This weekend I have … an hour, and I love nature docs.
When to watch: Now, on Apple TV+.
This five-part series about dinosaurs has a strong “Planet Earth” aesthetic: It’s packed with twitchy blinking from anxious creatures, moments of poignant maternal care, the sounds of rustling leaves and bitter wind, a sage acceptance of the predator-prey dynamic. The commitment to C.G.I. realism is so potent that when a triceratops herd traipses through a dark cave, it’s portrayed in faux night vision, with grayed-out colors and glinting eyeballs. Wild! Lil cutie baby dinosaurs abound here, and narration by David Attenborough and a score by Hans Zimmer push things into a lush, meditative zone.
… 80 minutes, and all the world’s a stage.
‘American Masters: Joe Papp in Five Acts’
When to watch: Friday at 9 p.m., on PBS. (Check local listings.)
In 1954, Joe Papp founded what would become the Public Theater and championed a new way of thinking about American theater as more expansive, more diverse, more immediate. This documentary traces his life and work, as well as the dueling allures of vitality and volatility. “Five” is a bit unstuck in time; this is its broadcast debut, but it was released more than a decade ago, and some of its interviews were clearly conducted several years before that. And yet Papp’s questions about the relationship between art and capitalism, about the premise of a public theater — and really, the premise of a public — feel at least as fresh and urgent as they did 60 years ago.
… a few hours, and I like rich dramas.
‘Borgen: Power & Glory’
When to watch: Now, on Netflix.
Maybe the doldrums of revival/reboot culture are worth it if it means we get a new season of “Borgen.” This smart Danish political drama captures the ouroboros of cynicism and idealism with texture and dynamics … and a decent amount of smooching. The new season, its fourth (in Danish, with subtitles, or dubbed), picks up about a decade after we left off. The former prime minister Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is now a foreign affairs minister whose work takes on new significance when the discovery of oil in Greenland shakes up all kinds of international relations. “Borgen” is a show about consequences, about the romantic, terrifying idea that the decisions we make have real effects. Start with Season 1 and enjoy the ride. “Madam Secretary” fans, run don’t walk.