My darling chickens. How I have missed you. Got your blog-reading cocktail in hand? OK, onward.
Thursday Jan. 14
Locked Down (movie premiere Crave) “Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are enduring lockdown together, even though Linda recently informed Paxton that she wants to end their romantic relationship. As tensions – big and small – mount for both parties, an opportunity to change their lives forever presents itself. But it’s far from legal. Can they work as a team to pull it off? Do they have the guts to do it? And through all these mixed emotions, are they actually getting closer again? … With appearances by Stephen Merchant, Mindy Kaling, Ben Kingsley, Lucy Boynton, Dulé Hill, Jazmyn Simon, and Ben Stiller (alongside his real-life son Quinn in a very funny scene).”
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (Season 2 premiere* 3:01 p.m. ET Crave, Crave app) “Crave viewers get a double dose of Drag this January, with Season 2 of the hit UK version of RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE set to premiere. Season 2 is even bigger than the first, with 12 queens battling it out over ten weeks, with judges RuPaul Charles, Michelle Visage, Graham Norton, and Alan Carr returning. Each week Alan or Graham join RuPaul and Michelle on a rotational basis, alongside an extra special celebrity guest judge. With Queens representing from the length and breadth of the country, RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE UK showcases the very best of the UK drag scene. The queens slay their way through a weekly series of challenges designed to test their drag expertise. In accordance with the Drag Race mantra, all of the queens are assessed on their Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent, with the bottom two queens being asked to lip sync for their lives. RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE UK follows a weekly release schedule, with new episodes premiering Thursdays at 3:01 p.m. ET.”
Los Espookys (series premiere Crave) “Created by Julio Torres (MY FAVORITE SHAPES) and executive produced by Lorne Michaels (SNL) and Fred Armisen (PORTLANDIA), the primarily Spanish-language (with English subtitles) series is based in a dreamy Latin American country where the strange and eerie are just part of daily life. Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco), a horror and gore enthusiast, assembles his close friends to form Los Espookys, a business based on conjuring thrills and chills for a variety of clients. Renaldo is joined by Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherotti), a resilient and tenacious dental assistant who handles the logistics and execution of their projects; Úrsula’s sister Tati (Ana Fabrega) who juggles several (very) odd jobs while acting as the group’s test dummy; and Renaldo’s long-time best friend Andrés (Julio Torres), the brooding heir to a chocolate empire who longs to unlock the secrets to his past while avoiding his trophy boyfriend, Juan Carlos (José Pablo Minor).
Friday Jan. 15
WandaVision (series premiere Disney+) In the mood for some futurist retro? A mashup of lovey-dovey and dystopia? Will love conquer all? Will classic old-school (your mom’s old school) sitcoms give Wanda and Vision a single moment of safety? “Marvel Studios presents WandaVision, a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) – two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives – begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. The new series is directed by Matt Shakman; Jac Schaeffer is head writer.”
Servant (Apple TV+) The cast of this supernatural thriller from M. Night Shyamalan about a couple crashing after a terrible loss, “including Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free and Rupert Grint, will all reprise their characters for the second season.” Season 3 has already been ordered.
Disenchantment (Season 3 premiere Netflix) “From the mind of Matt Groening comes Disenchantment, the adult animated comedy fantasy series that follows the medieval misadventures of hard-drinking young Princess Bean, her feisty elf companion Elfo and her personal demon Luci. Along the way, the oddball trio encounter ogres, mermaids, walruses, and lots of human fools all while uncovering the deeper mystery of Dreamland. The excitement builds in Disenchantment Part 3 as Bean continues to grow into her power and own her destiny. As the fearless friends venture out to discover new worlds, they might just find there really is no place like home. The series features the voice talents of Abbi Jacobson (“Bean”), Eric Andre (“Luci”) and Nat Faxon (“Elfo”) along with John DiMaggio, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, David Herman, Matt Berry, Jeny Batten, Rich Fulcher, Noel Fielding, and Lucy Montgomery.”
One Night in Miami… (premiere Amazon Prime Video) “is a fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the ’60s.” Directed by Regina King (!!) and stars include Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree and Aldis Hodge.
Real Time with Bill Maher (Season 19 premiere HBO 10 p.m. ET, Crave app) “Just as the 46th President of the United States is set to be sworn in on January 20, HBO’s REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER returns for its 19th season on Friday, Jan. 15 at 10 p.m. ET. Comedian and satirist Bill Maher hosts the long-running, Emmy-nominated talk show, covering the week’s news and featuring a panel of guests, including actors, activists, politicians, musicians, comedians, and more. Episodes of REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER air Friday nights at 10 p.m. ET and are available on-demand the following morning. Guests include Kellyanne Conway, Katie Couric and Matt Jones.
Bling Empire (premiere Netflix) “Bling Empire follows a wildly wealthy group of Asian and Asian American friends (and frenemies) in Los Angeles. While their days and nights are filled with fabulous parties and expensive shopping sprees, don’t let the glitz and glamour fool you. Between running multi-billion dollar businesses and traveling the world, these friends are as good at keeping secrets as they are at spilling them. And there is certainly no shortage of secrets.”
Fortitude (Season 3 premiere CBC Gem) “The death of Governor Munk continues to hang over the town, and the inhabitants of the most staggeringly beautiful place on earth begin to piece their lives back together. But there are new horrors festering in Fortitude and the town’s Sheriff, Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer, Game of Thrones), will find himself at the heart of them. Also starring Dennis Quaid (Far from Heaven), Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing), and Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil).”
Upright (CBC Gem) “When family outcast Lucky Flynn (Tim Minchin, Robin Hood, Californication) learns that his mother is dying, he decides to drive to the other side of Australia to see her, packing nothing but an upright piano for the journey. But his plans are soon turned upside down when he meets runaway teenager Meg (Milly Alcock, Reckoning, The Gloaming), who’s dealing with some family demons of her own. Co-written and composed by Minchin and directed by Matthew Saville (Please Like Me).”
Anyone’s Game (doc series premiere CBC Gem) “Set against the backdrop of the high-stakes Grind Session basketball circuit, and following AI’s Orangeville Prep team last season under the helm of the godfather of Canadian high school basketball, Coach Tony McIntyre, CBC original docuseries ANYONE’S GAME takes viewers into the competitive, high-pressure world of basketball’s most successful preparatory program. As the freshmen seek out their place on the team for the next four years, the seniors know this is their last year to secure scholarships to Division 1 NCAA colleges, a further step towards realizing their dreams of playing in the NBA. This season, the players are all vying for a prestigious championship, but coming into the Grind Session as the Canadian underdogs, each of them will have to overcome emotional and physical hurdles before they even step onto the court. NBA alumni of the AI program include Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets, Thon Maker of the Detroit Pistons, Lugentz Dort of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Oshae Brissett of the Toronto Raptors, and Iggy Brazdeikis of the New York Knicks, to name a few.”
Outside the Wire (premiere Netflix) “In 2036, America serves as a peacekeeping force and human troops on both sides are supported by robot combatants called Gumps and drone pilots monitoring skirmishes from thousands of miles away. But after headstrong drone pilot Lieutenant Harp (Damson Idris) disobeys a direct order to intervene in a conflict, the Army deploys him to a military outpost to confront the human costs of his button-pushing. Harp’s expectations of guarding a fence are upended when his new commanding officer Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie) announces plans to infiltrate the demilitarized zone and apprehend Viktor Koval (Pilou Asbæk), a warlord who intends to launch a network of dormant nuclear weapons. Soon, Harp learns that his theoretical experience as a drone pilot means little out on the battlefield under enemy attack — especially after discovering that Leo is an A.I.-enhanced supersoldier whose strength, speed and demand for results promise to turn his real-world education into a trial by fire.”
Saturday Jan. 16
Nothing new that I can spy on this day/night so perfect opportunity to sample one of the above new thingies or say check out the slightly less new Netflix doc series Pretend It’s a City. It features the formidably cranky writerly icon Fran Lebowitz being interviewed by longtime friend and filmmaking icon Martin Scorsese about all aspects of her long long residence in and love-hate affair with New York City. I learned some stuff about the, yes, greatest city in the world. I also grew to love the ridiculous giggling that would grip both of these New York Icons. At first it was distracting and annoying and now, five episodes in, it’s charming. Like, I wish I could hang out with my dad again, and listen to him laughing at his own jokes.
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.