How Much Watching Time Do You Have This Weekend?

This weekend, our TV critic recommends checking out a terrific new teen show, an intriguing art competition series and a stylish British drama that is now free to stream.

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By Margaret Lyons

This weekend I have … a half-hour, and I want something fun.

‘On My Block: Freeridge’
When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

This endearing teen show is technically a spinoff of the also terrific “On My Block,” which ended in 2021, but you can start here — “Freeridge” stands on its own just fine. The show centers on Gloria (Keyla Monterroso Mejia), the first among equals with her two besties and her sister. Many coming-of-age stories rely on wan archetypes, but this has an exciting vitality; even minor characters are richly drawn in kooky detail. “Freeridge” hits not only the earnest emotions of more heartstring-plucking series like “The Fosters” but also the comedic breathlessness of “Never Have I Ever.”

… an hour, and I like ‘Top Chef.’

‘The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist’
When to watch: Friday at 9 p.m., on MTV.

“The Exhibit” is not the first contemporary art competition show — Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” aired from 2010-11 — but it advances the skill-based reality contest genre in an important way: No one is eliminated! The seven artists, vying for $100,000 and an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum, compete in all six episodes and are judged in the finale on their work overall. Many of the pieces they create are intriguing, but the show sometimes feels inside out, with the didactic prompts and the obvious pre-show preparation diluting the chaotic creativity and serendipity of, for example, early “Project Runway.” If you thrive on hearing people describe artwork as “unresolved,” though, watch this.

… several hours, and I want an engrossing drama.

‘The Hour’
When to watch: Now, on Acorn TV, Pluto and the Roku Channel.

If you want a stylish, meaty drama without a mega commitment, watch this British series from 2011 that has only two six-episode seasons. The show begins in 1956, and because of its visual style, its attentiveness to gender roles and its ideas about the primacy of one’s work, the show is sometimes compared to “Mad Men.” But it’s much more akin to “Broadcast News,” with a bit of political thriller on the side. “The Hour” is set behind the scenes at a newsmagazine show, where everyone is sexy and impatient, where the smoke hangs in the air and the sounds of clacking typewriters and jangling phones accompany self-righteous monologues and tense interviews.

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