Watching: One of TV’s Best Dramas

And a heart-wrenching documentary.

By Margaret Lyons

Dear Watchers,

Turner Classic Movies is airing 10 Olympic-themed movies in a row Tuesday beginning at 5 a.m. Eastern.

Have a lovely week.

I want a best-of-the-best drama.

Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk in a scene from Season 3 of “Better Call Saul.”Michele K. Short/AMC

‘Better Call Saul’

When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

Season 5 of “Better Call Saul” aired over a year ago yet somehow is still not streaming. Rude! (Season 6 is currently filming and should be heading our way in 2022.) Until then, though, we’ve got a brilliant and intricate story crawling with bad people who’d describe themselves as good people simply unlucky enough to be born into a fallen world.


“Saul” is both an antihero drama and a spinoff prequel, two genres that as of late tend toward predictable bloodlust and pat literalness. But “Saul” is full of surprises, a show whose creativity and richness impress me anew every time I watch it. If you want something dazzling to hold you over till “Succession” returns in the fall, rewatch or watch this.

Wreck me with a documentary, please.

Eric, a child with a parent in prison, as seen in “Through Our Eyes.”HBO Max

‘Through Our Eyes’

When to watch: Arrives Thursday, on HBO Max.

If you like intimate, powerful documentaries, watch this new four-part series that was designed for kids and adults to watch together. Each episode follows children whose families are carrying heavy burdens: parental incarceration, displacement because of climate change, a parent in the military, homelessness. The show has a light touch, letting its young subjects speak for themselves about what frightens them, who comforts them and how they envision the future. Prepare to cry, and prepare further for an ever more refined sense one’s place on the resiliency-fragility spectrum.


Ha ha, no, I am but a wobbly bag of bones.

Charley (uh…center) gets checked out for doggy dizziness on an episode of “Vets Saving Pets.”NBC

‘Vets Saving Pets’

When to watch: Now, on Hulu, Peacock or NBC’s website.

For those who’d rather watch pets receive excellent medical care, there’s this earnest documentary series set in a busy Toronto veterinary hospital. Who knew so many dogs had heart murmurs? If you’ve seen any other veterinarian reality show, you’ll have a good sense of what happens here, and mercifully this is on the chill/authentic side of unscripted rather than the gaudy/affected side.


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Also this week

Three contestants on “Sexy Beasts.”Netflix
  • “Sexy Beasts,” a grotesque dating show where constants wear elaborate “Zoobilee Zoo” makeup as part of a hollow claim of avoiding superficiality, arrives on Netflix Wednesday. It’s rare for me to actually say “ew” out loud while watching something, but I did here when two participants made out while still wearing their prosthetic makeup; not only was the imagery of their conflicting species off-putting, but the woman’s makeup smeared into the guy’s glued-on animal fur mask, like frosting rubbed into a vintage doll’s matted hair. Anyway, this show is beneath our dignity.
  • “Behind the Attraction,” about various rides at various Disney parks, arrives Wednesday, on Disney+.
  • The sixth and final episode of the fantastic gymnastics documentary “Golden” arrives Thursday, on Peacock.
  • The series finale of “Good Girls” airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on NBC.


Chicago Comedy Institution iO Theater Will Reopen After Sale

The storied improv center closed under the financial strain of the pandemic, but a buyer has purchased both the building and the brand.

By Julia Jacobs

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Bourdain Documentary’s Use of A.I. to Mimic Voice Draws Questions

The documentary “Roadrunner” by Morgan Neville uses 45 seconds of a voice that sounds like Bourdain, generated with artificial intelligence. Is it ethical?

By Julia Jacobs

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Can I Go to See This Show? Must I Wear a Mask? It Depends.

Vaccination and mask requirements vary by venue. It’s a weird pandemic summer for the performing arts.

By Matt Stevens

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Critic’s Notebook

Ball Gowns Galore! And Other Cannes Film Festival Fashion Statements

Forget comfort clothing. Seriously, forget it. The year of the nontraveling sweatpants has come to an end.

By Vanessa Friedman

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Ford and Mellon Foundations Expand Initiative for Disabled Artists

The foundations are adding $5 million to the Disability Futures program, which will continue through 2025 with two more classes of 20 fellows each.

By Sarah Bahr

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