You only have so much down time, and the last way you want to spend it is deciding what to watch. Yet between streaming video, broadcast and cable TV, and new movie releases, that’s exactly what can happen if you turn on your TV or hit the megaplex without a plan. What follows are the best viewing options in the week to come.


Who doesn’t remember the name Lorena Bobbitt? In 1993, the Virginia housewife became a national punch line for cutting off her husband John’s penis. (The penis was later surgically reattached.) But Lorena, a docu-series executive-produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out), suggests we missed the real story.

Lorena Gallo, who used to be known as Lorena Bobbitt.

A then-24-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant, Lorena was the victim of repeated domestic abuse who had been raped by John the night she attacked him. Sifting through the racist, sexist, and fame-seeking culture that would vilify a domestic-abuse victim rather than a perpetrator, this show doesn’t just revisit this national scandal. It reframes it.  You lived through her trial. Now see it through a different lens. Available on Amazon Prime, beginning February 15. 

Achmad Rawf, an Iraqi actor who explains the comedy of his country in Larry Charles’ new show.

Larry Charles is the comic legend you’ve never heard of, the author of some of your most cherished Seinfeld episodes. His brand is gallows humor at its most absurd. He takes that brand to unprecedented levels in his new series Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy, in which he explores the culture of comedy—and how it may heal—in such unlikely places as Russia, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Turkey. Available on Netlix, beginning February 15.

Broadcast and Cable

That’s so Amy.

The real viewing treasure of this week may be the eagerly awaited season 2 premiere of At Home With Amy Sedaris. Long a cult favorite, the impish fiftysomething is as handy with a buzz saw and a measuring spoon as she is with an off-beat quip, and her “domestic engineering” show is chock-a-block with whimsy, guest stars like Susan Sarandon and Matthew Broderick, and handy household tips. Airs on truTV February 19 at 10pm EST.

If you’ve been missing John Oliver’s wryly indignant take on politics and world affairs, you’re also in luck. The Brit comic’s weekly news show, Last Week Tonight, is returning for its sixth season. Airs on HBO February 17 at 11pm EST.

Theatrical releases

With cinema in its traditional February slump, new releases this week are a sea of slash-and-gash horror and sci-fi. Instead, why not prepare for next week’s Academy Awards by catching up on three 2018 Oscar-nominated offerings that until now have been woefully under-screened?

Remember the 1970s? See them in “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
Tatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

Enter Cold War, Pawel Pawlikowski’s exquisite cold-war drama; Roma, the Mexican household drama with director Alfonso Cuarón’s sweeping scale; and If Beale Street Could Talk, the hauntingly well-crafted James Baldwin adaptation by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, set in 1970s New York.  Cold War is streaming on Amazon Prime, Roma is streaming on Netflix, and If Beale Street Could Talk is now in wide release.