TV highlights over the next week to keep you thinking during lockdown

The news is so scary and serious that we’re looking for that holy grail of quarantine entertainment: programming light enough to be escapist, but not so dumb that it insults our intelligence.

'Parenthood' (photo credit: NBC UNIVERSAL INC.)
'Parenthood'
(photo credit: NBC UNIVERSAL INC.)
Most of us have just celebrated one of the most important holidays of the year without some of the people we really care about.
The news is so scary and serious that we’re looking for that holy grail of quarantine entertainment: programming light enough to be escapist, but not so dumb that it insults our intelligence.

Parenthood
, the US television drama that ran from 2010 to 2015, fits the bill beautifully. It is available here through Amazon Prime Video on Partner TV and Cellcom TV, through Amazon Prime Video (primevideo.com) or through the US version of Amazon Prime Video (if you have a credit card with a US billing address).
The show is about three generations of a family in Northern California and is a reworking of a 1989 Steve Martin movie. The series was created by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard and his producing partner, Brian Grazer, and Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights).
It stars Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Lauren Graham (The Gilmore Girls), Craig T. Nelson (Coach) and Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard) and, in its later seasons, Ray Romano.
It is both a bit soapy and comic, but it’s always well written with a carefully constructed plot that will make you eager for the next episode. It follows two retirees, their four adult children and their spouses, about eight grandchildren and assorted significant others.
Everyone is attractive, and they have beautiful homes, but they also have real problems with which it is easy to identify. One of the characters is a teenage boy with Asperger’s syndrome, and his issues and triumphs are handled with great sensitivity and realism.
If you want to judge the controversial, Oscar-winning film Jojo Rabbit for yourself, you can see it on HOT VOD Cinema starting on April 21. The latest Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, will be on HOT VOD Cinema beginning on April 23.
The Audrey Hepburn/Fred Astaire classic Funny Face, where she plays a bookstore clerk turned fashion model, will be on Yes 3 at 10 p.m. on April 19.
The new movie that Netflix is promoting, Love Wedding Repeat, opens with spectacular, panoramic shots of Rome, and it was hard not to think of what is going on in Italy right now while watching it.
But, of course, this movie, which aims for the light comic tone of the British film Four Weddings and a Funeral, has nothing to do with the current situation. It tries to tell a light story of how chance shapes our choices.
It’s about a shy British guy (Sam Claflin) who missed his chance to tell a beautiful American journalist (Olivia Munn of The Newsroom) that he loves her, but gets to see her again at his sister’s wedding in Rome.
There is a lot of farce, mostly involving an uninvited guest who is supposed to be given a strong sedative, but naturally the wrong person takes it. The gimmick here is that at a certain point the action rewinds, and events play out in a different way. It’s fun up to a point, and nice to see people standing so close together and hugging each other, especially in Rome.
There are quite a few great movies available to watch for free on YouTube (never click on those links that ask you to pay), and one of them is a wonderful 1979 film that never quite got its due, Chilly Scenes of Winter. It’s by Joan Micklin Silver, who made the beloved rom-com Crossing Delancey and the Yiddish drama of immigrant life Hester Street.
Chilly Scenes of Winter
is an adaptation of the first novel by Ann Beattie. It tells the story of Charles (John Heard), a guy with a boring job who can’t get over his ex, Laura (Mary Beth Hurt). Laura is sexy and funny, but also, as she protests to him, ordinary in many ways. So while you identify with his obsession, you can also see how he’s driving himself crazy by thinking that being with her again will bring him perfect happiness. Gloria Grahame, who was the bad girl in It’s a Wonderful Life and so many other movies, is his unhinged mother.