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9 shows you need to watch this weekend: Snowpiercer, Taylor Swift and more

What to watch this weekend May 15
(Image credit: TNT; ABC; Hulu)

Social distancing may mean you can’t hang out with your friends and loved ones, but at least you’ve still got a digital clique thanks to streaming services and TV. The weekend is here (although, in these current times, as the Dowager Countess once said, “What is a weekend?”) which means you’ll need recommendations for new and interesting shows to watch.

Even with so many options, do you feel like you’ve watched everything there is to watch? You haven’t. I basically watch TV as my job and even with no other outlets for entertainment, I’ve barely scratched the surface. Not only is there a vast library of content out there, new series and films are coming out Every. Single. Day. 

That’s why we have a handy guide to what to watch this weekend and next week, including our recommendations and notable highlights. 

What to watch this weekend: May 15-17

The Great season 1

What to watch this weekend: The Great

(Image credit: Hulu)

Now streaming on Hulu (10 episodes)
Watch the trailer

Comedic, anachronistic, vaguely YA takes on historical figures are all the rage. First, Apple TV Plus debuted Dickinson, an imaginative rendering of the poet’s life. Now, Hulu’s in the game with this satire about Catherine the Great, the famous Russian ruler. In The Great, she’s played by the always charming Elle Fanning as a spunky sprite who could do so much good in the world if only her morally and personally awful husband, Emperor Peter (Nicholas Hoult), would get out of the way. Who run the world? It should definitely be girls.

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs The Reverend special

What to watch this weekend: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

(Image credit: Netflix)

Now streaming on Netflix
Watch the trailer

The gang gets back together again for an interactive special a la Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch movie. The plot centers on Kimmy’s (Ellie Kemper) upcoming wedding, which her former captor, the doomsday cult leader Rev. Richard Wayne (Jon Hamm), is trying to foil. Viewers determine what happens along the way, choosing from two options at certain points in the story. But really, it’s not about the plot — the interactive technology is a great way to deliver even more jokes and hijinks from the talented cast. 

White Lines season 1

What to watch this weekend: White Lines on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Now streaming on Netflix (10 episodes)
Watch the trailer

A murder mystery set in Ibiza involving orgies, EDM, harpoons and a coked-out labradoodle? Sign us up. And it’s from the creator of the addictive Spanish drama Money Heist? We were born to watch this. White Lines is the perfect binge to kick off the summer. Everyone is beautiful and shady as hell. The story follows Zoe Walker (Laura Haddock) as she heads to Ibiza to identify her dead brother, a DJ who’s been missing for 20 years. What happened to Axel? Enjoy the wild ride of finding out.

Snowpiercer series premiere

What to watch this weekend: Snowpiercer

(Image credit: TNT)

Sunday, May 17 at 9 p.m.. on TNT (episode 1)
Watch the trailer

It’s almost unbelievable that the TV adaptation of Snowpiercer is actually, finally airing on TV. The show has been so long in the making, with so many twists and turns in its development history. But it is here and it is real. If you’re wondering why we need a TV version of Bong Joon-Ho’s masterpiece of a movie, you’re a few years too late (use the time to question why we need a TV version of Parasite). Snowpiercer the TV show is a reboot, so expect new stories, new characters and new cast members, led by Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs. But you can also expect the same dystopian world with the same poor vs. rich themes from the film. Bong’s influence still remains.

Taylor Swift City of Lover Concert special

What to watch this weekend: Taylor Swift City of Lover Concert

(Image credit: David Hogan via ABC)

Sunday, May 17 at 10 p.m. on ABC
Watch the trailer

It’s going to be a Cruel Summer, what with the pandemic having shut down so many entertainment events, including Taylor Swift’s abbreviated tour for her newest album, Lover. TSwift was supposed to play a few festivals and put on the two-city Loverfest. But the Grammy winner is giving us a spark of Daylight by airing her Paris concert, which was held last September in front of an intimate crowd of Swifties. The set list includes singles ME! and You Need to Calm Down, as well as classics like All Too Well, so get ready to hear some bops.

More weekend highlights

What to watch this weekend: Hightown on Starz

(Image credit: Starz)

Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 (Saturday, May 16 at 8 p.m. on multiple channels)

This one-hour special, co-sponsored by LeBron James, celebrates the graduating class of high school seniors, many of whom won’t have actual graduation ceremonies due to the pandemic. President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement speech.

Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj season 6 premiere (Sunday, May 17 at 3:01 a.m. on Netflix)

The comedian returns with his usual biting commentary and quips on global news, politics and culture. And of course, since Minhaj is social distancing like the rest of us, episodes will be remote. The first one is on the extremely timely topic, “What Happens If You Can't Pay Rent.”

American Idol season season 18 finale (Sunday, May 17 at 8 p.m. on ABC)

This strange, remotely filmed season of Idol comes to an end. The episode will reveal the Top 5, who will all perform two songs. Live voting will determine the winner. But will that person always have an asterisk next to their name? 

Hightown series premiere (Sunday, May 17 at 8 p.m. on Starz)

Crime drama aficionados get another procedural to chew on. The new Starz series stars Monica Raymund as Jackie Quinones, a National Fisheries Service Agent who flashes her badge to seduce female tourists. She doesn’t take her job too seriously — until she finds a body in the bay and gets drawn into Cape Cod’s dark and seedy drug scene. 

What to watch next week: New and notable

What to watch next week: Big Flower Fight on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Big Flower Fight series premiere (Monday, May 18 at 3:01 a.m. on Netflix)

Now this is the soothing, pleasant content we need right now. Think The Great British Baking Show, but with floral arrangements. 

Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything special (Tuesday, May 19 at 3:01 a.m. on Netflix)

Who doesn’t need a laugh these days? The adorkable comedian releases his first standup special since 2017’s Annihilation, which dealt with his late wife’s death. His jokes take on everything from Star Wars to life after 50.

The 100 season 7 premiere (Wednesday, May 20 at 8 p.m. on The CW)

With so many TV seasons cut short, it’s a relief to find one that was filmed in its entirety in the Before Times. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama is back for its final season to show what happens to Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and crew.

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