TV Jan. 17-20: What Would Sophia Loren Do?, Batwoman, Pennyworth, A.P. Bio, Miss Scarlet and the Duke, All American, 9-1-1, 9-1-1 Lone Star, The Wipers Times, Danger UXB, Nothing Trivial, Kim’s Convenience, Night Caller, Riverdale, Nancy Drew, C.B. Strike: Lethal White, Daughter From Another Mother

How’s the napping? Time to wake up! There’s new TV!

Catching up

What Would Sophia Loren Do? (premiered Netflix on Friday) “follows Nancy “Vincenza” Kulik, an Italian-American mother and grandmother living in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Nancy has seen her share of life’s challenges, but has always been able to stay joyful and resilient, inspired in part by another Italian mother, the movie star Sophia Loren. Nancy uses the metaphorical question “What Would Sophia Loren Do?” as a guide to questions big and small. For example, “Would Sophia Loren eat whole wheat pasta?” Nancy thinks not. But more importantly, this catch phrase also provides comfort and a source of strength in times of crisis. In 2016, Vincenza’s 51-year-old son passed away suddenly; Nancy was bereft. She found solace in the love and support of her friends and family. But as she describes it, Nancy also found strength in the example of Sophia’s grace and perseverance. For Nancy, the words “What Would Sophia Loren Do?” have helped her navigate some of the most difficult times of her life. Through the experiences of these two extraordinary women, we come to understand what it means to face life’s challenges with resilience and love, and to age with courage, humor and joy. Directed by Ross Kauffman.”

Sunday Jan 17

Batwoman (Season 2 premiere on Showcase 7pmCT/8ET) “Season two kicks of with a major game-changer that will alter Gotham and The Bat Team forever. As the dust settles, Batwoman has everything working against her – including the recently escaped rogues’ gallery of villains– and everyone will come to see her in a whole new light. Alice meets her match when she becomes entangled with a dangerous foe from her past who knows exactly how to prey on her vulnerabilities. As Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Mary (Nicole Kang) find their footing as sidekicks, a  romance will shake up their dynamic. Meanwhile, Sophie (Megan Tandy) and Julia’s (guest star Christina Wolfe) budding relationship will face its first real test and make Sophie question everything she thought she knew to be true.”

Pennyworth (Season 2 premiere on Showcase 8-9:15pmCT/9-10:15ET) “A year after the explosive events of last season, England finds itself embroiled in a devastating civil war, with the powerful, neo-fascist Raven Union, led by Lord Harwood (Jason Flemyng) threatening to control the entire country. North London remains one of the few resistance holdouts remaining. It’s here in the West End Neutral Zone, that we find Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon, The Imitation Game). After years in the British Army, his training with the SAS has taught him to be a cynical optimist – expecting the worst, but knowing that he can handle it.”

A.P. Bio (Season 3 premiere Showcase 9:15pmCT/10ET) “When disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton) loses out on his dream job, he is forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, and work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher. As he comes crashing in to Whitlock High School, Jack makes it absolutely clear he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, Jack decides instead to use the kids for his own benefit. Eager to prove that he is still king of the castle, Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt) struggles to control the force of nature that is Jack Griffin.”

Miss Scarlett and the Duke (series premiere PBS 7pmCT/8ET) “Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders) stars in a six-part mystery as the headstrong, first-ever female detective in Victorian London, who won’t let any naysayers stop her from keeping her father’s business running. Stuart Martin (Jamestown) plays her childhood friend, professional colleague, and potential love interest, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector William Wellington, a.k.a., The Duke. The cast includes Andrew Gower (Poldark, Outlander), Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey), Ansu Kabia (World on Fire, The Long Song), and Cathy Belton (Philomena).”

Monday Jan. 18

All American (Season 3 premiere Showcase 7pmCT/8ET) “At the end of season two, Spencer (Daniel Ezra) decides to return to South Crenshaw High for his senior year with Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) to bring home a football championship to save the school. However, in season three that may prove difficult as the high stakes of the Beverly/Crenshaw rivalry become very personal now that it’s friend versus friend, and father versus son.”

9-1-1 (Season 4 premiere Global, Fox 7pmCT/8ET) “In the upcoming third season, the first responders are called to action when a massive tsunami hits Santa Monica. Having suffered injuries while on the job last season, Buck struggles in rejoining the team, while a modern-day mystery unfolds as Athena reflects back on how she became a policewoman. The provocative series stars Academy and Emmy Award nominee Angela Bassett, Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Peter Krause and Golden Globe nominee Jennifer Love Hewitt. Additionally, Oliver Stark, Aisha Hinds, Kenneth Choi, Rockmond Dunbar and Ryan Guzman are featured in series regular roles. Additionally, WWE superstar Ronda Rousey joins the series in a recurring role.”

9-1-1: Lone Star (Season 2 premiere Fox CTV 8pmCT/9ET) “Actress Gina Torres (“Suits,” “Pearson,” “Firefly”) joins Season Two of 9-1-1: LONE STAR (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) as Captain TOMMY VEGA. But even as CPT. OWEN STRAND (Rob Lowe) welcomes Vega to the 126, he must face the unexpected arrival of his ex-wife, Gwyneth (recurring guest star Lisa Edelstein, “House”), who visits Austin to check on their firefighter son, T.K. (Ronen Rubinstein), following the injuries he sustained at the end of last season. All of this occurs as the rescue squad must deal with an emergency that the Texas capital has never encountered before.  The series also stars Jim Parrack, Sierra McClain, Natacha Karam, Brian Michael Smith, Rafael Silva and Julian Works.”

The Wipers Times (premiere Acorn) “Based on the remarkable true story of a satirical newspaper published on the front lines of WWI, this BAFTA-nominated poignant yet comedic drama revels in the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity. Starring Ben Chaplin, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Michael Palin, and Steve Oram. (Movie, 2013)”

Danger UXB (premiere Acorn) “Titled after the shorthand term for “danger–unexploded bomb,” this gripping 13-part ITV series is about the men who served as part of a bomb disposal military unit during WWII.  It was created and produced by John Hawkesworth (Upstairs Downstairs) and stars Anthony Andrews (King’s Speech) as unit leader Lieutenant Brian Ash. Each hour-long episode follows the adventures of the Company who were based in Southeast London, showing the pressures, the problems, the horrors and the heartbreaks as the officers tackle one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs of the war under often quite appalling conditions.  The stories cover the Blitz, the struggles with the newer and more awkward types of bomb and the clearing of mines and coastal defenses before D-Day.  They follow the Company’s personal lives too, showing how the stresses and strains of their job affect their relationships with the wives and sweethearts who watch, wait and hope.”

Nothing Trivial (Series 3 + Finale Acorn) “This warm, light-hearted New Zealand romantic drama from the creators of Outrageous Fortune centers on five very different, attractive characters in their 30s and 40s, who have one thing in common – they are all unhappy or unlucky in love. The series is about broken hearts, second chances and starting over at 40 and beyond, as the five protagonists answer weekly pub trivia questions about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Starring Shane Cortese (Outrageous Fortune), Tandi Wright (800 Words), Blair Strang (Go Girls), Nicole Whippy (Shortland Street) and Debbie Newby-Ward (Shortland Street).”

Tuesday Jan. 19

Kim’s Convenience (Season 5 premiere CBC 7pmCT/8ET, CBC Gem ) “Umma’s new parking pass gives Appa an idea. Janet searches for more meaningful work. Shannon’s mixup leads to an awkward situation for the Handy staff.”

The Night Caller (series premiere Sundance Now) “depicts and explores the true story of 1960s Perth, Australian serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke, and the shattered families that are still seeking answers to this day. In the early 1960s, Perth was a peaceful city, until it was suddenly devastated by a spate of disparate, seemingly senseless killings. The residents became convinced that there was a serial killer on the loose, and the press fanned the flames by nicknaming him ‘The Night Caller.’ However, the local police failed to connect and attribute the murders to one man until it was far too late. With unprecedented access to the killer’s wife and the two men wrongly convicted of his crimes, creator and director Thomas Meadmore explores the devastating aftermath of a serial murderer. Throughout the series, he uncovers how the community and those affected have come together through grief to pursue closure, redemption and finally hold the police accountable.”

Wednesday Jan. 20

Riverdale (Season 5 debut CW 7pmCT, Netflix next day) “Season 5 will begin with our characters’ final days as students at Riverdale High. From an epic senior prom to a bittersweet graduation, there are a lot of emotional moments and goodbyes yet to come—with some couples breaking up, as everyone goes their separate ways to college—or elsewhere. Then, we will redock with our gang as young adults, all returning to Riverdale to escape their troubled pasts. And life—and romance—will only be more complicated now that they’re in their 20s…”

Nancy Drew (Season 2premiere on W 8pmCT/9ET) “Season two of Nancy Drew follows the iconic detective as she solves mysteries – both earthbound and supernatural – in her haunted hometown of Horseshoe Bay, Maine. Nancy (Kennedy McMann) leads a sleuthing team of unlikely friends: George Fan (Leah Lewis), whose clairvoyant heritage will emerge through her encounters with the paranormal; Bess Marvin (Maddison Jaizani), a con artist and heiress with multiple lady admirers; Ned “Nick” Nickerson (Tunji Kasim), Nancy’s ex and George’s boyfriend, a gifted mechanic with a tragic past; and philosophical slacker Ace (Alex Saxon), whose computer-hacking skills have caused secret troubles that will soon be exposed.”

C.B. Strike: Lethal White (season premiere 9pmCT/10ET Crave, Crave app) “In the grips of psychosis, a young man named Billy Knight (Joseph Quinn, CATHERINE THE GREAT) arrives in private detective Cormoran Strike’s (Tom Burke, THE MUSKETEERS) office telling the story of a child he saw strangled many years ago. Strike is simultaneously hired by government minister Jasper Chiswell (Robert Glenister, Live by Night) to investigate Billy’s brother, Jimmy Knight (Nick Blood, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.), who is blackmailing him. As Strike and his partner Robin (Holliday Grainger, PATRICK MELROSE) work to determine how the cases might be connected, Robin goes undercover in the House of Commons. The series follows a weekly release schedule, with new episodes premiering Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.”

Daughter From Another Mother (Spanish-language series premiere Netflix) “After realizing their babies were exchanged at birth, two women develop a plan to adjust to their new lives: creating a single —and peculiar— family. Starring Ludwika Paleta, Paulina Goto, Martín Altomaro.”

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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