise of the West, Billy (born Henry McCarty) was shaped by unfair circumstance, according to this engrossing drama created by showrunner Michael Hirst (“Vikings”). Billy, played by English actor Tom Blyth, was orphaned out West and had to fend for himself among the thieves, carpetbaggers and opportunists of the gold rush era. He becomes a wanted man after killing in self-defense, setting up his life on the run. There are plenty of gun fights, but classism, prejudice and corruption are the ultimate enemies in this cinematic tale of survival. —Lorraine Ali
A weekly chat with actors, writers, directors and more about what they’re working on — and what they’re watching
The first part of “Stranger Things 4” has already been making an impact since it was released on Netflix last week. (Anything that gets a new generation listening to Kate Bush is simply a net positive.) For actor David Harbour, who plays Chief Jim Hopper, the popularity of the show has brought leading-man fame and success that the longtime character actor had never experienced. Harbour sat for a bracingly candid interview on the Envelope podcast this week, talking about the show and how it has changed his life. In the following outtake from the conversation, Harbour talks about his relationship with series creators Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer and how he dealt with Hopper starting the new season in a Russian prison camp. (Mild spoilers ahead.) —Mark Olsen
You mentioned how you were talking with the Duffer Brothers about what would happen to your character in the new season. How has your dynamic with them grown over the seasons of the show?
I mean, I shouldn’t have been hired for this project. There were a lot more qualified people at the time. And I did not think I would be hired. And I don’t know that they thought they’d have a hit show. We were all just making this little thing in Atlanta that nobody cared about or thought about. And so in that way, there was a kind of freedom. We’re just nerds who love film and certainly film from that era, but I’m a lot older than them, so I really experienced that film they’re sort of retroactively experiencing. I was like truly Will’s age in the show. I was going to see “Back to the Future” when I was 10 years old. And so we would kick around ideas almost right from the very beginning. There were a couple of things in the script that I loved, [which] I brought up to them in the initial meetings, and so we started riffing on these ideas throughout the first season and then over the seasons. Every year I send them an email with a bunch of crazy pitches in it. Some of them are ludicrous, and they just laugh and laugh at me. And some of them are good.
Do you still get surprised when the Duffers send you the scripts for the new season?
Stuff always in the writing surprises me. The overall shape ... I know. So I can sort of lay pipe throughout emotionally. But in terms of specific beats, I don’t know any of that. Like, I didn’t know that he’d get out of prison. I knew he’d have to try to escape, but I didn’t know he’d get out and then have to get put back in and have to do that whole fight with the thing in the pit. All that stuff was sort of up in the air. At one point there was a railroad there and there was a monster on a train thing, which I still love, but it was just an idea.
Times staffers chew on the pop culture of the moment — love it, hate it or somewhere in between
Back in 2009, “Glee” won over critics and audiences with an unapologetically earnest arrangement of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The series then went on to commit many, many, many musical offenses throughout its six seasons — all of which are streaming on Hulu and Disney+ as of June 1 — but, every once in a while, the cast would interrupt its chaotic set lists with a wonderful, diamond-in-the-rough cover. The Times’ deputy entertainment editor Matt Brennan and staff writer Ashley Lee break down the “Glee” performances most worth watching. (Fair warning, all of our choices come from Season 1 through 3, easily the series’ strongest.)
“Don’t Stop Believin’”: Whether you prefer the stripped-down version that caps off the pilot episode or the no-holds-barred medley that brings the series’ near-perfect first season to a close, there may be no tune that more completely captures the “Glee” gestalt: a dream of connection and (self-) discovery so powerful it can only be expressed through song. —M.B.
“Dream On”: “Glee” was a revolving door of guest stars, with Ricky Martin, Carol Burnett, John Stamos, Matt Bomer, Kate Hudson, Demi Lovato and Idina Menzel among those who picked up the mic. Neil Patrick Harris won an Emmy for his Season 1 appearance as the nemesis of Matthew Morrison, who joins him for this Aerosmith hit. —A.L.
“Teenage Dream”: To this day, I remain as wide-eyed as Kurt (Chris Colfer) himself watching Blaine (Darren Criss) and the Warblers channel the striped-and-spatted showmanship of the barbershop quartet into Katy Perry’s romantic anthem. And I don’t just love it because the number sparks one of queer TV’s most memorable love stories. It’s also the rare (only?) “Glee” cover that is incontrovertibly better than the original. —M.B.
“I Feel Pretty”/“Unpretty”: Who would have guessed that a “West Side Story” song and a TLC hit would go so well together? This Season 2 duet between enemies-turned-friends Quinn (Dianna Agron) and Rachel (Lea Michele) remains insightful and emotional, as the latter struggles with self-love and contemplates getting some cosmetic surgery. —A.L.
“Rumour Has It”/“Someone Like You”: “Glee” remains a gift for introducing audiences to the late Naya Rivera and the great Amber Riley, who each had more talent than the series knew what to do with. They were often paired for upbeat numbers, this Season 3 moment being a pitch-perfect blend of Adele songs and a showcase for Rivera’s underrated acting chops. —A.L.
Listings coordinator Matt Cooper highlights the TV shows and streaming movies to keep an eye on
Fri., June 3
“The Boys” (Prime Video): They’re back in town for a sure-to-be “diabolical” third season of this darkly comic sci-fi action drama.
“Fire Island” (Hulu): Two BFFs take a gaycation at the Long Island hot spot in this 2022 rom-com.
“The Floor Is Lava” (Netflix): Watch your step as the competition returns for Season 2.
“Hollywood Stargirl” (Disney+): And after all, she’s Grace VanderWaal in this sequel to the teen-themed 2020 TV movie.
“Physical” (Apple TV+): Rose Byrne is back in leotard and leggings in new episodes of this dark comedy set in the 1980s.
“Trixie Motel” (Discovery+): Drag artist Trixie Mattel fixes up a Palm Springs fixer-upper in this new renovation series.
“The Villains of Valley View” (Disney, 8 p.m.): A teenage supervillain and her family try to keep a low profile in this new sitcom.
“Great Performances” (KOCE, 9 p.m.): A new episode remembers legendary New York theater impresario Joe Papp.
“Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion” (Disney, 9 p.m.): A young Latina is transformed into a masked crimefighter in this new comedy.
“Guy’s All-American Road Trip” (Food Network, 9 p.m.): Mr. Fieri and the fam hit the highway in an RV for his latest series.
“P-Valley” (Starz, 9 p.m.): Chucalissa, Miss.’ finest are back on the stripper pole in the return of this adult-themed drama.
Sat., June 4
“Buried in Barstow” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.): “Rizzoli & Isles’” Angie Harmon stars as a former hitwoman turned single mom in this new TV movie.
“Hidden Gems” (Hallmark Channel, 8 p.m.): A woman in Hawaii for her sister’s wedding hooks up with a hunky dive instructor in this new TV movie.
Sun., June 5
“NBA Finals” (ABC, 5 p.m.; also Wed., Fri.): The Golden State Warriors face the Boston Celtics as the series continues.
“Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal” (CNN, 6 and 7 p.m.): This docuseries details the dirty deeds that brought down the Nixon administration.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (HBO, 6:28 p.m.; also HBO Max): Jude Law stars in this not-so-magical 2022 entry in the fantasy series.
“Deadly Yoga Retreat” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.): It’s not the workout that’ll kill you in this new thriller.
“2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards” (MTV, other channels, 8 p.m.): Vanessa Hudgens hosts the festivities from Santa Monica.
“The Great Food Truck Race” (Food Network, 9 p.m.): Laguna Beach is the starting line as the competition returns.
“Battle on the Beach” (HGTV, 9 p.m.): The renovation competition is back for a second season.
“Jurassic Greatest Moments: From Jurassic Park to Jurassic World” (NBC, 10 p.m.): An extended commercial for the next entry in the dino-franchise.
“2022 Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted” (MTV, other channels, 10 p.m.): Reality TV’s finest are feted in this new special.
Mon., June 6
“Bill Burr Presents: Friends Who Kill” (Netflix): The veteran comic shares the stage with some up-and-coming funny folk.
“London Kills” (Acorn TV): The imported procedural drama is back for Season 3.
“American Ninja Warrior” (NBC, 8 p.m.): The extreme obstacle course competition kicks off a new cycle.
“Roswell, New Mexico” (The CW, 8 p.m.): The rebooted sci-fi drama set in the UFO capital of the world returns.
“The Family Chantel” (TLC, 8 p.m.): This spinoff of “90 Day Fiancé” is back with new episodes.
“#TextMeWhenYouGetHome” (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): Women who found themselves in jeopardy and lived to tell the tale do so in this new series.
“Celebrity IOU” (HGTV, 9 p.m.): Oscar winner Halle Berry does a good turn for a beloved teacher in the season finale.
“In the Dark” (The CW, 9 p.m.): Our blind amateur detective (Perry Mattfeld) is in the hoosegow in the season premiere.
“Irma Vep” (HBO, 9 p.m.): Oscar winner Alicia Vikander plays a troubled actor in Olivier Assayas’ new drama based on his 1996 film.
“Seeking Sister Wife” (TLC, 10 p.m.): The more the merrier as the reality series returns.
Tue., June 7
“That’s My Time With David Letterman” (Netflix) Late-night TV’s éminence grise curates a new stand-up showcase.
“All Rise” (OWN, 8 p.m.) The courtroom drama starring Simone Missick moves from broadcast to cable for its third season.
Wed., June 8
“Hungry for Answers” (Discovery+): Caroline Randall Williams explores the origins of soul food favorites in this new series.
“Hustle” (Netflix): Adam Sandler plays a long-in-the-tooth NBA scout in this 2022 dramedy.
“Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” (Netflix): This new docuseries retells the shocking tale of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.
“Ms. Marvel” (Disney+): A Muslim American teen dreams of becoming a superhero in this new series.
“The Janes” (HBO, 9 p.m.; also HBO Max): This 2022 documentary recalls an underground network of abortion rights activists in the early 1970s.
“Bargain Block” (HGTV, 9 p.m.): The Detroit-set renovation series returns with new episodes.
Thu., June 9
“Queer as Folk” (Peacock): New Orleans is the setting for a reboot of the trailblazing LGBTQ-themed drama.
“Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration” (Netflix): Billy Eichner hosts this star-studded stand-up showcase.
“Undiscovered: Finding Amelia” (Discovery+): The fate of famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart is investigated in this new documentary.
“Lamb” (Showtime, 8 p.m.): Noomi Rapace is feeling a little sheepish in this ominous 2021 horror fable.
“MTV Unplugged” (MTV, 9 p.m.): Pop rock duo Twenty One Pilots play the hits in this new episode.
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