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The five TV shows we can’t get enough of this week


The last week has, unofficially, had something of a “Blast from the Past” theme for The Times’ TV team.

We’ve celebrated the 20th anniversary of the pioneering Black family drama “Soul Food” and the return of “Adventure Time.”

We’ve revisited the Golden State Killer case through a new docuseries that gives voice to his victims — and pays tribute to the late true-crime journalist Michelle McNamara, who tracked him.

We’ve toured the iconic L.A. locations of HBO’s “Perry Mason” reboot.

We’ve even taken a fresh look at “Mrs. America” through the eyes of one of its subjects, Gloria Steinem.

That’s just for starters: In the latest edition of our TV recommendation engine, you’ll find five more titles to check out. Think of it as the office watercooler, where we bring the watercooler to you.

“Search Party”
Available on: HBO Max

Think modern Nancy Drew mystery starring self-centered Millennials in hipsterized Brooklyn and you have the backdrop for “Search Party.” (Or maybe “Scooby Doo” meets “Master of None.”) Four friends set out to solve the case of a missing former classmate, but thanks to their debilitating lack of skill, self-confidence and ability to think beyond their next overpriced craft cocktail, they become entangled in a murder — one they committed. The half-hour comedy, which originally aired on TBS, just returned for its third season on the new-ish streamer HBO Max and continues to charm with a clever mix of murder-mystery cliché, me-generation humor and odd-couple chemistry (times two). Cast of oddballs Dory (a quiet storm played by series producer Alia Shawkat), her weasly ex, Drew (John Reynolds), their aspiring actor friend Portia (Meredith Hagner) and the fabulously obnoxious Elliott (John Early) still play off one another with wonderfully awkward precision.

Lorraine Ali

“The Americans”
Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Those who watched Matthew Rhys play a Russian spy in “The Americans” might have speculated he would have been an unlikely choice to play the title character in HBO’s reboot of the vintage TV series “Perry Mason.” But the Welsh actor proved he was tremendously versatile in taking on a number of identities as he carried out his undercover mission to undermine America in the FX drama, which ended in 2018 after six seasons. Rhys won an Emmy in 2018 for his portrayal of KGB agent Phillip Jennings, who joined forces with a female agent, Keri Russell’s Elizabeth, to masquerade as a suburban couple. “The Americans” was one of the most underrated dramas of the decade, with a finale that was truly devastating.

Greg Braxton

Dr. Mirtha Macri with a patient, before the coronavirus hit, in an episode of “Lenox Hill.”

(Courtesy of Netflix)

“Lenox Hill”
Available on: Netflix

This medical docuseries follows the lives of four doctors — Dr. David Langer, chair of neurosurgery; Dr. John Boockvar, vice chair of neurosurgery; Dr. Amanda Little-Richardson, chief resident of obstetrics and gynecology; and Dr. Mirtha Macri, an emergency physician — at the Manhattan hospital as they navigate the stresses of their professional lives. But it’s too simplistic to call it a real version of “ER” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” The series is moving and raw in its exploration of the heart that health workers bring to their work and the harsh realities they face in doing it. It won’t be long before you find yourself following them on Instagram. A special ninth episode, released this month, chronicles the chaotic early days of the coronavirus’ grip in New York City. It’s a timely reminder as the elusive virus continues to show its brutal force.

Yvonne Villarreal

“We Bare Bears: The Movie”
Available on: VOD

Daniel Chong’s series about three Bay Area bears who go about stacked one upon the other like traveling building blocks, causing a lot of incidental havoc along the way, comes to an official end with an action-packed feature. A road movie in its back half, with some origin-story flashbacks thrown in, it hits some current (and longstanding) American themes, including fear of the foreign and “unnatural,” incarceration at the border and animal stars of the internet. (It is an attempt to become internet famous that puts the story in motion.) And that it sets our heroes — Grizz (Eric Edelstein), bold and a little stupid; Panda (Bobby Moynihan), fretful and rule-bound; and Ice Bear (Demetri Martin), mystical and free — against a paramilitary police force may have something to do with the movie’s release being pushed back a few weeks. Canada — “Canadians love bears” — is a plot point, and there are references to its universal health care and poutine. Mark Evan Jackson, the blandly demonic Shawn on “The Good Place,” performs similar duties here, to similar effect, as an overreaching federal agent. There are some dark, tense moments, but this is not a brand that will leave you in a bad place.

Robert Lloyd

“Running Wild with Bear Grylls”
Available on: National Geographic, Disney+

I’ve never before made time to watch this series, which moved from NBC to National Geographic for its fifth season. Or any of Bear Grylls’ shows, actually. But seeing famous people onscreen — without their usual stunt doubles, managers or makeup artists — is so rare, refreshing and revealing, even if it is as “well-produced” as it seems. Pair that with beautiful shots of remote locations all over the world, and it’s a pleasing quarantine watch. Since Disney+ doesn’t have commercial breaks, I usually step away whenever it’s time to feast on cockroaches, rats or other random animals — a tradition that excites actress Cara Delevigne and radio personality Bobby Bones but frightens big-screen action stars Dave Bautista and Zachary Quinto. Those moments alone are enough to make not-so-outdoorsy people like me very OK with sheltering-in-place, with all the comforts of home within reach, for a bit longer.

Ashley Lee





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