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What to Watch This Week | May 8–14’s sparkling recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this week.

Let’s hope that by the time you read this, the Writers Guild of America strike is over and TV and movie scribes have a fairer contract in hand. The last strike in 2007-2008 lasted 100 days, at which time I went into such severe late-night comedy withdrawal that I resorted to watching MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Guess I’ll be listening to Keith’s podcast this time around.

This week’s What to Watch recs include Jennifer Lopez action flick The Mother, AI thriller Class of ’09, new musical comedy The Muppets Mayhem, mystery drama City on Fire, and the 2023 XFL Championship. Plenty to see here!

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What’s premiering this week

Maid for Revenge (Lifetime)

Maid for Revenge | Lifetime | Drama

Movie premiere, Saturday, May 13: Lifetime has given us some of the most deliciously ridiculous movie titles in all of TV land, like From Straight A’s to XXX, Newlywed and Dead, and Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? Maid for Revenge is a contender, as well as proof that striking TV writers deserve way more money. The story: “When a struggling young maid wakes up next to her client’s pool covered in blood, she discovers the owner dead in the water. With no memory of what happened, she races to uncover the truth.” The kicker: “Inspired by true events.”

How to watch XFL

XFL Championship | ABC, ESPN+ | Sports, football

Coverage begins Saturday, May 13, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT: Live from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, it’s the 2023 XFL Championship game (not to be confused with the USFL Championship game—that’s coming up in July). The first XFL Championship game since 2001 will see the Arlington Renegades facing off against the DC Defenders, the odds-on favorite to win the XFL’s not-at-all-weird-looking golden “X” trophy. BTW, that 2001 XFL championship was called “The Million Dollar Game,” a title that absolutely should be brought back.

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What to watch on Netflix this week

The Mother (Netflix)

The Mother | Netflix | Action, drama

Move premiere, Friday, May 12: With no actual character name, Jennifer Lopez is The Mother of The Mother, a give-me-back-my-daughter action flick that’s basically Taken with a chicer fashion sense. After years of living off the grid, an assassin (Lopez) is out to rescue 12-year-old Zoe (Lucy Paez), the daughter she gave up at birth to keep safe. Zoe’s kidnapper is a flamboyantly evil arms dealer (Gael Garcia Bernal) who has a beef with The Mother, and her former military mentor (Joseph Fiennes) also figures into the plot. Happy Mother’s Day!

Mulligan (Netflix)

Mulligan | Netflix | Animation, comedy

Series premiere, Friday, May 12: Another show set in the post-apocalyptic future? Yes, but this one’s an animated comedy from the producers and writers behind 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (including Tina Fey). After aliens have trashed the Earth, America attempts to build back better under the wholly unqualified leadership of President Matty Mulligan (voiced by Nate Faxon). Other voices include Fey, Chrissy Teigen, Sam Richardson, and Dana Carvey, and all 10 Mulligan episodes drop on May 12.

What to watch on Hulu this week

Class of 09 (Hulu)

Class of ’09 | Hulu | Drama

Series premiere, Wednesday, May 10: Told across three timelines (past, present, and future), Class of ’09 follows a group of FBI agents (including Brian Tyree Henry and Kate Mara) navigating a criminal justice system increasingly disrupted by artificial intelligence. They all graduated from Quantico in 2009 after being recruited from unrelated fields, which is part of a deepening mystery—how do you go from selling insurance to heading the FBI? Two of eight Class of ’09 episodes stream on May 10.

The Great (2020)

The Great | Hulu | Drama, comedy

Season 3 premiere, Wednesday, May 10: The “occasionally true,” “anti-historical” story of 18th-century Russian empress Catherine the Great (played here by Elle Fanning) may not have much to do with textbook reality, but it’s wicked, frothy fun. Season 3 of The Great picks up after Catherine attempted to kill her husband (awkward), who’s now being haunted by the ghost of his very disappointed father (double awkward). The Great blends historical trappings with modern feminist humor to, ahem, great effect.

What to watch on Disney+ this week

Muppets Mayhem (Disney+)

The Muppets Mayhem | Disney+ | Comedy, musical

Series premiere, Wednesday, May 10: How is The Muppets Mayhem different from recent Disney series like The Muppets and Muppets Now? This one’s all about Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem, the Muppets’ house band who are finally getting around to recording their first album—think Daisy Jones & The Six with fewer drugs and drama and more fuzz and funny. The Muppets Mayhem original songs by Linda Perry and musical guest appearances from Billy Corgan, Steve Aoki, Lil Nas X, and more.

Crater (Disney+)

Crater | Disney+ | Family, sci-fi

Movie premiere, Friday, May 12: Raised in a mining colony on the moon, young Caleb (Isaiah Russell-Bailey) is about to be shipped off to another planet—but not before fulfilling his late father’s final wish of exploring a mysterious lunar crater. Caleb and his best friends (Mckenna Grace, Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, and Thomas Boyce) steal a rover and set out for a moon-spelunking adventure—what could go wrong? Like a Stand by Me in space, Crater is a coming-of-age movie that goes for the feels.

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W2W wildcards of the week

City on Fire (Apple TV+)

City on Fire | Apple TV+ | Drama

Series premiere, Friday, May 12: Set in 2003 New York, City on Fire is a mystery connecting the Central Park murder of an NYU student and real estate heiress (Chase Sui Wonders), the burgeoning downtown music scene, and a citywide series of fires that probably aren’t accidental. The eight-episode City on Fire, based on the 2015 Garth Risk Hallberg novel of the same name, was created and written by Gossip Girl showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, so expect D-R-A-M-A.

Fear the Walking Dead (AMC)

Fear the Walking Dead | AMC, AMC+ | Drama, horror

Season 8 premiere, Sunday, May 14: The good news is that the final season of Fear the Walking Dead will be 12 episodes long, plenty of time to wrap up the story. The bad news is that AMC will only dole out six in the spring, then air the final eps sometime later in 2023. The WTF news is that FTWD will jump seven years forward in time for its last outing. Will series vets Madison (Kim Dickens), Strand (Colman Domingo), and Morgan (Lenny James) make it out un-zombie-fied? Stay tuned.

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