TV Feb. 7-10: The Equalizer, Holmes Family Effect, Black Lightning, Balthazar, Muse of Fire, Love My Way, Goin’ Back to T-Town, Black Art: In the Absence of Light, Tough as Nails, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, The Misadventures of Hedi and Cokeman

Super Bowl Sunday was, even for me, a great party with friends who knew way more about football than I did. And who brought great food and allowed me in the pool even though my guesswork was based on no-thing at all. The game goes on this year, but no parties. RIGHT??? Seriously, you can wait. Please wait. Next year we will make up for it! But at least I won’t have to drive home to catch the after-Bowl series premiere with Queen Latifah!

Sunday Feb. 7

The Equalizer (series premiere after the Super Bowl CBS Global 9ishpmCT/10ishET) Edward Woodward started the character in the TV series, Denzel Washington carried it onto the big screen, now Queen Latifah is anchoring it in a woman’s perspective, back on the tell. She plays “Robyn McCall, an enigmatic woman with a mysterious background who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn. McCall presents to most as an average single mom who is quietly raising her teenage daughter. But to a trusted few, she is The Equalizer – an anonymous guardian angel and defender of the downtrodden, who’s also dogged in her pursuit of personal redemption. Andrew Marlowe, Terri Miller, Dana Owens (Queen Latifah), John Davis, John Fox, Debra Martin Chase, Richard Lindheim (co-creator of the original “Equalizer” TV series that ran on CBS for four seasons).”

Holmes Family Effect (series premiere after the Super Bowl 9ishpmCT/10ishET CTV) “follows TV icon and professional contractor [Mike] Holmes, his daughter Sherry, and son Michael, as they tackle their most important renovation projects to date. Inspired by those who are making a difference in their communities, each episode sees the Holmes family surprising deserving people by transforming their spaces, from schools, to youth centres, and more. “When I first sat down and talked to CTV, and we together came up with a television show idea, this one really struck a bell with me,” Holmes said. “For years on our shows, we’ve been helping one family at a time and saving lives, but his time around, HOLMES FAMILY EFFECT is helping whole communities. It was huge to do, it wasn’t small, we took on a lot of big projects. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping one family at a time, because education is such a big part of it. But this was a new thing to do that just felt so right.” In the first episode of HOLMES FAMILY EFFECT – which begins at approximately 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, depending on when SUPER BOWL LV wraps up – a hard-working and truly inspirational student named Riley nominates her high school in Brampton, Ont., for a much-needed makeover to the home-renovation classrooms. It’s a real feel-good story, and there weren’t many dry eyes at the end of the episode.”

Monday Feb. 8

Black Lightning (Season 4 premiere 8pmCT/9ET PIX/CW) “Jefferson Pierce is still mourning the death of his long-time friend, Detective Henderson; Gambi is presented with an interesting opportunity; Lynn and Jefferson continue to clash.”

Balthazar (Series 3 premiere Acorn) “The suave, clever and slightly strange forensic pathologist Raphaël Balthazar (Tomer Sisley, Messiah, The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch) returns in this highly-viewed and acclaimed French mystery drama, where he helps make the dead speak like no one else to solve Paris’ most disturbing crimes. Compared favorably to Castle, The Mentalist and Bones, this procedural picks up the action six months following the tragic consequences of his investigation into the murder of his wife, Lise, over a dozen years ago. He and chief inspector Hélène Bach (Hélène de Fougerolles, Le Secret d’Elise, VA Savoir) team up to tackle darker cases this season, including victims treated as guinea pigs by a mad scientist, an evil, psychopathic clown who kills randomly, and a mysterious island that hides many secrets.”

Muse of Fire: A Shakespearean Road Movie (premiere Acorn) “As schoolboys, Giles Terera and Dan Poole were made to feel that Shakespeare wasn’t for them – as actors, they now feel very differently. This documentary follows them over the course of four years on their extraordinary journey around the world trying to get to the heart of the greatest storyteller of all. Along the way, they meet acting royalty, including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, Ralph Fiennes, and Jude Law.”

Love My Way (Acorn) “This Australian primetime drama centers on a thirtysomething woman (Claudia Karvan, Spirited) who negotiates the web of contemporary relationships, while juggling the priorities of family obligations. 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). (10 EPS, 2004-2005).” Series 2 on Feb. 22.

American Experience: Goin’ Back to T-Town (PBS 8pmCT/9ET) Ossie Davis narrates “the story of Greenwood, an extraordinary Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that prospered during the 1920s and 30s despite rampant and hostile segregation. Torn apart in 1921 by one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in the nation’s history, the neighborhood rose from the ashes, and by 1936 boasted the largest concentration of Black-owned businesses in the U.S., known as “Black Wall Street.” Ironically, it could not survive the progressive policies of integration and urban renewal of the 1960s. Told through the memories of those who lived through the events, the film is a bittersweet celebration of small-town life and the resilience of a community’s spirit.”

Tuesday Feb. 9

Black Art: In the Absence of Light (documentary premiere 8pmCT/9ET HBO, Crave app) “is directed and produced by award-winning documentarian Sam Pollard (HBO’s ATLANTA MISSING AND MURDERED: THE LOST CHILDREN). A vital and illuminating introduction to the work of some of the foremost African American visual artists working today, including Theaster Gates, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Amy Sherald, and Carrie Mae Weems, the film is a testament to the indelible contributions of Black American artists in today’s contemporary art world. BLACK ART: IN THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT is executive produced by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Thelma Golden serves as consulting producer.”

Wednesday Feb. 10

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (series premiere Netflix) “From director Joe Berlinger (CONVERSATIONS WITH A KILLER: THE TED BUNDY TAPES, PARADISE LOST), [this] is the first season in a new documentary series that deconstructs the mythology and mystery surrounding infamous locations in contemporary crime. For nearly a century the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles has been linked to some of the city’s most notorious activity, from untimely deaths to housing serial killers. In 2013 college student Elisa Lam was staying at the Cecil when she vanished, igniting a media frenzy and mobilizing a global community of internet sleuths eager to solve the case. Lam’s disappearance, the latest chapter in the hotel’s complex history, offers a chilling and captivating lens into one of LA’s most nefarious settings.”

Tough As Nails (Season 2 premiere 7pmCT/8ET CBS Global) The competition show returns to challenge a dozen more people to wo/man up.

The Misadventures of Hedi and Cokeman (series premiere Netflix) “In Paris, two dysfunctional dealers use family ties to try to boost their small drug business in this crass comedy based on the webseries. Starring: Hedi Bouchenafa, Nassim Lyes, Fred Testot.”

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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