During this time of social isolation, we’ll be offering weekly recommendations to help put you in an upbeat mood.
The bad news is there’s no “Let It Go.” The good news is there’s no “Let It Go.” In general, the songs do not feel as punchy in the smash sequel to the animated fable about sister princesses who sing show tunes and save the world. But it’s still quite witty, and the story nicely walks the line between giving us what we expect from “Frozen” while offering us something fresh. If you were a fan of wisecracking snowman Olaf, you’ll be glad to know there’s more of him to love. Disney Plus
Jonesing for some live music, Minnesota style? TPT had a great four-season run with this series capturing many of the state’s best modern music makers in various venues, captured in full color and often with full-tilt energy. Episodes archived online include hip-hop stalwarts Brother Ali, Doomtree and Heiruspecs, noisy punks Kitten Forever and the Blind Shake, rootsy twangers the Cactus Blossoms and Trampled by Turtles, and the late, great soul man Sonny Knight. TPT.org/the-lowertown-line
Viewers of a certain age should have fond memories of “The Wonderful World of Disney,” network TV’s long-running showcase of family-friendly fare. “Togo,” in which Willem Dafoe plays the Alaskan musher who led his team on a heroic, harrowing 1925 serum run, captures the spirit of those classic films with more than a little help from cinematographer Ericson Core and a scene-stealing pooch. Disney Plus
In a podcast devoted to how we live in the age of the internet, Reply All hosts P.J. Vogt and Alex Goldman cover weird, wild and heartwarming stories of people and technology. A 2017 episode, “Long Distance,” has them tracking down a telephone scammer all the way to New Delhi. A recent episode, “The Case of the Missing Hit,” helps a man tormented by an earworm pop song from the ’90s as he tries to find the long-forgotten tune — and finally get it out of his head. Vogt and Goldman have been at it since 2014, so there’s a vast backlog of episodes to explore. Not a computer nerd? Don’t worry; the stories are often more about the humans than the tech. Listen wherever you get your podcasts. gimletmedia.com/shows/reply-all
“John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch”
Mulaney can be a cynical stand-up, but he’s put the enthusiasm of a first-year kindergarten teacher behind his latest special. At first glance, the former “SNL” writer seems to be poking fun at old PBS programming like “Zoom” and “The Electric Company.” But the original musical numbers are just too delightful to be anything but sincere. Plus, would David Byrne pop up in anything less than a love fest? Netflix
While all major sports events are on a timeout, PBS is bringing one of its most popular doc-series off the bench. For free. Ken Burns’ 18-hour masterpiece may have seemed like too much of a good thing when it first aired in 1994; right now, the running time seems just about right. pbs.org
“ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas”
There isn’t a lot of dirt in this new “authorized” rock doc, but there’s plenty of B.S., literally. The camera crew revisits the animal trainer brought on the band’s legendary Worldwide Texas Tour in 1975, which featured a bull, buffalo and buzzard. Tall Texan tales abound from those early days as a copycat blues band on up to the unlikely mid-’80s commercial peak on MTV. A how-how-how, indeed. Netflix
“The Heart of the Game”
This inspiring and emotional documentary is a twofer — it’ll make you feel good while also satisfying a craving for the sports that are not happening. We spend a year with a gifted coach and a Seattle girls’ high school basketball team, whose players are dealing with off-court challenges while trying to put together a state championship season. Have tissues handy. Amazon
“OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies”
Five years before he won his best actor Oscar for “The Artist,” Jean Dujardin starred in this sublimely silly spy movie, which is like the love child of James Bond and the Pink Panther. His character thinks he’s a brilliant secret agent, but he’s actually an idiot and everyone else in this French-language comedy knows it. If you like “Cairo,” there’s a sequel (“Lost in Rio”) that’s almost as good and a third movie is being put together. Amazon
“Sense and Sensibility”
The new version of “Emma” is being made available for streaming early but it’s not great, so why not grab a better Jane Austen adaptation? Emma Thompson wrote (she won an Oscar for her screenplay) and stars as the older of two sisters whose empty purses force them to step up the search for love. Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman also star in a happily-ever-after romance that also worked out well in real life, since Thompson married co-star Greg Wise, who plays the cad who mistreats Winslet. Amazon
“Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”
Audiences split on this latest, possibly last, entry in the series of movies about a galaxy far, far away. Superfans resented how it walked back some of the most daring ideas from the previous chapter but if you can get past that, there’s warmth, humor and excitement in the overstuffed “Skywalker,” which brings together generations of freedom fighters and bids a fond farewell to Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. iTunes, Amazon
“House of Flowers / La Casa de las Flores”
Don’t let the rosy-sounding title fool you. This wild show takes viewers through director Manolo Caro’s twisted world of an upper-class family in Mexico City that owns the flower shop “La Casa de Las Flores.” Both a black comedy-drama and a satire of the telenovela, the funny, fun and surprising show features several LGBTQ+ characters that transcend stereotypes. Two seasons available. Netflix.
“Escape in Time”
You won’t get to see James Rollins at Club Book this month because his book tour has been canceled, but you can still enjoy some thrilling escapism with his new book, “The Last Odyssey,” which goes on sale Tuesday. (Order online from your favorite bookstore.) A blend of history, myth and adventure, it tells the story of a group of modern-day researchers who discover a trove of artifacts dating to the Bronze Age, including an incredible moving map that might lead straight to hell. Not ready to commit? Check out the chapter excerpt on his website, jamesrollins.com.