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Margaret’s 4 TV Shows to Watch This Week

Watching is The New York Times’s TV and film recommendation newsletter and website.

This is an exciting week for TV news — news about television, that is: It’s the “upfronts,” when broadcast networks announce their schedules for the fall. Which also means announcing what’s not returning. This has been an unusually cutthroat year for shows getting the ax (R.I.P., “Pitch,” I loved you), partially because shows don’t get canceled midseason the way they used to, but also because some years are just like that. I saw graffiti once that said, “If you get in the ring, you’re gonna get punched.” I think about it a lot.

Canceled shows have a way of living on, though, thanks to the streaming universe. (Not to mention all the reboots and revivals.) We’ll connect you to some of the greats here on Watching. Have a fabulous week.


Gypsy Rose Blanchard, left, and Dee Dee Blanchard in “Mommy Dead and Dearest.”

‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’
When to watch:
10 p.m., on HBO.

Stories about Munchausen syndrome by proxy are endlessly, morbidly fascinating, and this one even more so because the victim became a criminal: She convinced her boyfriend to kill her abusive mother. The story of Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, which was detailed in this riveting and disturbing Buzzfeed article by Michelle Dean, makes for potent true-crime documentary. (Read The New York Times review.)


(From L-R) Hudson Yang, Randall Park, Constance Wu, Ian Chen, and Forrest Wheeler in “Fresh Off The Boat.”

‘Fresh Off the Boat’
When to watch:
9 p.m., on ABC (season finale).

Michael Bolton guest stars as himself in the conclusion of what’s been a terrific arc for “Fresh Off the Boat.” The Huangs are moving on up, or trying to: purchasing a house, hoping to send Evan to a private school, taking on Bolton as an investor in the restaurant. Thankfully, the show has been renewed for a fourth season, so rest easy.


Simon Jones in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’
When to watch:
Now, on Hulu.

This is not a show for everyone. But! If you like British shows and you love British ’70s or ’80s shows in particular, or if you’re already a fan of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide” or you aspire to any of these things, well, come collect your prize. This six-part series aired in Britain in 1981, and some of the effects look as though they were created in 1881, but don’t let packaging put you off. This is a wonderful adaptation.

From left, K.J. Apa, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart in “Riverdale.”

The season finale of this CW series aired last week and the whole first season will be available starting Thursday on Netflix. It’s 13 episodes, which makes for an easy binge. This is a dark, moody spin on the Archie comics franchise, though a familiarity with that property is not at all necessary and might even be a hindrance, given the liberties the show takes.

This is much closer to “Pretty Little Liars” or “Gossip Girl,” right down to the central murder and brooding stares. The show liberally cribs from “Twin Peaks,” “The O.C.,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “90210” — so much so that Mädchen Amick plays Betty’s mother, and Luke Perry plays Archie’s father. (And Skeet Ulrich plays Jughead’s dad.) The ’90s really are back. If you like shows that go the extra mile for aesthetics and teen soaps that take themselves so seriously they come back around to not taking themselves too seriously at all, this is for you.