What to binge watch over Thanksgiving weekend

Versie Dortch

Along with Black Friday shopping and #OptOutside hiking, another beloved Thanksgiving weekend tradition is settling in to watch TV after the leftovers are put away.

Given the glut of good television and films out there, we polled the entertainment-loving Times Union staff for their streaming picks to help narrow the field. Plus, read on for more must-see TV over the holiday, including the new three-part documentary, “The Beatles: Get Back,” drawn from a Hudson filmmaker’s archives.

Editors’ Picks


“The Sex Lives of College Girls”

If you’re in the mood for … pure fun

For a binge-watching session with ties to the region, there are a few new series to choose from. “The Shrink Next Door,” starring Rhinebeck’s own Paul Rudd was too quiet and cringe-inducing for me to click with. But I’m all in on this funny new, Mindy Kaling-produced series, filmed at Vassar College and other parts of Dutchess County. The first week of classes at “Essex College,” a tony, New England liberal arts school, has four very different freshman roommates trying to find their footing in hilarious ways. (The moment when one girl, a public school kid, realizes how much of a head start the private and boarding school students come to college with brought back memories. A naked party — not so much.)

The girl gang here is not at all like the out-of-touch, navel-gazing crew in Lena Dunham’s “Girls” — they’re more on the good-natured “Entourage” spectrum, though with a bit more complexity. Indian-American Bella (Amrit Kaur), a burgeoning comedian, is like a younger Kaling who immediately discovers (and finds a way around) the roadblocks to women in comedy; the “rich girl” Leighton (Reneé Rapp) has a surprisingly tortured inner life. And while there is a decent amount of sex, it’s tamer than the title lets on.

— Nicole Davis, Times Union: Hudson Valley Managing Editor

Criterion Channel

“I Know Where I’m Going!”

If you’re in the mood for … a classic

I recently rewatched this 1945 movie by Michael Powell about a headstrong woman (the great Wendy Hiller) who travels to the Scottish coast for her wedding to a rich man and ends up falling for a local laird (Roger Livesey, an actor who I aspire to act like all the time but frequently fail at). It’s one of those pure-pleasure movies that’s equal parts travelogue, comedy and romance. It’s streaming on the Criterion Channel, which needs to start paying me for all the nice things I say about them.

— Casey Seiler, Editor of Times Union


“The Wonder Years”

If you’re in the mood for … a reboot

Unlike other reboots, “The Wonder Years” gives a fresh first impression. Set in the late 1960s of Montgomery, Alabama, the show follows 12-year-old Dean Williams through historic events, first loves, school bullies, and heartfelt family moments. Given the time period and setting, one would expect the show to be dominated by the stresses of the civil rights movement. Instead, it takes us on a comedic journey through Dean’s coming of age in one of America’s rising Black middle-class families. The wise and gentle voice of adult Dean, played by Don Cheadle, is a great touch to what’s shaping up to be a great show.

— Joanne Georges, Times Union: Hudson Valley Social Media Editor


“Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy”

If you’re in the mood for … a delicious trip

This is not just another series about Italian food with mellifluous narration. It’s an homage to the confluence of Mediterranean food, culture and history and how that union has created one of the world’s most popular cuisines. Partly a quest for knowledge and partly a love story to Italy, the series follows Italian American actor Stanley Tucci as he eats his way through the different regions of the country, from the Amalfi Coast to Naples.

I went into watching this as a fan of Italian food, a fan of Stanley Tucci and with a lifelong desire to connect with my own Italian heritage (I speak some Italian and have dined fabulously in Italy!). I came out of it with an entirely new appreciation for the cuisine and culture. And of course, I also gleaned some new Italian phrases, dishes and recipes to try.

— Jessica Marshall, Times Union Multimedia Producer



If you’re in the mood for …  a gripping drama

“Maid” follows Margaret Qualley as Alex who tries to escape her abusive partner with only a few bucks to her name. Facing homelessness, she turns to cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors to support her daughter. The raw and moving 10-episode series is one of the most realistic displays of what emotional abuse can look like. In one notable scene, Alex is unsure if she belongs in a shelter because her emotionally abusive boyfriend hasn’t physically hit her, when another woman observes: “Punching a wall next to you is emotional abuse. Before they bite, they bark. Before they hit you, they hit near you.” The show, based on Stephanie Land’s 2019 memoir, “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” leaves viewers wondering what Land’s IRL experience was. This winter I’ll be reading the book.

— Cloey Callahan, Times Union: Hudson Valley News Editor

Amazon Prime

“Together Together”

If you’re in the mood for … a sleeper you missed

Many were waiting on the blockbuster super humans to lure them back into cinemas, but the quirky, human-scale story of “Together Together” suited my first venture back into theaters in April just fine. This indie rom-com (of sorts) is about a surrogate mom (Patti Harrison) and a lonely man (Ed Helms), and their connection worked wonders on me coming out of a connection-less winter.

— Gary Hahn, Times Union Features Editor


“King Richard”

If you’re in the mood for … a winning biopic

Will Smith serves up a captivating portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams, in grooming his girls to become tennis champions. The fact that the sisters are executive producers suggests that they support this depiction of their childhood, though it leaves the least flattering details of their father out. Still, when you see clips from their home movies at the end of the film, it’s clear just how well Smith embodied the father and his calculated plan to bring his girls out of Compton and onto the world stage.

— N.D.

HBO Max, Hulu

“Summer Camp Island”

If you’re in the mood for … a show for the whole family

We were the kind of parents who actively limited our kids’ screen time. Then my eight-year-old daughter, Lyyli, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in February 2021. We actively embraced it. Shellshocked, we worked our way through anything that could entice our 15-year-old and distract her sister through chemo, surgery, and radiation. “Summer Camp Island,” a recommendation from an old summer camp friend actually, hit all the notes — a whimsical and bizarre animated series by the brilliant British illustrator Julia Pott. Over five seasons of short (less than 15 minute) episodes, best friends Oscar and Hedgehog navigate their first time at a summer camp with witches as counselors — and all kinds of magic. To be clear, this is not a normal cartoon. The moon talks, so do pajamas. Whoopi Goldberg is the unmistakable voice of an elf named Barb. You just have to watch it — preferably several times to catch all the nuance. We sing the theme song endlessly: “Magic is real here. Far away from home. Anything can happen. When witches make the rules….” At this point, many of the nurses and her beloved child life specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering know the song by heart, too.

In October, active treatment completed, we had a family “Summer Camp Island” marathon to celebrate. Perfection.

— Alexandra Zissu, Times Union: Hudson Valley Contributing Editor

More November releases for streaming

Wednesday, Nov. 17
“Tiger King 2” (Netflix) — The five-episode sequel to the 2020 documentary series “Tiger King” revisits Carole Baskin, Joe Exotic and other creative real-life personalities who own and operate U.S. animal parks.

Friday, Nov. 19
“Cowboy Bebop” (Netflix) — Netflix’s highly anticipated live action take on the 1990s anime classic series, which is generally considered among the best of the genre, follows the adventures of futuristic space cowboys, all set to a jazzy soundtrack. Starring John Cho.

“tick, tick … Boom!” (Netflix) — The Netflix musical drama directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda stars Andrew Garfield as “Rent” composer Jonathan Larson, who struggles to create a rock opera for the theater before he turns 30.

Wednesday, Nov. 24
“Hawkeye” Season 1 (Disney+) — This original Marvel series, which is set during the Christmas holidays,  stars Jeremy Renner as Clint “Hawkeye” Barton and Hailee Steinfield as Kate Bishop. The series begins streaming Nov. 24, with new episodes to follow every Wednesday.

Thursday, Nov. 25
“The Beatles: Get Back” (Disney+) — Peter Jackson’s three-part documentary about the making of the Beatles’ 1970 “Let it Be” album draws from footage that Hudson’s own Michael Lindsay-Hogg captured in his 1970 documentary of the album.

Friday, Nov. 26
“’Twas the Fight Before Christmas” (Apple TV+) — A documentary about a holiday-obsessed Idaho man battling his neighbors and homeowners’ association for the right to hold a huge holiday community event.

“Pig” (Hulu) — This independent film starring Nicolas Cage as a truffle hunter living in the Oregon wilderness with his pig was released theatrically in July and now makes its streaming debut.

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (NBC, nationwide, 8 p.m. ET) — The 1966 classic cartoon featuring Boris Karloff providing the voice for Dr. Seuss’ infamous Grinch.

Hudson Valley Art, Music and Culture

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