What’s Worth Watching This Weekend?

It’s a juicy weekend full of critical darlings making anticipated final season victory laps, and a Scorsese-led music doc that you’re in danger of missing, despite it being Scorsese-led.  The four best drops of the weekend that you’ll want to talk about.

A Black Lady Sketch Show

The goofy and provocative Emmy-winning sketch show is back for a fourth season of sketches about relationships, religion, gender, and other culturally relevant topics. The first show to ever have a writer’s room and cast composed wholly of Black women, the show has been praised as a fresh voice in the comedy world that consistently delivers hilarity. 

Why it’s worth watching

It’s first three seasons featured jam–packed jokes and sketches that range from wacky to timely and conversation-starting, all threaded together by a pitch perfect cast of comedians. Core members Robin Thede, Gabrielle Dennis and Skye Townsend all return for the fourth season, along with some new featured players. Past seasons of the show have included a rotating cast of exciting guest stars that have included Issa Rae, Vanessa Williams, Angela Bassett, and Laverne Cox. Emphasizing this show’s special place in the TV landscape, Thede said to Essence, “When you create a sketch show, you can’t be derivative of what’s been done in the past. So the real prize of A Black Lady Sketch Show is that it feels different.” 

Watch A Black Lady Sketch Show on HBO Max Friday. 

Barry (S4)

The acclaimed HBO dark comedy/crime drama wraps up on its own terms. With the previous season seeing its titular assassin-for-hire finally arrested, the fourth and final season promises more thoughtful character study and one-two punches of earned laughs and unexpected emotion. 

From our guide to what you need before the new season:

“It’s about a depressed Afghanistan vet turned hit man, but Barry — which is about to have its fourth and final season premiere — is a tricky show to classify. It’s not your standard half-hour sitcom, nor is it a more traditional shoot-em-up mob drama. Co-created by SNL alum Bill Hader and Alec Berg, the series follows the former soldier trying to readjust in Cleveland, Ohio. While on a job out in Los Angeles, he walks into an acting class led by eccentric Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler). Mesmerized by acting, he decides he wants to leave his criminal life behind and pursue it as a career.  Quitting his job isn’t as easy as it seems, however.”

Why it’s worth watching

“For all of its blurry categorizations, Barry has earned more than its share of Emmy and Critics Choice Awards – as well as Peabodys. Much of the series’ success can be attributed to Hader, who not only stars as the lead but also writes, directs, and produces. Somehow, Hader manages to jolt and humor you, sometimes just a few minutes apart. He could have played the guy strictly for laughs, he doesn’t. Instead, Barry is a fully fleshed-out and complicated human being. But it’s debatable how redeemable he is, which makes for an interesting character study, one we don’t often see.

Every actor in the series fires on all cylinders. Anthony Carrigan steals every scene he’s in as NoHo Hank, an oddly upbeat criminal. Henry Winkler is utterly brilliant as Barry’s egocentric acting teacher, and Sarah Goldberg proves she needs to be cast in many more roles.

Much of what makes Barry so watchable is its unpredictability. Just as it seems the show will go one way, it takes a sharp left turn. In a world filled with sequels and reboots, a show that’s wholly original and bucks expectations is a welcome change.”

Watch Barry on HBO Max Sunday. 

Personality Crisis: One Night Only 

Artist and performer David Johansen of the New York Dolls gives an intimate concert in New York City encapsulating his storied underground career. Directors Martin Scorcese and David Tedeschi serve up this lovingly low-key concert/documentary film, a testament to a punk legend and a still-relevant musician. 

Why it’s worth watching

A music doc for both music nerds and interested onlookers, Personality Crisis excavates a lesser-known but highly influential talent. Johansen, who also works under the pseudonym Buster Poindexter, was a key player in the proto-punk NYC scene of the 1970s, and has continued his evolution as a solo, genre-fluid musician. Full of his evocative music, quote worthy quips, and archival footage of a lost music scene, the doc is an ode to a singular artist and the city he helped shape. David Ehrlich of IndieWire writes, “It’s an easy hang of a performance doc about someone who’s got more stories in his hair than most of us could tell in our entire lives.”

Watch Personality Crisis: One Night Only on Showtime Friday. 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The witty comedy about a female stand up comic in the early 1960s gets its fifth and final season. The show tracks Midge’s journey from a housewife secretly scampering off to nightclubs to a rising star, and this season will see her at the cusp of getting what she wants. 

Why it’s worth watching

A rare comedy series that sometimes feels like a blockbuster period piece, its eye-catching locales and costumes come in tandem with the characters’ snappy relatability. From Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, Maisel shares the show’s breakneck speeds of sharp dialogue and core of tenderness. The final season will see its leading lady through another major turning point in her career, as she’s offered a job to write for late night. Fans of the previous seasons will relish seeing what becomes of Midge’s burning star. 

Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime Friday.

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