Health experts are urging that you skip big gatherings and stay inside your bubble this Thanksgiving to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a traditional feast, both at the dinner table and by bingeing small-screen TV and streaming content. A cornucopia of holiday specials and new movies await, plus a few shows to discover before your post-turkey nap.
Here are 10 suggestions for what to watch, from nostalgic comfort food for the eyes to the finest in current filmmaking. And don’t forget the best viewing option of all, a virtual visit through FaceTime, Skype or Zoom with absent family members and friends.
‘A Saturday Night Live Thanksgiving Special’
Two hours of sketches chosen from the past 46 seasons of “SNL” should help chase away 2020 malaise, at least for a while. Let’s hope it includes the one about the politically divided family that comes together by lip-syncing Adele’s “Hello” and, of course, Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving song. “Turkey for me, turkey for you, let’s eat turkey in a big brown shoe.” (9 p.m. Wednesday, NBC).
‘Between the World and Me’
For those who don’t subscribe to HBO Max, the streaming platform will show this adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best-selling book “Between the World and Me” for free during Thanksgiving week. Featuring an all-star cast — Mahershala Ali, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Bassett, Joe Morton, Yarah Shahidi and more — it’s a moving film that amplifies the words Coates wrote on racism in the United States in the format of letter to his son. (Free streaming Wednesday through Monday on HBO Max and HBO.com).
The reviews are glowing for this gentle rom-com about two women in love (Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis) whose trip home for the holidays gets complicated when one admits to the other that she’s never come out to her family. The all-star cast also boasts Victor Barger, Mary Steenburgen, Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie and, in the best gift of all, Dan Levy of “Schitt’s Creek”. (Premieres Wednesday on Hulu).
‘Saved By The Bell’
NBC’s Peacock streaming site is rebooting the 1990s Saturday morning sitcom about a group of high school pals and adding a twist. In the updated series, Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is the governor of California!?! To deal with an education funding crisis, he sends some lower-income kids to the original show’s upscale Bayside High. Whether the show is good or bad is beside the point. Zack is governor, people! (Premieres Wednesday on Peacock).
‘Small Axe: Lovers Rock’
Director Steve McQueen has gotten much praise for “Small Axe,” his five-part film anthology series. The movies, all set between the 1960s and the 1980s, focus on the lives of Black characters in London and the societal challenges and systemic racism they face. The latest chapter, “Lovers Rock,” re-creates a house party of the 1980s, where young men and women have gathered for a night of music and dancing. Remember the fun of a crowded dance party? (Premieres Friday on Amazon Prime Video).
‘Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker’
Actress, choreographer and all-around artistic force Debbie Allen is the subject of this documentary that captures behind-the-scenes preparations for the popular “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” stage event featuring young performers from her dance academy. Produced by Shondaland, it’s the next best thing to being in the actual audience. (Premieres Friday on Netflix).
Feeling a little stressed? Ready to escape to the world of made-for-TV holiday movies? This warm and fuzzy flick, a Lifetime offering, stars Melissa Joan Hart as the host of a holiday romance podcast who finds hope for her loveless state with a local firefighter played by Jason Priestley. Sabrina, the teenage witch, and Brandon Walsh falling for each other? It’s a Gen X Christmas miracle! (Premieres 8 p.m. Friday on Lifetime).
‘The National Dog Show’
Admit it, at least 10% of your pandemic coping routine involves looking at puppy photos on social media. We’re all relying on man’s best friend for a moment of cheer, so sit back and enjoy the annual Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s canine contest. The staple of NBC’s Thanksgiving Day schedule won’t have any on-site spectators this year, but home audiences can see the prized pooches strutting their stuff under the competition’s new COVID-19 safety protocols. (Noon Thursday, NBC, and re-airing 8 p.m. Saturday)
This gripping documentary takes a disturbing look into the tragic 2015 fire inside a Bucharest nightclub that resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people, including many survivors of the blaze who died later of their injuries. The disaster sent journalists and citizens searching for answers, uncovering government corruption and a staggering lack of concern for public health. (Available at online streaming sites and through Dec. 17 at [the virtual cinema program at the Detroit Film Theatre ](
Time to get up to speed on the sleeper hit of 2020. This AppleTV+ series stars Jason Sudeikis as a minor college football coach who’s hired to lead a British soccer team, despite his general lack of understanding of the sport. Instead of being an ugly American, Ted is a warm and folksy guy with a knack for human kindness. Jim Harbaugh crossed with Mr. Rogers? Not exactly, but it is soothing comedy. for grown-ups. (Available on AppleTV+)
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