I don’t know about you, but in Winnipeg it’s … 1 C (YES, above zero!) and 5 p.m. and the sun has yet to set. Factor in catching up with friends in Winnipeg and my second home of Montreal and it’s a pretty good damn COVID-era day. AND there’s new TV to share. I hope your day has a few blessings of its own. If not, call me. I’ll talk you up. Promise. But for now, onward to new TV!
How did I miss Woman in Motion (Crave app)? “Nichelle Nichols’ daunting task to launch a national blitz for NASA, recruiting 8,000 of the nation’s best and brightest, including the trailblazing astronauts who became the first African American, Asian and Latino men and women to fly in space.” Ms Nichols, as may also be the case for some of you as well, was first known to me as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek (etc etc). Or perhaps you, too, thought you had spied her anew as Lady Danbury in the sexed-up costume drama Bridgerton (Netflix)? No, just me? Anyway, it was not dear Ms Nichols but rather Adjoa Andoh (British actor also seen in Doctor Who).
Sunday Feb. 21
Allen v. Farrow (documentary premiere 8pmCT/9ET HBO Crave app) “from award-winning investigative filmmakers Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering and Amy Herdy, is a four-part documentary series that goes behind decades of sensational headlines to reveal the private story of one of Hollywood’s most notorious and public scandals: the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then seven-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow; their subsequent custody trial, the revelation of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi; and the controversial aftermath in the years that followed. Once celebrated for their on and off-screen partnership, Farrow and Allen’s lives were irrevocably fractured and their sprawling family torn apart with the public disclosure of the abuse allegations and the vitriolic disputes that followed. … This gripping series interweaves new investigative work – meticulously pieced together via intimate home movie footage, court documents, police evidence, revelatory videotape and never-before-heard audio tapes – with exclusive, in-depth interviews on the subject with Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow, Ronan Farrow, family friend Carly Simon, prosecutor Frank Maco, relatives, investigators, experts and other first-hand eyewitnesses – many of them speaking publicly about the events for the first time. The series also includes prominent cultural voices exploring Allen’s body of work in a broader context and reflecting on how public revelations about the personal lives of artists can lead to re-evaluations of their work. ALLEN v. FARROW includes an intimate look at Farrow and Allen’s charmed courtship and emergence as one of Hollywood’s power couples, making thirteen influential films together over a decade. Over time, Allen becoming a father figure to Farrow’s children as well as their shared children. Yet, threaded throughout all of their professional success and personal achievements there were dark undercurrents at play. ALLEN v. FARROW examines the shattering effects of trauma on a family and is a haunting depiction of the skepticism and backlash that can result from an accusation.”
Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine (docuseries premiere Crave 9pmCT/10ET, Crave app) “profiling hip-hop artist Tekashi 6ix9ine’s epic rise to notoriety and spectacular fall to convicted criminal. … New episodes roll out weekly on Crave linear (TV speak for … um old TV? broadcast TV? cable TV? not internet, anyway.), Sundays at 10 p.m. ET through March 7, while the entire three-part series begins streaming on Crave (app) February 21. In the three-part series, director Karam Gill (Ice Cold, G-Funk) examines manufactured celebrity through the lens of 6ix9ine’s controversial artistry, personal demons and mastery of social media, as a reflection of our times and the complicity of culture today. The series is narrated by Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul, The Mandalorian). SUPERVILLAIN is produced by Imagine Documentaries, Rolling Stone and Lightbox. Brian Grazer executive produces with Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein of Imagine Documentaries, Gus Wenner of Rolling Stone, Jonathan Chinn and Simon Chinn of Lightbox, journalist Stephen Witt and Peter J. Scalettar.”
Belgravia (following a week after the CBC Gem premiere, kicks off 8pmCT/9ET on CBC TV) “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.”
Queen Sugar (Season 5 premiere 8pmCT/9ET CTV Drama) The return of Ava DuVernay’s family drama about The Bordelons and their sugarcane empire.
Monday Feb. 22
The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show (Crave 8pmCT/9ET) “In 1968, entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte takes over “The Tonight Show” for one historic week, introducing a fractured, changing country to itself alongside legendary guests like Aretha Franklin and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
Beartown (series premiere 8pmCT/9ET HBO Crave app) Based on Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel of the same name, the new five-episode Swedish drama “explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, the courage it takes for an individual to go against the group, and the consequences of how we raise our children. With a small-town Swedish junior ice-hockey team having a shot at winning the national semi-finals, all of the dreams of the locals now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. The drama series stars Ulf Stenberg (LOVE ME), Miriam Ingrid (Get Ready With Me), and Oliver Dufåker.”
Independent Lens: Mr. Soul (9pmCT/10ET PBS) “In 1968, America’s first Black variety show, “SOUL!,” helmed by producer and host Ellis Haizlip, premiered on public television. The pioneering series ran for five years, cementing itself as not only a vehicle to celebrate African American artistry, community, and culture but also as a platform for political expression and a powerful force in the fight for social justice. Mr. SOUL! portrays in exquisite detail a revolutionary time in American culture and entertainment through vibrant archival footage and interviews with numerous Black luminaries who appeared on “SOUL!,” or were impacted by it. While chronicling the journey of “SOUL!,” Mr. SOUL! recounts the life and contributions of the late Haizlip, who was steeped in the New York City arts community prior to creating the show. Ellis quickly stepped into the role of host of his creation, where his earnest demeanor, low-key interviewing style, and his passion for the Black artistic community and their works—including books, the spoken word, music, film, and dance—culminated in a show that depicted the Black experience in a bold and unapologetic way. Haizlip’s creation shifted the media focus from what was then uniformly images of inner-city poverty and violence, to instead shine a light on the vibrant contemporary Black Arts Movement. With award-winning performer Blair Underwood providing the voice of Ellis Haizlip, Mr. SOUL! features not only archival performances from music legends such as Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Diahann Carroll, B.B. King, and Patti LaBelle, but also spoken word performances from The Last Poets and Sonia Sanchez, dance performances by Carmen de Lavallade, and interviews with James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Muhammad Ali and Maya Angelou, among many others. Artists such as Harry Belafonte, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and activist and former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver share their recollections about the show and its tremendous impact on them and their careers.”
Tuesday Feb. 23
Hello! Disney+ today launches a new substream to its streaming stable, adding Star (as well as a $3 increase in the Disney+ basic rate for new subscribers) alongside Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic and of course plain old Disney. So more choices! Says CTV News: “Disney Plus says it’ll increase its monthly price from $8.99 to $11.99 for all Canadian users on Feb 23, 2021, the same time Star appears on the platform’s main page. Disney didn’t outline specific titles that will be available on Star in Canada, but it has a massive catalogue to pull from. Its selection could span blockbusters, from Die Hard and The Shape of Water to recent FX TV mini-series such as Devs and Mrs. America.” If you are an existing subscriber, Disney+ says the increase will be delayed: “For existing monthly and annual subscribers, the price will not increase until the subscriber’s first bill date after August 22, 2021. Pricing and currencies may vary across platforms.”
Pelé (documentary premiere Netflix) “This documentary feature tells the story of iconic footballer Pelé, his quest for perfection and the mythical status he attained. As well as unprecedented interview access to Pelé, the film includes astounding archive footage and interviews with legendary former team-mates including Zagallo, Jairzinho and Rivellino. The story looks back at the extraordinary 12-year period in which Pelé, the only man to win three World Cup titles, went from young superstar in 1958 to national hero in 1970; a radical yet turbulent era in Brazil’s history.”
Brian Regan: On the Rocks (comedy premiere Netflix) “Brian Regan returns to the stand-up stage with a new special for 2021.”
Superman & Lois (series premiere CTV Sci-Fi Channel 8pmCT/9ET) “The ultimate power couple make themselves at home on CTV Sci-Fi Channel when the all-new superhero drama SUPERMAN & LOIS premieres Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. ET. Launching with a special 90-minute episode, the series follows the Man of Steel himself, Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin, TEEN WOLF), and famous journalist, Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch, GRIMM), as they head back to Smallville to face their greatest challenge yet – raising their family. Previously appearing as the iconic characters in the DC ARROW-verse crossovers, Hoechlin and Tulloch reprise their roles as the classic characters. Beginning March 2, each hour-long episode airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET, exclusively on CTV Sci-Fi. New episodes are available to stream on CTV.ca and the CTV app. Click here for a sneak peek. In SUPERMAN & LOIS, after years of facing megalomaniacal supervillains, havoc-wrecking monsters, and alien invaders, the super-couple returns to the idyllic town of Smallville to raise their teenage sons, Jonathan (Jordan Elsass, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin, The Peanuts Movie). While Clark and Lois deal with the stresses and complexities of parenthood, they must also concern themselves with the very real possibility that the boys might inherit their father’s superpowers as they grow older. Returning home to handle some Kent family business, Clark and Lois are re-acquainted with Clark’s first love, Lana Lang-Cushing (Emmanuelle Chriqui, ENTOURAGE), a local loan officer who also happens to be Clark’s first love, as well as her Fire Chief husband Kyle Cushing (Erik Valdez, GRACELAND), and their rebellious teenage daughter, Sarah (Inde Navarrette, 13 REASONS WHY). With the Kent family back in town, Lois’ father, General Samuel Lane (Dylan Walsh, NIP/TUCK), still calls on Superman to vanquish a villain or save the day at a moment’s notice, but the family’s return is set to be upended when a mysterious stranger (Wolé Parks, ALL AMERICAN) enters their lives.”
Wednesday Feb. 24
Snowfall (Season 4 premiere FX) FX bumph: “In Season 4 of Snowfall, Franklin will try to regain control over his business and end the rising gang violence in the streets before it becomes an all-out war.” Says the digital TV listings: “With violence in South Central ramping up, Franklin attempts to stop a gang war from exploding; Gustavo and Teddy deal with pipeline issues; local reporter Irene Abe attempts to understand what’s happening to her neighborhood; Leon charts a new path.”
Ginny & Georgia (series premiere Netflix) “Angsty and awkward fifteen year old Ginny Miller (Antonia Gentry) often feels she doesn’t measure up to her thirty year old mother, the irresistible and dynamic Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey). Growing up on the move, Georgia desperately wants to put down roots in picturesque New England and give her family something they’ve never had… a normal life. But it’s not all carpool and Kombucha as Georgia’s past follows them to threaten her and her family’s fresh start.”
Canine Intervention (series premiere Netflix) “Canine Intervention follows renowned Oakland dog trainer Jas Leverette as he runs Cali K9, one of the top dog training facilities in California. Using his unique training methods and techniques, each episode will feature Jas as he works with a variety of dogs and their owners to fix their obedience and behavior issues. Jas works with all breeds, he’s never turned a dog away, and he can correct even the most extreme behavior issues.”
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.