Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, our TV critic Margaret Lyons offers hyper-specific viewing recommendations in our Watching newsletter. Read her latest picks below, and sign up for the Watching newsletter here.
This weekend I have … 20 minutes, and I like soft comedy
‘The Dress Up Gang’
When to watch: Now, on the TBS website or app (cable login required).
This dreamboat little comedy sat in TV purgatory for a while, but now its happy, offbeat 10 episodes are finally available. The show is about two roommates, their extended social circle and their unusual dynamics, and its through-the-looking-glass hyper-sincerety is both enchanting and warmly deranged. It uses a lot of sketch structures, but it isn’t paced like a sketch show, nor is it like any of the indulgent stand-up auteur comedies. Instead, it feels like the modern version of the shows one discovered on obscure channels in the middle of the night in 1999. If you like “At Home With Amy Sedaris” and “Joe Pera Talks With You,” watch this.
… 2 hours, and I like spectacle
‘Great Performances: Leonard Bernstein Mass’
When to watch: Friday at 9 p.m., on PBS (check local listings).
If you miss live performances and large outdoor gatherings, watch this broadcast of the 2019 production of “Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers” at Ravinia, starring Paulo Szot and conducted by Marin Alsop. “Mass,” commissioned for the opening of the Kennedy Center in 1971, recreates aspects of a Catholic mass, and it’s considered one of Bernstein’s more divisive works. It’s a lot on a lot on a lot, and occasionally involves literal preaching to the choir — though of course, that’s how you make ’em sing.
… several hours, and I’m saucy
When to watch: Starting Friday, on Hulu.
Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult star as Catherine the Great and Peter III in this cheeky spin on period drama. Lush, elaborate, vulgar, cartoonish, grand — moment to moment, “The Great” can have the pomp of “The Crown” and the devilishness of “Drunk History” or “Miracle Workers.” Fanning is terrific, and she is often captured looking just offscreen, which adds to the sense of disorientation and imbalance that fuels the first arc of Catherine’s story. There are 10 episodes, which is a few too many, but when it’s firing, “The Great” is pretty darn good.