A new week means a new batch of the best shows and movies to watch this week, and someone out there has been a really good boy/girl, because it happens to be a great week of television. So much so that we couldn’t fit it all here. But the ones we fit here are awesome, so take the quality over the quantity.
This week, the best television and movies include a stirring sports documentary featuring the most BAMF to ever shoot the rock, Steve Kerr. Plus there’s some airtime given to Michael Jordan. Also, we’re lifting our ban on improv comedy, watching the season finale of our favorite TV show, and riding shotgun on the ganja train for a truly special 4/20 treat.
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The Last Dance
Miniseries premieres Sunday at 9/8c on ESPN
The 10-part docuseries The Last Dance is ostensibly about the Chicago Bulls’ historic 1997-98 season, but it’s really an in-depth examination of Michael Jordan, who didn’t get to be the greatest basketball player who ever lived by being nice to people. His Airness is remarkably unguarded as he talks at length about the feuds and resentments that fueled his unparalleled career, accompanied by extraordinary archival footage from that season and interviews with dozens of people who were there, from Dennis Rodman to Barack Obama. It’s an incredible document of NBA history that basketball fans will find totally riveting. [Read our review] –Liam Mathews
The Midnight Gospel
Series premieres Monday on Netflix
One of life’s greatest, most pure pleasures is Adventure Time, Pendleton Ward‘s fantastical and algebraic animated series about friendship and imagination. It was largely a wholesome and family-friendly affair, but in Ward’s follow-up series, the batsh– The Midnight Gospel, the kids are gonna need to leave the room. Ward works with comedian Duncan Trussell to rework Trussell’s excellent podcast, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, into a trippy, universe-surfing animated series about a podcaster who travels through the multiverse interviewing subjects about their specialties. The audio from the podcast remains intact as a bizarre story unfolds around the conversation, with added audio from both Trussell and his guest to tie the podcast to the psychedelic world that now surrounds it. For example, Trussell interviews Dr. Drew about drugs in the first episode, except in The Midnight Gospel, Drew is the president of the United States during a zombie apocalypse before things wonderfully tie together. Think of it as Rick & Morty meets Dr. Katz. It’s the perfect drop for 4/20: a colorful and comically intellectual escape, if the mood-enhancers you take to appreciate the visuals allow your brain to follow it (go sativa, not indica, on this one).
Better Call Saul
Season 5 finale Monday at 9/8c on AMC
Here is a fact: Season 5 of Better Call Saul has propelled it to the best show on television. It’s true, the series has been nothing short of spectacular. The Breaking Bad spin-off finishes its penultimate season Monday night in typical Saul finale fashion; there are some big bangs in the desert, but the biggest revelations are the quieter character moments that have a larger impact on the series than a hail of bullets ever could. The fallout from Lalo’s (Tony Dalton) tense visit with Kim (Rhea Seehorn) and Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) takes a huge toll on them, as well as Nacho (Michael Mando), but their business is far from done. I typically couldn’t care less about the Emmys, but if Season 5 doesn’t win all the awards, I might snap.
Middleditch & Schwartz
Series premiere Tuesday on Netflix
Here’s another fact: Improv is for dweebs. Mostly. In the hands of masters, improv is an astonishing feat of quick-thinking, crisis-management, and spontaneous choreography, and Silicon Valley‘s Thomas Middleditch and Parks and Recreation‘s Ben Schwartz are pretty damn great at improv. The three-episode comedy special Middleditch & Schwartz were taped during their recent improv tour, where they take the stage with a couple of chairs, talk with an audience member to get a set-up, and then make everything up on the spot while playing dozens of different characters inside a single story. There are moments when you’ll swear they’re in some sort of harmonious mind meld, and then there are other times when they seemingly go out of their way to sabotage each other for laughs.
Friday on Netflix
Chris Hemsworth stars in this thrilling new action film (formerly known as Dhaka) as a black market mercenary with mega muscles who is hired to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord using said muscles. That seems quite unlike Thor but also relatively easy compared to trying to save the entire universe. Written by Joe Russo and directed by Sam Hargrave (who was the stunt double for fellow Avengers actor Chris Evans in multiple Marvel films and who was second unit director on both Infinity War and Endgame), Extraction takes viewers inside the shady underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers and promises to change the lives of both Hemsworth’s muscle-y Rake and his charge. Did we mention there were muscles involved? –Kaitlin Thomas
Friday on HBO
Huge, jacked man Hugh Jackman stars in this HBO film about a school superintendent whose scam to embezzle money from the school system’s fund gets exposed by a student. It’s based on a true story that unfolded in Long Island in the early 2000s, and written by Mike Makowsky, who was a student at one of the affected schools at the time. You’re going to see some great performances from Jackman and Allison Janney, who plays his second-in-command and coconspirator, as they pull off being beloved members of the community who hold a dark secret that slowly gets exposed in this darkly comedic and dramatic movie.
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Chris Hemsworth, Extraction