TV Jan. 10-13: Bright Hill Road, Chris Rock, Quiz, No Man’s Land, Tiger, Full Frontal, Night Stalker, The Circus, Heartland, Les Mis, All Creatures Great and Small, Crack, Wartime Farm, Finding Joy, Love My Way, The Resident, Prodigal Son, Call Your Mother, American Experience

I hereby call to order the guardians of the remote control, iPad what have you. I have new TV. Shall we?

Sunday Jan. 10

No Man’s Land (series premiere Starz, Crave app) “The eight-episode drama series … dives into the depths of the Syrian civil war through the eyes of Antoine, a young French man, in search of his estranged, presumed to be dead sister. While unraveling the mystery, piece by piece, Antoine ends up joining forces with a unit of Kurdish female fighters, fierce women and ISIS’ biggest nightmare, and travels with them in ISIS occupied territory. Antoine’s journey crosses paths with adventurers and anarchists, spies and innocent victims, and provides a unique look at the tragic events in Syria and the way they affect the entire world. The series stars Félix Moati (The French Dispatch), Mélanie Thierry (La Douleur), and James Purefoy (ALTERED CARBON) alongside Souheila Yacoub, Jo Ben Ayed, James Krishna Floyd, Dean Ridge, Julia Faure, François Carbon, and Céline Samie.”

Tiger (documentary premiere HBO / Crave app 8pmCT/9ET) “is a two-part documentary from HBO Sports offering a revealing look at the rise, fall, and epic comeback of global icon Tiger Woods. The documentary paints an intimate picture of the prodigy whose dedication and obsession with the game of golf not only took his fame and success to new heights, but also down a dark, spiraling road that eventually led to a legendary sports comeback, culminated by his victory at the 2019 Masters. The documentary features never-before-seen-footage and interviews with those who know Tiger Woods best, including his former caddy and close friend Steve Williams; golf legend Sir Nick Faldo; his father Earl Woods’ friend and biographer, Pete McDaniel; Tiger’s first true love, Dina Parr; and Rachel Uchitel, the woman at the center of the sex scandal that forever altered Tiger’s world, breaking her silence for the first time. … Part 2 will premiere a week later on Sunday, Jan. 17.”

The Circus: The Greatest Political Show on Earth (Season 6 premiere Crave, Crave app 7pmCT/8ET) “SHOWTIME’s political documentary series returns for a new season, bringing viewers behind the scenes of US politics just ahead of the crucial Georgia run-off elections that will determine control of the Senate. The new season sees Jennifer Palmieri, Communications Director for the Clinton 2016 Presidential Campaign and White House Communications Director for President Obama, join as a co-host. Palmieri, joins John Heilemann, co-founder of Recount Media and national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC; Alex Wagner, contributing editor at The Atlantic and former host of the MSNBC political affairs program NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER; and Mark McKinnon, political strategist and former chief media advisor to five successful presidential primary and general election campaigns.”

Heartland (Season premiere CBC 9pmCT/10ET CBC Gem) “While Amy struggles with a life-changing challenge in Season 14, the entire town of Hudson will have to deal with an unexpected disaster that threatens to derail Lou’s first term as mayor. But, the family will pull through together and be stronger as a result.”

Les Miserables (CBC 7pmCT/8ET CBC Gem premiere) Following the run on PBS, here is the Canadian debut, a “four-week special event featuring back-to-back episodes of BBC’s acclaimed LES MISÉRABLES dramatic miniseries, starring Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Lily Collins and Olivia Colman.”

All Creatures Great and Small (series premiere PBS 8pmCT/9ET) “James Herriot’s adventures as a veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire get a glorious new adaptation in All Creatures Great and Small, a seven-part series based on his beloved books. See the highly-anticipated show Sundays,  January 10 – February 21, 2021 on MASTERPIECE on PBS. Also, All Creatures Great and Small has been renewed for a second season! Exciting newcomer Nicholas Ralph will make his television debut as the iconic vet who became renowned for his inspiring humor, compassion and love of life. Samuel West (Mr. SelfridgeOn Chesil Beach) plays Siegfried Farnon, the wonderfully eccentric veterinary surgeon and proprietor of Skeldale House, who reluctantly hires the recently qualified Herriot into his rural practice. Mrs. Hall, the resident housekeeper and matriarch of Skeldale House, is played by Anna Madeley (The Child in TimePatrick Melrose). Siegfried’s errant and charismatic younger brother, Tristan, is played by Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells in Corfu). Rachel Shenton (Switched at BirthWhite Gold) takes the role of Helen Alderson, an independent local farmer’s daughter who helps her father manage the family farm and care for her younger sister. Diana Rigg (VictoriaGame of Thrones) plays Mrs. Pumphrey, the delightfully eccentric owner of the overly indulged Pekingese Tricki Woo, while Matthew Lewis (Harry PotterRipper Street) plays Hugh Hulton, a wealthy landowner and rival to James for Helen’s affections.”

Monday Jan. 11

Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy (doc premiere Netflix) “In the early 1980s, the crack epidemic tore through America’s inner cities like a tsunami, ravaging all in its wake. Decades later, the destructive effects on people’s lives, families and communities are still deeply felt. Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy examines not only the personal devastation caused by the drug, but also the shadowy origins of the crisis and the resultant, ongoing marginalization of Black and Brown people trapped by the U.S. prison and healthcare systems.”

Wartime Farm (Acorn) “From the acclaimed producers of Edwardian Farm, Victorian Farm and Victorian Pharmacy, Wartime Farm was watched by over 3 million viewers a week during its original eight-week run. In this BBC Two series, Alex Langlands, Peter Ginn and Ruth Goodman take on their biggest challenge yet: the running of a farm for a full calendar year, using only historical tools and materials from WWII – and mirroring the demands of an agricultural endeavor unparalleled in British history. The series is a fascinating blend of war history, survival creativity and endurance. In “Wartime Farm Christmas,” historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologist Peter Ginn return to Manor Farm in Hampshire to recreate the conditions of Christmas 1944.”

Finding Joy (Series 2 premiere Acorn) “Created and written by and starring Irish Film & TV Academy winner Amy Huberman (Striking Out, The Clinic), this comedy follows a single thirtysomething woman and vlogger, Joy Morris, after a painful breakup who looks for happiness in all the wrong places. Series 2 follows Joy as she is reborn as an independent online entrepreneur, launching her own video channel to establish her brand of finding happiness and fulfillment in everyday life, aided by Stan (Paul Reid, The Ritual) on camera and Emer (Ruth Kearney, Sanditon) on everything else. Sure, their viewer figures could be better, and maybe their sponsors could be sexier, but Joy has GOT THIS.  Finding Joy is a warm, irreverent show with a lot of heart and laughs as Joy struggles with life, her friends and her world.”

Love My Way (series premiere Acorn with Series 2 coming Jan. 25) “This renowned Australian primetime drama centers on a thirtysomething woman (Claudia Karvan, Newton’s Law) who negotiates the web of contemporary relationships, juggling the priorities of family obligations, being successful at love while fulfilled professionally and the hope that “happiness” might occur if all the other things fall into place. From the producer of the Golden Globe-nominated On The Beach and internationally renowned TV series Police Rescue, this Logie Award-winning series is an exploration of the love that binds us, the relationships that define us and the dreams of grownups. Also starring Asher Keddie (The Cry) and Brendan Cowell (The Slap).”

American Experience: The Codebreaker (Season 33 premiere PBS 8pmCT/9ET) “The story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, the groundbreaking cryptanalyst whose painstaking work to decode thousands of messages for the U.S. government would send infamous gangsters to prison in the 1920s and bring down a massive, near-invisible Nazi spy ring in WWII.”

Tuesday Jan. 12

Bright Hill Road (movie premiere VOD) I mostly write about TV-type streaming and broadcast/cable but this video-on-demand “trippy horror” premiere is from onetime Winnipegger and all-time friend Susie Moloney. So yes! Fave line in the trailer below: “Lucky for you we have an empty house.” RUN AWAY!!!! Bumph: “When a misstep after a workplace shooting puts alcoholic Marcy on leave, she heads out to see her sister in California. Halfway there, she stops for a couple of days at the Bright Hill Road Boarding House. The walls close in on the deeply troubled Marcy, as she loses touch with reality and comes face to face with the misdeeds of her sordid past. CAST: Siobhan Williams (Welcome to Marwen), Agam Darshi (“Sanctuary”) and Michael Eklund (The Call). DIRECTOR: Robert Cuffley.”

Chris Rock: Total Blackout, The Tamborine Extended Cut (doc Netflix) “In this extended cut of his 2018 special, Chris Rock takes the stage for a special filled with searing observations on fatherhood, infidelity and politics.”

Prodigal Son (Season 2 premiere Global and Fox 8pmCT/9ET) “Academy Award, Tony Award and three-time Screen Actors Guild Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Chicago,” “Ocean’s 12,” “Traffic,” “Feud”) will join FOX’s hit drama, PRODIGAL SON, for Season Two of the series. Starring as a series regular opposite fellow Welsh actor Michael Sheen, Zeta-Jones will appear in the latter half of the season as DR. VIVIAN CAPSHAW, Claremont Psychiatric’s resident MD. In Season Two, DR. MARTIN WHITLY (Sheen) is assigned to infirmary duty, and Dr. Capshaw (Zeta-Jones) revels in tasking “The Surgeon” to clean bedpans and mop the floor. But as Martin proves valuable in treating patients, Capshaw begins to see him in a new light…which is not a good thing.”

The Resident (Season 4 premiere CTV Fox 7pmCT/8ET) “Season four picks up as Dr. Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry, THE GOOD WIFE) and Nurse Practitioner Nicolette Nevin (Emily VanCamp,  REVENGE) tie the knot in an intimate and beautiful wedding, strengthening their already powerful bond. Meanwhile, Chastain is transitioning from private to public hospital, causing the hero doctors to fight to fix the broken machine from the inside. Dr. Randolph Bell (Bruce Greenwood, Star Trek Into Darkness) finds himself mining his own past to find his estranged former stepson, elite plastic surgeon Dr. Jake Wong (guest star Conrad Ricamora, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER). Bell attempts to bring Dr. Wong to Chastain to increase the number of world-class surgeries at the hospital and to repair their complicated past. Additionally, as star surgical resident Dr. Mina Okafor (Shaunette Renée Wilson, Black Panther) and her brilliant mentor, Dr. AJ Austin (Emmy Award nominee Malcolm-Jamal Warner, THE COSBY SHOW), grow closer than ever, they must learn to maintain a professional relationship within the walls of the hospital. The series also stars Manish Dayal, Jane Leeves and Morris Chestnut.  THE RESIDENT is produced by 20th Television. Todd Harthan, Andrew Chapman, Peter Elkoff, Amy Holden Jones, Rob Corn, Antoine Fuqua and Oly Obst are executive producers.”

Wednesday Jan. 13

Call Your Mother (series premiere ABC 8:30pmCT/9:30ET) “Jean (Kyra Sedgwick), an empty-nester mom, wonders how she ended up alone while her children live their best lives thousands of miles away. She decides her place is with her family, and as she reinserts herself into their lives, her kids realize they might actually need her more than they thought.”

Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer (doc series premiere Netflix) “Beneath the sunlit glamour of 1985 LA lurks a relentlessly evil serial killer. In this true-crime story, two detectives won’t rest until they catch him.”

Quiz (series premiere CBC 9pmCT/10ET CBC Gem) “British drama QUIZ, based on the true story of a former British army major who was caught cheating on the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and starring Matthew Macfadyen (Succession).”

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (Season 6 premiere CTV Comedy 9:30pmCT/10:30ET) Not a moment too soon for the return of this biting political satirist.

Thank you so much for reading this far. You might be my soul mate, but no pressure. You do you and I’ll do me and … hmmm this is going south so… What is d2tv? I’m so glad you asked. This is the latest iteration of my TV writing/blogging that began back in 1986 or so at the Winnipeg Sun, continued briefly in print and on the web at the Montreal Gazette and, finally, here, for myself and YOU! This is mostly a collection of Canadian streaming and broadcast programming notes focussing on premieres of new and returning series and specials etc, with the occasional series finale thrown in for sentimental reasons. Reviews are only occasional. You will notice that I focus on English-language scripted and documentary shows. I am no fan of reality TV (there is enough meanness and sarcasm in the world already without also financing it with funds that could otherwise go to quality scripted dramas, comedies and docs). If you spot an error or oversight or have a recommendation or opinion to share, please do so in the comments or by emailing me at the above address. Thank for reading.


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