'Halloween Baking Championship'
Effervescent chef, writer and "Crazy Delicious" star Carla Hall takes over as host for the sixth season of this — let's face it — knockoff of "The Great British Baking Show" but with candy corn. Her winning personality and flavor smarts are the key to the Food Network competition show's appeal, but co-judge Zac Young also brings wit to the cupcake panel and the holiday-themed challenges are surprisingly inventive. You also can watch for clues that this season was filmed after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, since the interactions between contestants and judges happen from 6 feet or more apart (for comparison's sake, previous seasons also are available). Amazon
This series about spy games between Israel and Iran has fewer shootouts and car chases than the typical thriller, but it crackles with suspense, thanks to pulsating action sequences and unpredictable twists. Niv Sultan is riveting as the undercover agent torn between loyalties to her country and the hacker she's tumbled into love with. Once you've caught your breath, check out creator Moshe Zonder's equally riveting drama "Fauda," now streaming on Netflix. Apple TV
'Closer to Heaven: A Tribute to Ed Ackerson'
An MVP in the Twin Cities music scene, Ackerson was a bandleader, producer and owner of a record label and recording studio. On Sunday, the first anniversary of his death from pancreatic cancer, his Susstones Records will release this tribute album, featuring more than two dozen acts playing his songs. Included are Soul Asylum, the Dandy Warhols, Melissa Gibbs & Tanya Donelly, Motion City Soundtrack, the Jayhawks and the Ocean Blue doing the title track, a quintessential Ackerson slice of modern pop. Proceeds go to a college fund for his daughter, Annika. susstones.bandcamp.com
'Great Performances: Now Hear This'
This documentary miniseries hosted by violinist and conductor Scott Yoo goes beyond pretty performances, with Yoo enlisting musicians and historians to break down the back stories of beloved classical works. The first episode delves into composer Franz Joseph Haydn and his string quartets, highlighting the folk tunes, gypsy rhythms and bagpipe tones that shaped them. "If you're in a string quartet," one musician notes, "Haydn is the man." The second season — with episodes on Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven — premiered Sept. 18 and is now streaming. They're composers worth digging into, for sure, but here's hoping the series' third season turns its ear toward the unexpected, amplifying new or lesser-known voices. pbs.org/show/great-performances
'The Biggest Little Farm'
Filmmaker John Chester and his chef/blogger wife, Molly, left the Los Angeles rat race in 2011 to buy a farm, one they envisioned as following time-honored, old-fashioned traditions. That they knew next to nothing about agriculture was no deterrent. In fits and starts, under the tutelage of back-to-the-land guru Alan York, they turned their arid 200 acres into a lush landscape supporting dozens of varieties of fruit trees, plus chickens, sheep and one very pregnant pig. It wouldn't be a movie without the tribulations of drought, death and pests (aphids, gophers, coyotes), but the fascination lies in the Chesters' ingenuity in using nature to tame nature. It just might kick-start your backyard chicken coop, or at least a garden. Hulu
'Saturday Night Live'
All 45 previous seasons will stream for the first time as the show begins its new season this weekend with host Chris Rock and musical guest Megan Thee Stallion. The "SNL" library has had a checkered record when it comes to streaming, with only certain seasons available as the old shows switched from service to service. For instance, the Eddie Murphy years were not previously available. It's unclear if these vintage episodes will include musical performances, due to licensing issues. Peacock
Grand Ole Opry
To kick off a monthlong celebration of its 95th anniversary, the Opry will welcome back a limited in-person audience of 500 people in the 4,400-capacity Opry House in Nashville to hear Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan, Dierks Bentley and Terri Clark. For the past 29 Saturdays, the Opry has been performing without a live audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Opry-goers will be required to wear masks and maintain social distance. The popular country radio show has broadcast on 4,944 consecutive Saturday nights. 7 p.m. Sat. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, SiriusXM and wsm online.com
If you read credits on movies and albums, you might recognize the name William E. (Bill) McEuen. He produced Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's landmark 1972 project "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," teaming the then-young group with such stalwarts as Maybelle Carter and Doc Watson. McEuen, who died last week at age 79, produced the classic comedy "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" and boasted a long association with Steve Martin, producing the Grammy-winning comedy album "A Wild and Crazy Guy" (including the hit "King Tut") as well as many Martin movies. None was more nuttily absurd — and politically incorrect — than 1979's "The Jerk," the comic's first major role. He plays a dumb and dumber ne'er-do-well who romances Bernadette Peters. Amazon Prime, Apple
Renée Zellweger shows why she earned the Oscar for playing Judy Garland in every frame of this 2019 biopic, now available for streaming. But she's best in unguarded moments such as one that creates the illusion of being captured on the fly: Bleary-eyed, drugged up and late for her opening-night performance, the singer is hustled into an elevator and, as the elevator doors close, the last thing we see is her assistant schlepping on her earrings. It's Judy Garland, human, transforming into Judy Garland, superstar, and it shows how incredibly difficult it was to be both. Amazon Prime, Hulu