Let’s face it. 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, network 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 five of the best viewing options in the week to come.


There aren’t many upsides to the uber-cold front that just swept through the United States, but one is that you can stay home with the juicy new content hitting video platforms at the beginning of this month. 

John Malkovich as Agatha Christie’s dapper detective Hercule Poirot.

The A.B.C. Murders, the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s eponymous Hercule Poirot novel, finds the Belgian investigator in the twilight of his career, when he is as concerned with his legacy as with an unusually literary serial killer. Featuring a brooding John Malkovich in the titular role, this three-part series is extra sinewy and smart.  Available on Amazon Prime, beginning February 1.

That’s Rene Russo on the left, as a self-absorbed gallery owner and Jake Gyllenhaal, right, as an art critic. Yes, it’s a supernatural thriller. Trust us.

Malkovich also can be seen in Velvet Buzzsaw, a satirical thriller in which he plays a fading painter and Toni Collette a museum curator, Jake Gyllenhaal is a been-there, done-that critic, and Renee Russo a gallery owner dripping with style and self-praise. The conceit? Haunted paintings by a deceased unknown artist may be to blame for a recent rash of killings. Supernatural horror may not be your bag, but this sly-fox send-up of art-world pretensions is sure to amuse. Available on Netflix, beginning February 1. 

Maybe everbody didn’t really love Raymond, but you might love his first stand-up in 23 years.

Even if you didn’t love the long-running CBS series Everybody Loves Raymond, consider checking out Ray Romano: Right Around the Corner. In his post-sitcom years, the Queens-born comic has appeared in such thoughtful projects as last year’s The Big Sick, and a new depth grounds out his goofiness in his first comedy special in 23 years. Available on Netflix, beginning February 5.

Network TV

No “This is Us” but you do get these two.

The bad news? No new This Is Us episode this week. But that’s because the NBC family dramedy has been postponed by President Trump’s State of the Union speech, which in turn was postponed by the government shutdown and the haggling over where and when it would be held. The Democratic response will follow, delivered by rising star and former Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams. Oh, the drama! Airing 9pm on all network affiliates.

Theatrical releases

Winter can be a notoriously slow season for multiplex fare, but The Arctic is a terrific thriller for grownups. As the lone survivor of a helicopter crash in the frozen North, Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) mines his signature self-possession against Icelandic vistas in this surprisingly expert debut feature by YouTube artist Joe Penna. In theaters February 1.