Four TV Shows to Watch This Week

Four TV Shows to Watch This Week

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

This week’s obsession is Twitter bots. Twitter can be a fast and volatile place, but my feed is made all the better by some old fruit pictures, by random gradients, by the progress bar that marks how much of the year has passed. I like these odd karaoke prompts, and these little castles.

Elsewhere this week, I finally binge-finished Season 3 of “iZombie,” a show whose internal mythology I frankly only barely follow but enjoy nonetheless. It’s clever and absorbing, one of those shows you watch and think, “Man, that looks like fun.” It was exactly what I was in the mood for.

If you’re in the mood for a particular type of show or movie, we built an entire website for this exact scenario. Head over to Watching and help us help you.

Have a fantastic week. Build a Twitter bot, maybe?

Paul Bettany as Ted Kaczynski in “Manhunt: Unabomber.”Discovery Channel

I’m Craving a Tense Docudrama

‘Manhunt: Unabomber’
When to watch:
Tuesday at 9 p.m., on Discovery.

This is an eight-part mini-series about how the F.B.I. eventually tracked down Ted Kaczynski after an 18-year investigation, including dozens of frustrating dead ends. I’ll warn you that the dialogue here is often clunky, and the direction sometimes artless, but the show winds up being gripping, particularly in later episodes. It’s a fascinating thriller that, like the greats in its genre, effectively teases out the similarities between its cat and its mouse.

Sam Worthington stars as Jim Fitzgerald, a rookie profiler who pioneers the forensic linguistic techniques that eventually match Kaczynski’s manifestoes with writing his family turned in to the F.B.I. Paul Bettany gives a twitchy, creepily enthralling performance as Kaczynski and Mark Duplass is excellent as his brother, but some of the other performances lack depth and intensity. (Sorry, Jane Lynch as Janet Reno.)

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“Manhunt” does not double as contemporary commentary the way “American Crime: The People v. O.J. Simpson” does, nor is it particularly meticulous about recreating its era. But I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning watching all seven episodes made available to critics (Parts 1 and 2 air Tuesday), and I’ve gone into a real Google hole reading more about the investigation; I started asking my friends and family what they remember about how the case played out at the time.

Aurora Browne, left, and Meredith MacNeill in “The Incredible Jessica James.”Erin Simkin/IFC

Actually, I’d Like Some Sketch Comedy

‘Baroness von Sketch Show’
When to watch: Wednesday at 10 p.m., on IFC.

IFC acquired two seasons of this fabulous Canadian sketch series starring four women, so we have 13 total episodes to take us all the way to the end of October. (God, that seems like 100 full years from now.)

“Baroness” is more grounded than “Inside Amy Schumer” and moves a little faster than “Key and Peele,” and its best sketches are the inappropriate-response ones, such as this one, about a round of “would you rather.”

Katherine C. in “Intervention.”A&E

No, I Want a Redemptive Reality Show Instead

Intervention
When to watch: Monday at 9 p.m., on A&E.

‘The Profit’
When to watch: Tuesday at 10 p.m., on CNBC.

“Intervention” is a genuine force for good while “The Profit” is more of a noble diversion, but both shows speak to how hard it can be to change, particularly when people are behaving the way their parents did, or are caught in toxic cycles of shame and secrecy.

Both shows also offer hope not only to the actual subjects of the episodes but also to any of us willing to internalize the lessons of the series — that it’s never too late, that help exists, that honesty is not just a virtue but a necessity, and that no one goes it alone. Also your ice cream store could have a better name, maybe!

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