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The Best Shows and Movies to Watch This Week: Amazon's The Underground Railroad, Netflix's Halston

Plus, Amy Adams gets her own Rear Window

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Kelly Connolly

The biggest new releases of the week are bringing you the four elements — earth, fire, air, and Jean Smart. The Underground Railroad, a stunning new Amazon miniseries directed by Barry Jenkins, imagines an alternate history where the titular escape route for enslaved people is a literal underground network of train tunnels. Angelina Jolie fights fire (and skydives!) in the new film Those Who Wish Me Dead on HBO Max. An amnesiac woman runs out of air in a tense French thriller on Netflix. And Jean Smart does standup comedy in the fantastic HBO Max comedy Hacks. Nature is healing.

Our list of editors' picks for the week of May 9-15 is below, but if that's not enough and you're looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, check out our picks for last week or sign up for our free, spam-free Watch This Now newsletter that delivers the best TV show picks straight to your inbox. You can also look at our massive collection of recommendations, as well as our list of suggestions of what to watch next based on shows you already like.


Ziwe

Ziwe Fumudoh, Ziwe

Ziwe Fumudoh, Ziwe

Barbara Nitke/SHOWTIME

Season 1 premieres Sunday at 11/10c on Showtime
Ziwe Fumudoh rose to internet fame in 2020 thanks to her Instagram series, Baited, in which she interviewed people like Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan and asked them questions such as, "How many Black friends do you have?" Her new show doesn't sacrifice that signature irreverent, provocative style. Part talk show, part variety show, part surrealist fever dream, Ziwe mixes interviews with songs, sketches, and woman-on-the-street segments, as Fumudoh challenges her guests and her audience on cultural issues. It all comes together to form a joyfully zany package. The first episode — in which she sits down with Fran Lebowitz — is not to be missed, because where else on TV are you going to get to hear someone ask a New York icon, "What bothers you more, slow walkers or racism?" -Allison Picurro [TRAILER]


The Crime of the Century

The Crime of the Century

The Crime of the Century

HBO

Miniseries premieres Monday at 9/8c on HBO, HBO Max
Alex Gibney isn't going to let anyone get away with a damn thing as long as he has a camera. The Oscar-winning documentarian responsible for Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of BeliefEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and more turns his attention to the legal drug dealers responsible for the opioid epidemic that's ravaged the country. The focus of the two-part miniseries is on big pharma's push to get doctors and the FDA to approve their heroin pills through bribes, parties, and other methods. You're going to come out of this thinking, "Wow, these guys are assholes." -Tim Surette [TRAILER]


Oxygen

Mélanie Laurent, Oxygen

Mélanie Laurent, Oxygen

Shanna Besson/Netflix

Wednesday on Netflix
In a sci-fi twist on your classic buried alive nightmare, this French thriller, from horror director Alexandre Aja, stars Mélanie Laurent as a woman who wakes up in a cryogenic pod with no memory of who she is or what she's doing there. She'll need to remember both in order to find her way out of the chamber, which is running out of air. [TRAILER]


Hacks

Jean Smart, Hacks

Jean Smart, Hacks

HBO Max

Series premieres Thursday on HBO Max
Jean Smart is a living legend, and we owe it to human civilization to do everything we can to protect her, starting with watching everything she's in. Smart stars in what's easily HBO Max's best original comedy so far as Deborah Vance, an aging Las Vegas comedian whose time at the top is nearing its end, so circumstance teams her up with an entitled young comedian (Hannah Einbinder) recently canceled for a joke she made on Twitter. Watch this to cackle at Smart dropping delicious one-liners and chucking iPads into a pool. The cast also includes Kaitlin Olson and co-creator Paul W. Downs (go watch his episode of Netflix's The Characters if you like laughing). -Tim Surette [TRAILER]


Halston

Halston

Halston

ATSUSHI NISHIJIMA/NETFLIX

Limited series premieres Friday on Netflix
Ewan McGregor and caftans are a match made in heaven in Halston, a new limited series about an iconic fashion designer who defined his era. The decadent autobiographical drama tracks Halston's (McGregor) meteoric rise to fame and his subsequent attempts to keep from unraveling while partying hard alongside celebrity pals, including Liza Minnelli (Krysta Rodriguez). The fingerprints of executive producer Ryan Murphy are all over this one. [TRAILER]


High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Disney+

Friday on Disney+
One of the most heartfelt and enjoyable shows on television returns this week. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series kicks off Season 2 on Friday, putting us right back in the middle of the drama at East High, and we don't just mean what's happening on stage for the spring musical. Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) and Ricky (Joshua Bassett) will face the toughest obstacle of their relationship thus far with her heading to Colorado to attend a very prestigious acting school, and things start to shake up when it's announced that the spring musical will be Beauty and the Beast instead of High School Musical 2. Can the crew handle the pivot and beat their new rivals at North High for the Menkie? Who will get the lead with Nini switching schools? Will Gina (Sofia Wylie) accept that she belongs in her found family? Who is going to sing "Bet On It"?! There are so many burning questions to be answered, and, most importantly, so many more musical numbers to be enjoyed. -Megan Vick [TRAILER]

 

Pride

Susan Stryker, Pride

Susan Stryker, Pride

FX

Limited series premieres Friday at 8/7c on FX
Start Pride Month early with FX's well-timed docuseries that chronicles the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights in America. Each episode of the six-part series focuses on a different decade, tying together history, pop culture, and politics from the 1950s through the early 2000s. It's a moving, informative reminder that Pride began as a riot — and it still is. [TRAILER]


Those Who Wish Me Dead

Angelina Jolie, Those Who Wish Me Dead

Angelina Jolie, Those Who Wish Me Dead

Emerson Miller

Friday on HBO Max
This month's big HBO Max home theatrical release stars Angelina Jolie as a skydiving firefighter (yes!) who encounters a boy on the run from assassins who killed his father. Not only must Jolie's character keep the kid safe from the gunmen who want to murder the only witness to their crime, but she also has to outrun massive forest fires. Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone) directed the film, which also features Jon Bernthal and Aidan "Littlefinger" Gillen. -Tim Surette [TRAILER]  


The Underground Railroad

Thuso Mbedu, The Underground Railroad

Thuso Mbedu, The Underground Railroad

Amazon Studios

Friday on Amazon Prime Video
Barry Jenkins is making his first big foray into TV with this miniseries based on the Colson Whitehead novel about an alternate reality that imagines the Underground Railroad as an actual railroad with trains, conductors, and engineers. Cora (Thuso Mbedu), an enslaved woman, boards the train in effort to secure her freedom, all while being pursued by a vicious slave owner (Joel Edgerton). William Jackson Harper and Lily Rabe co-star. -Allison Picurro [TRAILER]


The Woman in the Window

Amy Adams, The Woman in the Window

Amy Adams, The Woman in the Window

Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

Friday on Netflix
Amy Adams gets a Rear Window of her very own with this claustrophobic thriller, which finally debuts after a long delay, due first to re-edits and then to the pandemic. Adams plays a child psychologist with agoraphobia who keeps tabs on the seemingly perfect family across the street from her New York City brownstone — and winds up witnessing a brutal crime. [TRAILER]