Not sure what to watch this weekend? Fughedaboutit, we’ve got you covered! These new movies and TV shows have something for everyone and they’re on the most popular streaming services, like Netflix, HBO Max and Peacock.
This weekend’s lineup is headed by The Many Saints of Newark, the Sopranos prequel movie that features James Gandolfini’s son as a young Tony Soprano. Creator David Chase goes back a few decades to explore a contentious period in the Moltisanti mafia’s rule. If you want crime, but more light-hearted, check out Queenpins, a counterfeit coupon caper starring Kristen Bell.
Maid is a gritty, eye-opening tale of poverty that puts mother-daughter actresses Andie MacDowell and Margaret Qualley together in their first on-screen pairing. Oh, ladies and gentleman, this weekend also brings the return of Saturday Night Live.
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And that’s not all: There are a ton of new TV shows and specials available on broadcast and cable. If you’ve cut the cord, just sign up for one of the best cable TV alternatives for access to your favorite channels.
Here are our picks for the new movies and TV shows to watch this weekend.
The Many Saints of Newark (HBO Max)
Movie | 2 hrs (R) | How to watch The Many Saints of Newark
The Sopranos is one of the best and most beloved series of all time. It kicked off a new golden era of television — call it the godfather of prestige TV. When the show began on HBO, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) was already an established mob boss. But how did Tony become who and what he is? Creator David Chase lays the foundation for his rise in this prequel film, which goes back to the late 1960s. Tony is a young man (played by Michael Gandolfini, an almost uncanny match to his dad) and not the central character. That’s Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), Tony’s uncle and mentor. He’s also father to Christopher (Michael Imperioli), who acts as narrator. Much like his nephew does a few decades later, Dickie juggles family problems with his work as a violent mobster. Newark’s race riots of 1967 serve as a backdrop and catalyst, as Dickie faces off against his onetime associate Harold McBrayer (Leslie Odom Jr.).
Series premiere | Episodes 1-10 (TV-MA) | Watch now
“Work hard, play never” is the best, if dismal, way of describing the life of Alex (Margaret Qualley). Netflix’s new miniseries adapts Stephanie Land's bestselling memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive. Like the book, the show chronicles the hardships and obstacles faced by a woman living in poverty, doing the best she can just to survive. When Alex leaves an abusive relationship and flees with her daughter, they are plunged into homelessness. Her bipolar mom (Qualley’s own mother, Andie Macdowell) isn’t much help. Alex gets a job cleaning houses and tries to fight through bureaucratic red tape to attain government assistance. As she goes about her days, an on-screen tally reveals how little Alex makes and how quickly it is spent on the simplest items.
The Guilty (Netflix)
Movie | 1 hr 30 min (R) | Watch now
Pandemic movies are still a thing. Not movies about pandemics, but movies that are structured the way they are because of a pandemic. The Guilty comes from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and writer Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective). The psychological thriller is a remake of a 2018 Danish film. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Joe Baylor, a disgraced cop assigned to desk duty at a 911 call center. The plot essentially follows Joe’s day as he talks to unseen characters voiced by Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough, Paul Dano, Bill Burr and Peter Sarsgaard. As Joe handles their various emergencies, he begins to veer toward a mental breakdown.
The Problem With Jon Stewart (Apple TV Plus)
Series premiere | Episode 1 (TV-MA | How to watch The Problem With Jon Stewart
While it feels like forever since Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show, it’s really only been six years. To be honest, I haven’t missed him that much. I missed his version of The Daily Show at first, but in the intervening time, its place in my heart (and viewing schedule) has been filled by the likes of Daily Show alums John Oliver, Samantha Bee and Stephen Colbert. Even Trevor Noah’s version eventually found its footing and voice. That’s not to say Stewart’s news-opinion offering is unwelcome. He carries such passion and gravitas that nearly anything he does is thought-provoking. It’ll be interesting to see him focus on one “Problem” a week and to have more time (and presumably budget) to explore it.
Ten Year Old Tom (HBO Max)
Series premiere | Episodes 1-10 (TV-MA) | Watch now
The Life and Times of Tim, from creator Steve Dildarian, most definitely feels like an ancient relic of a bygone era. The adult animated series developed a small, but fervent cult following almost a decade ago. Now, Dildarian is back, in a television landscape littered with many more entries in the genre than ever. This venture revolves around the misadventures of Tom, an average 10-year-old kid attending a New Jersey elementary school. He is influenced in a bad way by the adults in his life (voiced by Jennifer Coolide, Edi Patterson, Gillian Jacobs and John Malkovich). They encourage him to play baseball, but also use steroids. Or start a crowdfunding campaign to buy ice cream — and defraud the donors.
Queenpins (Paramount Plus)
Movie | 1 hr 50 min (R) | Watch now
Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste are truly a dynamic duo. They’ve appeared together in House of Lies, The Good Place, the Veronica Mars revival and now they’re starring as coupon grifters in this crime caper loosely based on a true story. Bell is a depressed, debt-ridden housewife who discovers she can get free coupons from companies by lodging complaints. She teams up with a video blogger (Howell-Baptiste) and they begin selling the coupons online. With the siren song of more money calling to them, they hit the jackpot —stealing from a coupon printing operation in Mexico. But how long can they really get away with their million-dollar scam?
La Brea (NBC)
Series premiere | Episode 1 (TV-14) | Watch via Peacock
Hollywood has been trying to recapture the magic of Lost ever since the hit series left the air. Over the years, the wannabes have included everything from ABC’s FlashForward to NBC’s recently canceled Manifest (which was saved by Netflix). NBC gives it another shot with La Brea, which has a very similar vibe to Lost — mystery box plus survival adventure. The premise is that a massive sinkhole opens in Los Angeles, pulling in hundreds of people and buildings. The survivors who fell into the pit find themselves in a strange primeval land, where they must band together to figure out what’s going on and to find a way home.
Diana: The Musical (Netflix)
Special | 1 hr 57 min (Rating available) | Watch now
Thanks to the wonders of streaming, we can see a Broadway show before most Broadway audiences will. Diana: The Musical, which tells the story of the People’s Princess, had just opened in early 2020 when it was shut down by the pandemic. The show goes on with live performances on November 2 (with an official debut on November 17). But Netflix viewers can get a sneak preview with Christopher Ashley’s film of the production, staged at Longacre Theatre without an audience. It features the original Broadway cast, including Jeanna de Waal as Diana, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles and Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth.
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Season 47 premiere | Airs Saturday, Oct. 1 at 11:30 p.m. ET
Not even a pandemic could stop SNL. After a few initial Zoom outings, the cast returned to Studio 8H for live shows and didn’t hold back in sending up all the major figures in the election. This season, things seem more or less back to normal. Most of the cast returns, except for Beck Bennett and Lauren Holt. Emmy nominee Bowen Yang has been correctly promoted to repertory. And there’s some new faces in the mix: actor/filmmaker Aristotle Athari, impressionist James Austin Johnson and comedian Sarah Sherman. Season 47 premieres with host Owen Wilson and musical guest Kacey Musgraves. All we have to say is “woooooow.”
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