How Much Watching Time Do You Have This Weekend?

Every Monday and Friday, Margaret 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’m sensitive

‘City of Ghosts’
When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

This new six-part children’s show uses low-key, naturalistic voice acting and animated television’s most gorgeous use of light and texture to tell snapshot stories about Los Angeles. A present-day Scooby gang of children investigate ghostly sightings across the city, and their adventures teach them about culture, history, gentrification, joy, music, celebrations, dumplings, puppetry, stewardship. If your children like “Bluey” or “Molly of Denali,” or if you like NPR podcasts or the show “Vida,” watch this.

… two hours, and I like stand-up

‘James Acaster: Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999’
When to watch: Now, on Vimeo.

The comedian James Acaster filmed this special at the end of 2019, but its moments of beaten-down cynicism and capacity for real personal reflection feel plenty appropriate for the pandemic year, too. You might recognize Acaster from British panel shows or from the meme of his appearance on the celebrity version of “Great British Baking Show,” which he speaks about at length here. But his stand-up is on a grander scale; he did a four-part special for Netflix in 2018, and “Lasagne” clocks in at just over two hours. Don’t let the length deter you: Acaster uses so many different comedic techniques that each section is lively and surprising. (Watching it costs $11.27.)

… several hours, and should I dye my hair?

‘My So-Called Life’
When to watch: Now, on Hulu.

Once “Freaks and Geeks” returned to streaming, I was optimistic that “My So-Called Life” would, too, and lo, let all the lands rejoice. Claire Danes stars as Angela Chase, a high school sophomore who recently fell in with some new pals and is on her road of self discovery. Not only is this one of the great teen shows of all time, it’s among the best dramas of the modern age, one that uses the adolescent tendency to make a huge deal out of everything as a lens for its close examination of behavior in general. There are only 19 episodes; be prepared to cry at most of them.

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