With the official start of summer coming this weekend, you might want to keep it in second gear during the long holiday weekend. No need to rush out into the sun and get burned to a crisp. Forget all that business about eating hot dogs and quaffing a few beers with family and friends (you’re on diet, remember?) Serenely floating across the placid lake at your family’s summer camp is highly overrated. That damn inner tube keeps slipping out from under you anyway, reminding you of those few extra pounds you’re trying to lose. Just forget all that. Park yourself in front of a television, and soon the jovial attitude shared by family members about the roaring flames of the outdoor fire pit will quickly wear off as they realize they haven’t watched anything on television all day.
Once everyone is settled in, here’s some food for thought about what to live stream and watch on-demand this weekend.
Summertime is a season for concerts, and Austin City Limits sets the standard for live music on television. Kendrick Lamar’s performance with a full band earlier this year is a must-see gig. If you’re using the PBS app, you can also find fantastic performances by Gary Clark Jr., and a legendary set from August 1983 with B.B. King.
Want more of Clark Jr. live? Then head over to YouTube and check out his 2015 set at Rock in Rio on the Live Music HD channel. If you don’t have Austin City Limits in regular rotation, you’re doing something wrong.
A British television series described as speculative fiction with elements of The Twilight Zone with deeper notes of horror, especially when it focuses on the unanticipated consequences of emerging technology. I haven’t watched another show where so much uneasiness stays with me long after the television is turned off. The series is remarkably short, with only three or four episodes per season.
The Night Manager (AMC, on demand)
This six-part miniseries is grounded by a loner protagonist working as the night manager of a hotel in Cairo during the chaotic Arab Spring of 2011. Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) is a former soldier who seems to want to lead a quiet life on the night shift until he is thrust into the world of an enormously wealthy arms dealer named Richard Roper. Hugh Laurie plays the remarkably likable villain as he jaunts across eye-popping vistas of his palatial homes and war zones alike.
Forget whatever your read about the series being a screen test for Hiddleston to play the next James Bond. The series (and acting) is far more engrossing than most Bond films. Based on a 1993 novel by novelist John le Carre, The Night Manager captures everything great about the so-called Golden Age of Television. Each episode runs about 1 hr. 22 min. long and casts a narrative with all the elements of a satisfying summer read. The final episode aired this week.
Jaws marathon (IFC, live on PlayStation Vue and Sling TV)
Do you expect to be an early riser on Memorial Day? Say around 6 a.m.? Good, Jason Alexander has you covered as IFC’s Sharks-pert during a 12-hour marathon of all four Jaws movies. If you’re up for coffee, you might just want to at least catch this scene with Quint, who we can guess likes a little something extra in his morning coffee.
If you didn’t find your favorite thing to binge-watch on my shortlist, feel free to add a comment below. Thinking of cutting the cord? Check out the about me section of The Cord Cutting Report. You can also read why I’m never going back to cable and see the gear I used to rid myself of a triple-digit cable bill. Happy Memorial Day!