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What to Watch This Week | October 23–29’s stellar viewing recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this weekend.

Is it too early to be talking about Christmas movies? Probably. But what about Christmas-adjacent films? I wrote about a few Santa-free offerings over here in 8 Non-Christmas Holiday Movies, covering Thanksgiving to Kwanzaa, and even threw in one of my favorite ’80s slasher flicks, New Year’s Evil (which is also great for Halloween).

This week’s What to Watch recs include the long-awaited premiere of Five Nights at Freddy’s, new Netflix movies Pain Hustlers and Sister Death, the returns of American Horror Stories and Shoresy, the true story of Milli Vanilli, and the 2023 NBA season tip-off. Quicker to the clicker!

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What’s premiering this week

Five Nights at Freddy's (Peacock)

Five Nights at Freddy’s | Peacock | Drama, horror

Movie premiere, Thursday, October 26: An overnight security guard (Josh Hutcherson) fights for his life against killer animatronic mascots at kiddie fun center Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza—sound familiar? The 2021 Nicholas Cage movie Willy’s Wonderland “borrowed” the concept before the 2014 video game Five Nights at Freddy’s was finally adapted. Which wore it better? Freddy’s will premiere in theaters this weekend, but you can stay home with Peacock and compare it screen-to-screen against Willy’s (it’s on Hulu).

How to Watch the NBA without cable

NBA | TNT | Sports, basketball

Coverage begins Tuesday, October 24, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT: The 2023–2024 NBA season gets underway with a TNT doubleheader on Tuesday: The Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT), followed by the Phoenix Suns vs. the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center in San Francisco, California (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). If you want to follow all 250(!) scheduled games this season, check out our comprehensive How to Watch the NBA guide.

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What to watch on Netflix this week

Pain Hustlers (Netflix)

Pain Hustlers | Netflix | Drama

Movie premiere, Friday, October 27: A struggling single mom (Emily Blunt) takes a job at a Florida pharmaceutical startup selling “lifesaving” drugs and soon finds herself on the fast track to riches. But, as the true New York Times story Pain Hustlers is based on goes, what goes up must come down, hard. This flashy true-crime business biopic also stars Andy Garcia, Catherine O’Hara, and a very un-Captain America-like Chris Evans, and was directed by, of all people, David Yates (Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts).

Sister Death (Netflix)

Sister Death | Netflix | Drama, horror

Movie premiere, Friday, October 27: Did The Nun II and The Exorcist: Believer leave you wanting more religious scares? Meet Sister Death. A young woman (Aria Bedmar) with budding supernatural powers begins working as a teacher at a girls’ school in post-war Spain. The twist: the school was previously a convent and is now haunted by a none-too-friendly presence. Sister Death is a prequel to director Paco Plaza’s Veronica, a based-on-true-events horror movie that made a terrifying splash on Netflix in 2017.

What to watch on Hulu this week

American Horror Stories (Hulu)

American Horror Stories | Hulu | Drama, Horror

Season 3 premiere, Thursday, October 26: The third season of the American Horror Story spinoff anthology series American Horror Stories is a short one, just four episodes. In “Bestie,” a woman grieving the loss of her mother forms a mysterious online friendship, followed by “Daphne,” wherein an A.I. smart device becomes a little too attached to its user. Then, a model goes too far in “Tapeworm,” and online dating veers horribly wrong in “Organ.” Sounds a lot like AHS meets Black Mirror, doesn’t it?

Shoresy (Hulu)

Shoresy | Hulu | Comedy

Season 2 premiere, Friday, October 27: Last year, Canadian actor/writer Jared Keeso followed up his unlikely hit Letterkenny with an even unlikelier spinoff series, Shoresy. In the premiere season, hockey vet “Shorsey” Shore (Keeso) left the town of Letterkenny to join the struggling Sudbury Bulldogs triple-A team in Northern Ontario. Shoresy is more plot-grounded and less gonzo than Letterkenny but still full of laughs and heart (and foul-mouthed quips about your mother). All six episodes stream on October 27.

What to watch on Paramount+ this week

Milli Vanilli (Paramount+)

Milli Vanilli | Paramount+ | Documentary, music

Movie premiere, Tuesday, October 24: Believe it or not, TikTokkers, lipsyncing was not appreciated in 1990. That’s the year German-French R&B duo Milli Vanilli (Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus) were revealed to be vocal imposters live on MTV, eventually resulting in a Grammy revocation for their multiplatinum debut album Girl You Know It’s True (it’s true that they didn’t sing or write a note on the record, and could barely speak English). Milli Vanilli tells the story of music’s biggest scandal, pre-Ashlee Simpson.

Fellow Travelers (Showtime)

Fellow Travelers | Paramount+ With SHOWTIME | Drama

Series premiere, Sunday, October 29: Spanning 1950s McCarthy-era Washington D.C. to the AIDS crisis of the ’80s, the opposites-attract romance between Hawkins “Hawk” Fuller (Matt Bomer, Doom Patrol) and Tim Laughlin (Jonathan Bailey, Bridgerton) is the center of Fellow Travelers, based on Thomas Mallon’s 2007 novel. The eight-part miniseries is also a political thriller of sorts, touching on the Vietnam War protests of the ’60s and the hedonism of the ’70s, and will also air on cable/satellite SHOWTIME.

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W2W wildcards of the week

Zainab Johnson Hijabs Off (Prime Video)

Zainab Johnson: Hijabs Off | Prime Video | Comedy, standup

Special premiere, Tuesday, October 24: You may recognize her from the Prime Video original Upload or the online series Avant-Guardians, but Zainab Johnson is also a standup comedian with plenty of material to work with as a Black Muslim woman from Harlem. “Zainab is a very popular Arabic name,” she explains to the audience. “At the airport, they might look at ‘Zainab’ and be like, ‘Oh should we stop her? Johnson? Oh no, she’s probably just going to Atlanta.’”

Metal Massacre (AXS TV)

Metal Massacre | AXS TV | Documentary, music

Movie premiere, Saturday, October 28: As part of AXS TV’s annual “Heavy Metal Halloween” (it’s a thing, apparently), rock-doc Metal Massacre: The Story Behind the Legendary Album makes its television debut. Metal Massacre was a 1982 compilation record that helped launch the careers of Metallica and Ratt, and established Brian Slagel’s Metal Blade Records, which is still thriving today. The documentary also features several bands you’ve never heard of, which fits with Slagel’s musical mission. Horns up!

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