TV Feb. 18-20: Gespe’gewa’gi: The Last Land, Rock Solid Builds, For All Mankind, It’s a Sin, Tell Me Your Secrets, Flora & Ulysses, I Care a Lot, Tribes of Europa, Bridgerton hunk and Bad Bunny on SNL

Thank goodness it’s too cold / snowy / dangerous to go outside. There’s too much TV for me to fit actual people into my schedule. Even so, not quite enough TV for some. If you, like me, are desperate to watch AT ANY PRICE the critically acclaimed Frances McDormand movie Nomadland, which premieres in the U.S. this weekend on Hulu, we’ll have to wait until April. Bah. TAKE MY MONEY! BAH.

Catching up

Gespe’gewa’gi: The Last Land (new series Saturday 6pmCT/8ET on APTN, aptn.ca) Characters! High seas action! Historical context! Apologies for forgetting to flag this new doc series, but we can all catch up now at aptn.ca before the second episode on Saturday. “[It’s] is a fun and exciting documentary series about the Mi’gmaq Indigenous men and women of Listuguj, QC who make their living on the nearby rivers and ocean fishing for salmon, crab, lobster, and shrimp. Following larger-than-life characters, we experience the fun and exciting lives on and off the water. We also get an inside perspective on how the Indigenous commercial fishing industry that was born out of violence and defiance grew to be a key economic and cultural support for the community, helping to preserve Mi’gmaq language and traditions that was almost lost.” This series, from RezolutionPictures, is being broadcast in English and Mi’gmaq.

Thursday Feb. 18

Rock Solid Builds (series premiere HGTV 9pmCT/10ET) The pandemic makes for strange bedfellows and by bedfellows I mean the only people I see for days on end are the adorable couple Ben and Erin rebuilding the city of Laurel, Mississippi’s heritage homes (ok shacks in some cases) in Home Town, the Property Brothers in all their guises and the mother and daughter on Good Bones. So I couldn’t resist the opportunity to remind you of this new Canadian series to check out on HGTV. Bumph: “Rock Solid Builds takes viewers to Newfoundland where third-generation builder Randy Spracklin and his team battle the island’s rugged terrain and notoriously harsh weather to pull off historic renos and jaw-dropping builds. Set against breathtaking views of ‘the Rock’, it’s a year-round labour of love as these proud islanders do whatever it takes to get the job done. There are plenty of laughs and pranks along the way. And from spectacular new homes on the coast to loving restorations of centuries-old properies, Randy and his crew showcase the unique charm of living and working on the extreme eastern edge of North America.”

Friday Feb. 19

For All Mankind (Season 2 premiere) “Season 2 of the space drama picks up a decade later in 1983. It’s the height of the Cold War and tensions between the United States and the USSR are at their peak. Ronald Reagan is president and the greater ambitions of science and space exploration are at threat of being squandered as the US and Soviets go head-to-head to control sites rich in resources on the moon. The Department of Defense has moved into Mission Control, and the militarization of NASA becomes central to several characters’ stories: some fight it, some use it as an opportunity to advance their own interests, and some find themselves at the height of a conflict that may lead to nuclear war. The 10-episode second season will debut globally with the first episode on Friday, February 19, 2021, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday, exclusively on Apple TV+. New stars set to join Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt, Jodi Balfour, Krys Marshall and Sonya Walger in the second season include: Cynthy Wu (Holidate, Before I Fall, American Vandal) as Kelly, an astronaut’s daughter. Coral Peña (Chemical Hearts, The Post) as adult Aleida Rosales, who we met in Season 1. Casey W. Johnson (GLOW, Rise) as Danny Stevens, the son of astronauts Gordo (Dorman) and Tracy (Jones).”

It’s A Sin (series premiere Amazon Prime Video) If you watched AND LOVED RIGHT? the HBO drama Years and Years, which looked forward through the eyes of an extended UK family to a terrifying future, then here’s this next thing from Russell T. Davies (who also worked on the U.S. Queer as Folk): “Ritchie (Olly Alexander), Roscoe (Omari Douglas) and Colin (Callum Scott Howells) are young lads, leaving home at 18 and heading off to London in 1981 with hope, ambition and joy … and walking straight into a virus that most of the world ignores.”

Tell Me Your Secrets (series premiere Amazon Prime Video) “is a complex thriller revolving around three characters, each with troubling pasts clouding their interesting motives: fEmma (Lily Rabe) is a young woman who once loved a dangerous killer, John (Hamish Linklater) is a former serial predatory desperate for redemption, and a grieving mother Mary (Amy Brenneman) who is obsessed with finder her missing daughter.”

Flora & Ulysses (series premiere Disney+) “is a delightful comedy-adventure based on the Newbery Award-winning book about 10-year old Flora, an avid comic book fan and a self-avowed cynic, whose parents have recently separated. After rescuing a squirrel she names Ulysses, Flora is amazed to discover he possesses unique superhero powers which take them on an adventure of humorous complications that ultimately change Flora’s life–and her outlook–forever.”

I Care a Lot (movie premiere Amazon Prime Video) I cannot wait for this movie, which is premiering in the U.S. on Netflix. Bumph: “Poised with sharklike self-assurance, Marla Grayson is a professional, court-appointed guardian for dozens of elderly wards whose assets she seizes and cunningly bilks through dubious but legal means. It’s a well-oiled racket that Marla and her business-partner and lover, Fran, use with brutal efficiency on their latest “cherry,” Jennifer Peterson – a wealthy retiree with no living heirs or family. But when their mark turns out to have an equally shady secret of her own and connections to a volatile gangster, Marla is forced to level up in a game only predators can play – one that’s neither fair, nor square. Stars: Rosamund Pike, Eiza González, Dianne Wiest, Peter Dinklage.”

Tribes of Europa (series premiere Netflix) “2074. In the wake of a mysterious global disaster, war rages between the Tribes that have emerged from the wreckage of Europe. Three siblings from the peaceful Origines tribe – Kiano (Emilio Sakraya), Liv (Henriette Confurius) and Elja (David Ali Rashed) – are separated and forced to forge their own paths in an action-packed fight for the future of this new Europa. Tribes of Europa premieres on Netflix on February 19, 2021.”

Saturday Feb. 20

Saturday Night Live (10:30pmCT/11:30ET Global NBC, Global TV app) Bridgerton fans gather round! “Regé-Jean Page (aka Duke Simon Bassett on the crazy popular period soap on Netflix) will make his SNL hosting debut. Page … is currently nominated for a SAG Award and NAACP Image Award. Bad Bunny will perform as musical guest for the first time. His latest album, “El Ultimo Tour del Mundo,” debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and he is currently nominated for two Grammy Awards.”

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.

2 thoughts on “TV Feb. 18-20: Gespe’gewa’gi: The Last Land, Rock Solid Builds, For All Mankind, It’s a Sin, Tell Me Your Secrets, Flora & Ulysses, I Care a Lot, Tribes of Europa, Bridgerton hunk and Bad Bunny on SNL

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  1. As a proud member of Film Independent, I get early access to stuff so I can vote (I think that’s why–I just joined) so I can see I Care A Lot now. Not bragging. (totally bragging)

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