The Thanksgiving feasts of my childhood included television in a very specific sense: After the big meal, all the men in the family would retire to the living room and immediately fall asleep in front of a football game.
The NFL rankings being what they are, there’s clearly still plenty of people out there who are going to spend Thursday with the Lions and Vikings and the Bills and, oh my goodness, conscious or not. But if your taste in entertainment runs toward something a little less rambunctious, you can use those free hours to catch up on shows you missed during the hectic fall months. Here is a list of holidays from recent series that are worth discovering or returning to.
The single season of the Icelandic crime drama “Entrapped” that you will find on Netflix is actually the third season of a series known as “Trapped,” produced by director Baltasar Kormakur; The first two installments, from 2016 and 2019, are available from Amazon Prime Video. But “Entrapped,” whose story begins in a clash between a biker gang and an Icelandic religious cult, can be enjoyed on its own. The mystery stands on its own, and in any case, the series has always been less about the details of the murder than it is about the ruthless nobility of Andrei, the cop played with admirable toughness by Olafur Darre Olafsson. (streaming on Netflix.)
The creators of this animated comedy on FXX — Darcy Fowler, Seth Kirschner, and Kieran Valla — are all actors and writers, and it shows in the believability of the characters that populate its sinister and positive hexagonal world. . Chrissie (Lucy DeVito) is the grumpy, estranged teenage daughter of a single mother, Laura (Aubrey Plaza); The twist is that her family is broken because her father (Lucy DeVito’s real-life father, Danny) is literally the Devil. The show was unfocused and a bit ordinary at first, but halfway through its 10-episode season, it morphed into a truly gritty and poignant family saga that just so happens to involve a lot of multi-dimensional sex and bloodlust. (streaming on Hulu.)
Based on the short stories by a rising science fiction star Ken Liu, “Pantheon” is a story about the consequences of uploading human consciousness to the cloud that has a familial resemblance to “The Matrix”. But its effectiveness comes from its humility and seriousness – the way it stays close to the ground while imagining boundless digital worlds. (It’s also a corporate conspiracy thriller where the company isn’t always the worst actor on stage.) The investigations and battles in this animated drama on AMC+ take place mostly in virtual reality landscapes while non-virtual characters – including a spunky, heroic teen (Katie Chang) and her sometime ally, an extraordinarily gifted hacker (Paul Dano) – roam the their living room while wearing headphones. There’s still plenty of time to catch eight episodes of the first season before the second and final season arrives in January. (streaming on Amazon Prime Video.)
Starz has always made room for costume series that are as much about knock-off costumes as they are about fidelity to any recorded history. (See “Spartacus,” “The White Princess,” “The Spanish Princess,” “Black Sails,” “Outlander, et al.) “The Serpent Queen,” starring Samantha Morton as Catherine de’ Medici, is in this tradition; it is a historical drama. Rock and roll puts period clothes on characters who move and speak with utterly modern sensibilities (sometimes straight to the camera), matching a 16th-century look with a contemporary pop sound.They manage not only to avoid being completely annoying, but to be entertaining. Surprisingly, in large part due to Morton’s shrewd and steely performance as the over-the-top Catherine The Queen of France was already in the show’s present, scheming and minding politics while recounting her colorful history of a servant girl who takes over as her personal maid (Senia Nanua). stars.)
In his first TV series since running seven seasons on Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam plays an escaped Australian convict who lands in 1980s Bombay — a few steps ahead of the police, entangled with local criminals and charmed by a mysterious Swiss beauty (Antonia Desplat). Based on the biographical novel by Gregory David Roberts, this Apple TV+ series brings the familiar elements of bohemian adventure and stakes into warm weather with style and some real tension. (streaming on + Apple TV.)
Is there life after thirty? There’s “The Simpsons,” which felt fresh in its 34th year on Fox. The episode that got all the attention is “Lisa the Boy Scout” from Oct. 9, and it’s a pretty fun exercise in metafulery. But the season was intense week in and week out. “The King of Nice,” in which Krusty the Clown reinvents himself as the likable, danceable host of a daytime talk show—and Marge discovers her true calling as his producer—is a tightly assembled, tone-perfect satire; “From Bear to Parenthood,” in which Homer and Lisa go on a road trip with Duffman to help mend his relationship with his daughter, is unexpectedly moving. High hopes for Sunday’s ninth episode of the season with the promising title “When Nelson Met Lisa.” (streaming on Hulu.)
When Netflix and “Stranger Things” executive producer Shawn Levy rebooted this venerable true crime series in 2020, they sorted it out, giving it an overhaul that moved it in a more documentary direction — deliberate pacing, calm demeanor, and no reliance on narrative. (Robert Stack, the show’s longtime host, is an enigmatic presence in the opening credits.) You suspect someone involved is a huge Errol Morris fan; The investigations may not be more comprehensive or balanced than those of low-rent cable shows, but there is an elegance to the presentation that draws you in. The third season, which has grown to nine episodes, continues the practice of mixing in the occasional UFO vision among the steady diet of unresolved deaths. (streaming on Netflix.)