TV Jan. 21-23: Walker, Riverdale, Legacies, Call My Agent, Blown Away, White Tiger, Painting with John (Lurie), Losing Alice, The Blacklist, Love ft. Marriage & Divorce, 76 Days, Busted

President Joe is now on the job. Breathe a sigh of relief. … through your mask. We’re not out of the woods yet. But TV will never let you down.

Thursday Jan 21

Walker (series premiere CW 7pmCT) Jared Padalecki (Supernatural, Gilmore Girls) stars in this reboot of Chuck Norris’s Walker, Texas Ranger, playing Cordell Walker, a widower and father of two who returns home to Austin after being undercover for two years. Things have changed.

Riverdale (Season 5 debut Netflix with new episodes every Thursday, following the Wednesday showings on the CW) “Bett and Jughead’s investigation into the auteur leads them to the discovery of a secret underground for red-band screenings; Archie agrees to participate in a boxing exhibition against KO Kelly.”

Legacies (Season 3 premiere Showcase 8pmCT/9ET) What’s this about a medieval monster? “Set in The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young & Gifted, and within “The Vampire Diaries” universe, Legacies tells the ongoing story of a new generation of supernatural students. As season three begins, Hope has risked everything to pull her friends back from the brink of a monstrous prophecy that threatened to doom them all. But when a heartbreaking loss shatters her whole world, Hope Mikaelson will be forced to fight fate itself.”

Call My Agent (Series 4 premiere Netflix) “At a top Paris talent firm, agents scramble to keep their star clients happy — and their business afloat — after an unexpected crisis. César Award winners Nathalie Baye, François Berléand and Cécile de France top a list of accomplished guest stars.”

Friday Jan. 22

Blown Away (Season 2 premiere Netflix) “Ten master artists turn up the heat in glassblowing sculpture challenges for the chance to win $60,000 in prizes and the title of champion.”

The White Tiger (premiere Netflix) “Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) narrates his epic and darkly humorous rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India. Cunning and ambitious, our young hero jockeys his way into becoming a driver for Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and Pinky (Priyanka Chopra-Jonas), who have just returned from America. Society has trained Balram to be one thing — a servant — so he makes himself indispensable to his rich masters. But after a night of betrayal, he realizes the corrupt lengths they will go to trap him and save themselves. On the verge of losing everything, Balram rebels against a rigged and unequal system to rise up and become a new kind of master. Based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel.”

Painting With John (series premiere 10pm CT/11ET HBO, then Crave app) The “new unscripted series written, directed by, and starring John Lurie, is part meditative tutorial, part fireside chat. Each episode has Lurie, the co-founder of musical group The Lounge Lizards, at his worktable, honing his watercolor techniques and sharing what he’s learned about life. With images of Lurie’s paintings, original music and his point of view all rolled into one, the series strikes an irreverent tone while reminding us to prioritize some time every day for creativity, fun and a bit of mischief.” If you don’t know it already, you might also be interested in the cult fave Fishing with John, another meditative series in which non-fisherman Lurie hosts some interesting celebrity guests in his boat, including Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe and collaborators Jim Jarmusch and Tom Waits (Down by Law, essential viewing). I had no trouble finding episodes on YouTube, but it’s also done up right on Criterion DVDs.

Losing Alice (series premiere Apple TV+) “is a thrilling cinematic journey that uses flashbacks and flash-forwards in a satisfyingly complex narrative that takes the viewer through the conscious and subconscious of its protagonist’s mind. The series follows Alice (played by Ayelet Zurer), a 48-year-old female film director, who feels irrelevant since raising her family. After a brief encounter on the train, she becomes obsessed with a 24-year-old screenwriter femme fatale, Sophie (played by Lihi Kornowski), and eventually surrenders her moral integrity in order to achieve power, relevance and success. Through the prism of this female Faust, the series explores issues such as jealousy, guilt, fear of aging, and the complex relationships women have among themselves and each other. But above all, “Losing Alice” is a love letter for the still-too-rare female director.”

The Blacklist (Season 8 premiere NBC 7pmCT Global 8pmCT) “With his back against the wall, Raymond Reddington (James Spader) faces his most formidable enemy yet: Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). Aligned with her mother, infamous Russian spy Katarina Rostova, Liz must decide how far she is willing to go to find out why Reddington has entered her life and what his endgame really is. The fallout between Reddington and Keen will have devastating consequences for all that lie in their wake, including the Task Force they helped to create.  ”

Love ft. Marriage & Divorce (premiere Netflix) “Everything comes unraveling for three successful women who work on a radio show as twists, turns and troubles plague their seemingly happy marriages.”

76 Days (free* VOD documentary) *Free for a one-day window but you have to register to screen this documentary about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. *Free AND when you register (in North America), MTV Documenary Films will donate $5 to your local cinema. Go to 76daysfilm.com/watch to get your ticket. I just got mine.

Busted (Season 3 premiere Netflix) “A hilarious panel of Korean entertainment icons team up with some of the biggest names in K-Drama in this madcap whodunit variety show. More “Keystone Cops” than “Sherlock Holmes,” each episode sees our cast of bumbling detectives solve a different mystery based on vignettes presented by famous Korean actors and comedians. An overarching plot unfolds throughout the series, and the tension mounts as the panel edges closer to the awful truth.”

Fate: The Winx Saga (premiere Netflix) “follows the coming-of-age journey of five fairies attending Alfea, a magical boarding school in the Otherworld where they must learn to master their powers while navigating love, rivalries, and the monsters that threaten their very existence. From creator Brian Young (The Vampire Diaries), Fate: The Winx Saga is a live-action reimagining of the Italian cartoon Winx Club from Iginio Straffi.”

d2tvblog@gmail.com

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. Thanks for reading.

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