You only have so much down time, and the last way to spend it is deciding what to watch. Yet between streaming, 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.

Broadcast and cable TV

Oscar, Oscar, Oscar! The 91st Academy Awards are finally here, and with an unusually strong roster of 2018 films and a cloud of controversy about who’ll play host—as of now, there’s no host at all—they promise to be super-eventful TV.

There’s no host, but there will be a show this Sunday.

A trio of queens—Helen Mirren, 73, Angela Bassett, 60, and Barbra Streisand, 76—will reign as presenters, as will the delightfully plainspoken Frances McDormand, and two other 50-plus stars, Gary Oldman, and Allison Janney. Airs on ABC February 24 at 8pm EST; red carpet coverage begins at 5pm on E!

If mainstream Hollywood isn’t your cup of tea, the Independent Spirit Awards also air this weekend. Highlighting the foreign and independent films that don’t always get their due, this ceremony is good for impassioned speeches, eccentric red-carpet finery, and such smarty-pant presenters as Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, and Javier Bardem. Airs on IFC February 23 at 5pm EST.

Stephen Dorff, left, and Mahershala Ali, in “True Detective.”

Fans of True Detective should be sure to catch its season 3 finale, which ties up the series’ most macabre mystery yet. If you haven’t been watching, it’s worth your while to catch up. Themes of eldercare, memory loss, and Southern racial tensions weave expertly into its brilliant neo-noir storyline, and Mahershala Ali is outstanding as a police detective in three different decades of his life. Airs on HBO February 24 at 9pm EST.

Streaming TV

The title is a clunker, but that’s the only wrong note in This Giant That Is the Global Economy. Directed by Adam McKay (Vice, The Big Short), hosted by Kal Penn, the House star who served as aide to President Obama, and featuring everyone from husband-and-wife team Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen to former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, this docu-series clearly and amusingly explains everything about the global economy that you were afraid to ask. Available on Amazon Prime, beginning February 21. 


The curse of February continues to plague multiplexes, but you can sate your new-movie yen with High Flying Bird, the latest offering from Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Sex Lies and Videotape). Ostensibly a caper about a sports agent and an NBA rookie, it is really a charismatic and challenging examination of labor and capitalism in the 21st century. Available on Netflix.