By the way, happy Valentine. Also: Bah humbug. All of TV is my boyfriend this week, but especially Stanley Tucci and the kilted men of Outlander on the lam. Pressing play and really meaning it. Hmmm. That sounded creepy, but I meant well.
Sunday Feb. 14
Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy (series premiere 8pmCT/9ET CNN) “is a six-part CNN Original Series that follows Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci as he travels across Italy to discover the secrets and delights of the country’s regional cuisines. Viewers will go along with him as he enjoys the luxurious creamy carbonara of Rome, the delicious simplicity of Sicily’s pasta alla Norma, the saffron-infused silkiness of risotto in Milan, the crispy tenderness of bistecca alla fiorentina, the perfect classic ragu alla bolognese and the world’s best pizza in Naples. Tucci comes prepared with a bottomless appetite for it all, showing us how the diversity of Italian cooking offers a gateway through which you can glimpse Italy’s history and culture.”
Your Honor (season finale 9pmCT/10ET Crave, Crave app) “Fresh off Bryan Cranston’s Golden Globe nomination last week … Adam (Hunter Doohan, TRUTH BE TOLD) reels from new information about his mother’s death. Eugene (Benjamin Flores Jr., GAME SHAKERS) tries to get justice for his family. Carlo’s (Jimi Stanton, Greyhound) trial comes to an end, but Michael (Cranston) and Adam’s secrets are dangerously unraveling.”
The Great North (returns after the sneak peek in January at 6:30pmCT/7:30ET on Citytv and an hour later on Fox) “Follow the Alaskan adventures of the Tobin family, as a single dad, Beef, does his best to keep his weird bunch of kids close – especially his only daughter, Judy, whose artistic dreams lead her away from the family fishing boat and into the glamorous world of the local mall. Rounding out the family are Judy’s older brother, Wolf, and his fiancé, Honeybee, her middle brother, Ham, and ten-year-old-going-on-fifty little brother, Moon. While their mother is not in the picture, Judy seeks guidance from her new boss, Alyson, and her imaginary friend, Alanis Morissette, who appears to her in the northern lights. ”
Second Jen (Season 3 premiere on OMNI) “jumps back into the frenzied friendship of Jennifer “Jen” Wu (Samantha Wan) and Jennifer “Mo” Monteloyola (Amanda Joy) to explore hot-button themes including female empowerment, corporate diversity initiatives, intimacy and relationships, and family therapy from an authentic and hilarious point-of-view.”
Lincoln: Divided We Stand (series premiere 9pmCT/10ET CNN) “is a six-part CNN Original Series that takes a holistic approach to the remarkable and unexpected story of Abraham Lincoln by delving into his complicated inner world, seamlessly interweaving his tragic personal life with his history making political career. Through a mix of expert interviews, cinematic recreations, rare artifacts, and never before broadcast photos and letters, LINCOLN: DIVIDED WE STAND will take viewers on a transcendent journey into the life and times of this iconic U.S. president.”
Little Birds (series premiere 8pmCT/9ET Starz, Crave app) “The TV adaptation of Anais Nin’s infamous collection of erotic short stories … follows the story of heiress Lucy Savage (Juno Temple, Maleficent) as she arrives in Tangier hoping to find an unconventional life free from the societal restrictions she has had to follow her entire life. Now, she finds herself seeking the independence she desires. The series also stars, Yumna Marwan and Hugh Skinner (FLEABAG). LITTLE BIRDS follows a weekly release schedule, with new episodes dropping Sundays on STARZ.”
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Season 8 premiere 10pmCT/11ET HBO Crave app) At last! “Comedian John Oliver satirically covers the week in news, politics and current events in this Emmy®-winning variety series.”
Great Canadian Baking Show (Season 4 premiere 8pmCT/9ET on CBC CBC Gem) “will be hosted by comedians, actors, writers and Second City alumni Alan Shane Lewis and Ann Pornel. Esteemed pastry chefs Bruno Feldeisen and Kyla Kennaley return to the judge’s table to sample the bakers’ best offerings. The 10 bakers to cheer/jeer:
Anjali Helferty, 36, a recent PhD grad from Toronto, ON
Bertie Diaz, 54, a corporate travel agent from Toronto, ON
Dominike Audet, 42, a radio host and novelist from Québec, QC
Larry Harris, 53, a business operations manager from Edmonton, AB
Maggie Frith, 42, a stay-at-home mom and former lawyer from Toronto, ON
Mahathi Mundluru, 24, a business analyst from Markham, ON
Oyaks Airende, 28, a project scheduler and engineer from Calgary, AB
Raufikat Oyawoye, 35, an IT support engineer from Milton, ON
Sheldon Lynn, 25, a software developer from Vancouver, BC
Tanner Davies, 28, a marketing consultant from Winnipeg, MB
Belgravia (series premiere 9pmCT/10ET CBC, CBC Gem) “On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo two young lovers forge a legacy that will create scandal for generations to come. Years later, when the humble Trenchards (Tamsin Greig and Philip Glenister) move to Belgravia, they find themselves mixing with the venerated Brockenhursts (Harriet Walter and Tom Wilkinson). The families share a history that threatens inheritances and reputations; and there are those who would do anything to ensure secrets remain buried. Pride and loyalty will be tested, as forbidden love blossoms amongst the rivalry and lives hang in the balance.”
Monday Feb. 15
The Crew (series premiere Netflix) “stars Kevin James as a NASCAR crew chief for the fictional Bobby Spencer Racing team. When the owner steps down and passes the team off to his daughter Catherine (Jillian Mueller), James has to protect himself and his crew from her attempts to modernize the team. Freddie Stroma, Sarah Stiles, Gary Anthony Williams and Dan Ahdoot also star, Paris Berelc and Bruce McGill guest star. Jeff Lowell (The Ranch, Two and a Half Men, Spin City) will serve as writer, showrunner and executive producer. Andy Fickman (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Playing With Fire) directed all episodes and serves as an executive producer. James, Jeff Sussman (The King of Queens, Paul Blart) and Todd Garner (Tag, Isn’t It Romantic, Mortal Kombat) will also serve as executive producers. Matt Summers and Tim Clark will executive produce for NASCAR. ”
The Circuit (Series 1 and 2 premiere Acorn) “This riveting drama series follows a magistrate and an entourage of court officers and lawyers on a regular five-day round-trip to dispense justice to the remote communities of north Western Australia. It’s a tough gig for anyone, but for newly-hired Aboriginal lawyer Drew Ellis (Aaron Pedersen,Mystery Road) who had a white upbringing and has a white wife, it’s a rude awakening as he quickly comes to realise that one law for the black and white communities, does not always equal a fair go. More importantly, Drew begins to learn about himself, and begins a journey of self-discovery, allowing him to finally acknowledge his heritage and the family he never knew. But at what cost?”
Tuesday Feb. 16
Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham (travel series premiere Global TV app, Stack app. Note: ignore the confusing promotions for this show coming to Starz, bc only Starz U.S. is showing it) Outlander fans will already know this is coming. BUT NOW IT IS HERE! “Get ready for the greatest road trip ever attempted without pants. Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham premieres this Valentine’s Day on STARZ. The journey of “Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham” takes viewers from the heart of Scotland at Glencoe, the site of a great massacre and major clan feud to Inverness and the Culloden battlefield, the site of a great battle and historic turning point, known well to fans of “Outlander,” that molded Scotland as we know it today.”
Working’ Moms (Season 5 premiere 8pmCT/9ET) is moving on from S4’s chronicling of “Kate and Nathan’s rocky yet recovering marriage to Frankie’s ever-growing family and Jenny’s fight for equal pay. And who could forget the cliffhanger that saw Anne packing up the family and heading out west?” Mothers gone wild returns. I hope the revolution has a well-stocked open bar.
TallBoyz (Season 2 premieres CBC, CBC Gem) The sketch comedy show explores “everything from roommates who neglect their chores to the challenges of fatherhood. Measuring in at 25’2” collectively, Guled Abdi, Vance Banzo, Tim Blair and Franco Nguyen return to jab at popular culture from a very tall point of view. This season’s sketches range from silly, absurdist themes, like a love song for bike couriers or rearing an oil barrel, to hard hitting examinations of power, privilege, racism, blackface and of course, spicy food.”
Young Rock (series premiere 7pmCT/8ET on NBC and Citytv) This origin-story sitcom “focuses on different chapters of Dwayne [The Rock] Johnson’s life. From growing up in a strong and resilient family, to being surrounded by the wild characters of his professional wrestling family, to playing football at the University of Miami, the show will explore the crazy rollercoaster that has shaped Dwayne into the man he is today and the larger-than-life characters he’s met along the way.”
Kenan (series premiere 7:31pmCT/8:31ET on NBC and Citytv) The SNL veteran stars in this sitcom, in which “a recently widowed host of Atlanta’s #2 morning show struggles to balance his job and his young daughters despite all the “help” he gets from his father-in-law and his brother/manager/house guest.” Also stars fellow SNLer Chris Redd, Kimrie Lewis, Dani Lane, Dannah Lane and Don Johnson.”
Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie (interactive special premiere Netflix) BEAR baby!
“Bear Grylls returns with … an exciting 90 minute interactive movie for the whole family. The protective fence surrounding a wildlife sanctuary has mysteriously suffered a breach, and now animals are on the loose. Bear is called in to help rescue a mischievous baboon, track down a hungry lion, and fix the fence before any more animals get out. Three urgent missions await you with only so much time and Bear needs your help. With the possibility of completing a secret mission, each decision impacts this interactive adventure, so make your choices count!”
The Black Church: This is Our Story, This Is Our Song (documentary miniseries premiere 8pmCT/9ET PBS) “Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of African American religion beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the extraordinary ways enslaved Africans preserved and adapted their faith practices from the brutality of slavery to emancipation.” Part 2 follows Feb. 17.
Wednesday Feb. 17
Amend: The Fight for America (six-part docuseries premiere on Netflix) “explores the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – which, in 1868, promised liberty and equal protection for all persons – as America’s most enduring hallmark of democracy. Amend deploys a groundbreaking narrative format featuring a number of luminaries (Mahershala Ali, Diane Lane, Samuel L. Jackson, Pedro Pascal, Yara Shahidi, and more) breathing life into speeches and writings by the Fourteenth Amendment’s most ardent advocates and foes (including Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Andrew Johnson) with insights from an inclusive array of contemporary thought leaders and experts. Executive produced and hosted by Oscar-nominated actor Will Smith and Emmy-winning writer Larry Wilmore, Amend is a powerful, multimedia journey through American history that encourages viewers to question what a “United States” really means.”
Miss Juneteenth (movie premiere 8pmCT/9ET Crave, Crave app) “The story follows a former beauty queen and single mother as she prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant. The critically acclaimed film, written and directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples (Queen Sugar), stars Nicole Beharie (42), Kendrick Sampson (HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER), and introducing Alexis Chikaeze.”
Behind Her Eyes (premiere Netflix) “Simona Brown plays Louise, a single mother who has an affair with her psychiatrist boss David (Tom Bateman). Her life takes a strange turn when she later befriends his wife Adele (Eve Hewson), and she finds herself caught in a web of secrets and lies where nothing is what it seems. Also starring Robert Aramayo, Behind Her Eyes is produced by Left Bank Pictures (The Crown) and written by Steve Lightfoot and Angela LaManna, based on the best-selling novel by Sarah Pinborough.”
Hello, Me! (series premiere Netflix) “Miserable and unsuccessful, a woman thinks she’s lost all her spark — until one day, her spunky younger self appears in front of her demanding change.”
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.