What’s New to Watch This Weekend: Zac Efron Lights Up Stephen King’s Firestarter

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It’s only fitting that we get a new Stephen King adaptation this Friday the 13th. Fire starter stars Zac Efron as the father of an 11-year-old girl whose uniquely destructive ability to set things on fire with her mind makes her the target of a shady government organization. Pyrokinesis is scary, but the Feds are even scarier. Other options to check out this weekend include The Essex Serpent on AppleTV+, Conversations with friends on Hulu, and the Children in the room revival on Amazon Prime Video.

Our Editors’ Picks list for the week of May 13-19 is below, but if that’s not enough and you’re looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, sign up for our free, spam-free newsletter Watch This Now which delivers the best selections of TV shows straight to your inbox. You can also check out our extensive collection of recommendations, as well as our list of suggestions on what to watch next based on the shows you already love.

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THE BEST SHOWS AND MOVIES TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND

Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston The Essex Serpent

AppleTV+

The Essex Serpent

The series debuts Friday on Apple TV+
Who would win in a fight, a few A-list celebrities like Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston or a dangerous sea creature? We can find out in Apple TV+’s adaptation of Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel, in which a sea serpent – or at least the possibility of a sea serpent – terrorizes Essex, England at the Victorian. Danes plays the naturalist tracking down the monster while Hiddleston plays the Reverend who is sort of the Scully of Danes’ Mulder, while the townspeople start blaming Danes’ character for everything, including the snake’s possible presence. What begins as a monster hunt quickly becomes a witch hunt. Lots of juicy metaphors here! –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Zac Efron, firestarter

Zac Efron, Fire starter

Universal images

Fire starter

Friday, May 13 on Peacock (also in theaters)
Fire starter is probably Stephen King’s second most famous story about a young girl with telekinetic powers. Zac Efron stars in this film adaptation of King’s novel, playing Charlie’s (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) father, an 11-year-old girl who develops a massively destructive ability to set things on fire with her mind. As Charlie ages, her powers become harder to control, and her parents’ attempts to hide her from a shady government organization begin to unravel, throwing the family into survival mode. Fun fact: Horror King John Carpenter did the music for this movie! Also, I can’t believe Efron is at a point in his career where he’s old enough to play dad, but that’s for me and me alone to ruminate on. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, Kids in the Hall

Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, Children in the room

Jackie Brown/Amazon Studios

The children in the room

Revival Season 1 airs Friday, May 13 on Amazon Prime Video
Ask your parents what’s so funny about a guy who squeezes his fingers together and says, “I’m crushing your head.” Or just watch this revival of Children in the rooma series of comedy sketches by the beloved Canadian troupe of the same name, and you’ll be thinking, “Hey, that’s the guy from HypermarketThe final season of the original series, which aired on HBO for three seasons and then on CBS, aired in 1995 and ended with everyone buried alive. This is crucial information for understanding the tape- All the guys—Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson—are back and just as dumb as ever. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Jazz Raycole, The Lincoln Lawyer

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Jazz Raycole, Lincoln’s lawyer

Lara Solanki/Netflix

Lincoln’s lawyer

Series premieres Friday, May 13 on Netflix
Netflix doesn’t do a lot of network-type dramas, so this legal drama from prolific writer-producer David E. Kelley stands out. Long before he became the big little lies guys, Kelley dominated the lawyer space on TV with LA Law, The practice, Ally McBealand Boston Legal, among others. It’s his return to the genre. Lincoln’s lawyer is based on a series of bestselling novels by Michael Connelly, who also created Det. Harry Bosch, and follows Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a Los Angeles defense attorney who doesn’t like defending the guilty. He was previously played by Matthew McConaughey in the beloved 2011 film of the same name. If this show lives up to its potential, it will be a big hit. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Chosen Jacobs, Sneakerella

Chose Jacobs, Sneakerella

Disney/Brendan Adam-Zwelling

Sneakerella

Premieres Friday, May 13 on Disney+
This cute Disney Channel-style musical is a flip-flop version of Cinderella set in today’s sneaker-collecting culture. THIS‘s Chosen Jacobs stars as El, an aspiring working-class sneaker designer from Queens who works at his stepfather’s sneaker shop with his mean stepbrothers. One enchanted night, he wears shoes he designed for a gala hosted by Kira King (Lexi Underwood), the daughter of a sneaker mogul. He leaves one of the kicks he designed for himself as he runs away from the ball before the clock strikes midnight, leaving Kira to figure out who the basketball goes to. You can’t play basketball in glass sneakers, but I’m sure the movie finds a way around that. -Liam Mathews [Trailer]

Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn, Alison Oliver and Jemima Kirke, Conversations with Friends

Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn, Alison Oliver and Jemima Kirke, Conversations with friends

Enda Bowe/Hulu

Conversations with friends

Limited series airing Sunday, May 15 on Hulu
normal people was a quiet hit for Hulu, so it’s no surprise that Hulu is adapting another of Sally Rooney’s novels, Conversations with friends, as a mini-series. The subject is similar: accents and SEX! A more mature person would say “intimacy”, as the story follows two college students who become sexually and emotionally involved with a married couple. It is a conversation, indeed! All 12 episodes drop at the same time. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

More highlights this weekend:

  • couple therapy Season 3 (Fridays on Showtime at 8/7c)
  • Billboard Music Awards 2022 (Sunday on NBC at 8/7c)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife (Sunday on HBO at 9/8c)

For everything new to watch this weekend, head over to our announcements page.

THE BEST SHOWS AND MOVIES TO WATCH THIS WEEK

Emily VanCamp and Matt Czuchry, The Resident

Emily VanCamp and Matt Czuchry, the resident

Nathan Bolster/FOX

the resident

Season 5 finale premieres Tuesday, May 17 at 8/7c on Fox
the resident can be expelled. Fox will air the season 5 finale of the medical drama, but get the defibrillators ready, because there’s a good chance it’ll be the series finale as well. Fox has yet to renew the resident for Season 6, and it’s definitely on the old chopping block. But for longtime fans of the show, this episode is significant: Emily VanCamp returns as Nic – who died earlier this season – as Conrad (Matt Czuchry) reminisces about his past. Andrew “Blane” McCarthy is also invited. -Tim Surette

Love on the US Spectrum

Love on the US Spectrum

netflix

Love on the US Spectrum

Series premiere Wednesday, May 18 on Netflix
Looking for a reality dating series that is truly adorable? love on the spectrumthe Australian Netflix series about dating on the autism spectrum, is coming to America. Love on the US Spectrum follows singles looking for love as they enter the dating pool. Experts and their families are there to offer help and advice, but, refreshingly, the views of people with autism are front and center here. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

Cat Deeley, so you think you can dance

Cat Deley, So you think you can dance

Mike Yarish/FOX

So you think you can dance

Season 17 premieres Wednesday, May 18 at 9/8c on Fox
It lives! After a nearly three-year hiatus that dance heads worried about when the series would end, So you think you can dance hunted back on our screens for another season of hip-hop routines about robots and contemporary routines about feelings. Fuck yeah! The long-running series of Fox competitions will be quite different this year, with a new judging panel – tWitch, Matthew Morrison and JoJo Siwa – raising some intriguing questions. Can JoJo scream as much as Mary? What will Matthew “The Grinch” Morrison’s vibe be? In heartwarming continuity, Queen of Cool ‘Fits Cat Deeley returns as host. It’s not SYTYCD without her. –Kelly Connolly

Emmy Rossum, Angelyne

Emmy Rossum, angelyne

Isabella Vosmikova/Peacock

angelyne

Limited series premieres Thursday, May 19 on Peacock
There are plenty of famous people to be famous, but to her credit, Angelyne did it before just about everyone else. You might not know Angelyne if you weren’t alive in 1980s Los Angeles, when enigmatic billboards bearing only her face and name started popping up all over town pretty much at the same time she started driving in her signature pink Corvette, making this series of Emmy Rossum and Sam Esmail feel oddly niche. During her rise to local stardom, Rossum plays Angelyne, while Martin Freeman, Hamish Linklater and Lukas Gage co-star. This show seems like a great show. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

RECENTLY RELEASED

Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder, Hacks

Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder, hacks

Karen Ballard/HBO Max

hacks

Season 2 premiered Thursday, May 12 on HBO Max.
HBO Max’s Best Original Comedy Devil Series (yes, I said it) returns for Season 2, which finds Deborah (Jean Smart) and Ava (Hannah Einbinder) touring the country testing new material. What will Deborah do when she inevitably learns that Ava gave slanderous information about her to these TV producers at the end of Season 1? I can’t wait to find out. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

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