TV Jan. 9-15: Righteous Gemstones, MacGruber, A.P. Bio, Hitmen, Code 404, All Creatures Great and Small S2, Vienna Blood, Call Me Kat, Pivoting, Euphoria, Portrayal, Claws, American Masters: Ailey, Naomi, Dollface, Eternals, Children Ruin Everything, Brazen, Peacemaker, Vince Carter: Legacy, Betty White Goes Wild, After Life, Ray Donovan: The Movie, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Hotel Transylvania: Transformia, Archive 81, The House, Thin Blue Line, Brassic, Ripper Street, People Just Do Nothing, Best in Miniature

Good day TV fans. No broadcast of the Golden Globes tonight (NBC declined, it said, to protest lack of representation by the sponsoring organization the Hollywood Foreign Press. If you want to follow the winners, go to social media or the Globes website. Now then, to the premieres of new and returning shows, and their press-release BUMPH!

Sunday Jan. 9

The Righteous Gemstones (Season 2 premiere 11:05pmCT/ midnightET HBO, Crave app) “starring Danny McBride, John Goodman, Edi Patterson and, Adam Devine, debuts its nine episode second season with two new episodes beginning on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 10 p.m. ET, followed by additional half-hour episodes on subsequent Sundays at the same time. … Season 2 finds our blessed Gemstone family threatened by outsiders from both the past and present who wish to destroy their empire. McBride collaborators Jody Hill and David Gordon Green also serve as executive producers and directors.”

MacGruber (series premiere 8CT/9ET Showcase) “After rotting in prison for over a decade, America’s ultimate hero and uber patriot MacGruber (Will Forte) is finally released. His mission: to take down a mysterious villain from his past—Brigadier Commander Enos Queeth (Billy Zane). With the entire world in the crosshairs, MacGruber must reassemble his old team, Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) in order to defeat the forces of evil.”

A.P. Bio (Season 4 premiere Showcase 8:30CT/ 9:30ET)

Hitmen (Season 2 premiere Showcase 9pmCT/10ET) 

Code 404 (Season x premiere Showcase 9:30CT/10:30ET)  

All Creatures Great and Small (Season 2 premiere PBS 8pmCT/9ET) “returns for an all-new season of heartfelt moments, friendship, and mischief! Transport yourself back to the Yorkshire Dales once again with James, Siegfried Farnon, Tristan Farnon, Helen Alderson, Mrs. Hall, and more. After the events of the Season 1 finale, will James and Helen find their way together? Will James decide to call the Dales home? And can Siegfried and Tristan manage to work together without complete and utter disaster? More laughs, more love, and more animals (and yes, more Tricki Woo) await in Season 2! The acclaimed ensemble includes Nicholas Ralph, Samuel West, Callum Woodhouse, Anna Madeley and Rachel Shenton, all returning for the second season. Matthew Lewis will also return as jilted aristocrat Hugh Hulton. Actress Patricia Hodge (Miranda, A Very English Scandal) will step into the role of the eccentric, larger than life Mrs. Pumphrey, with the lovably spoiled Pekingese Tricki Woo right by her side.”

Vienna Blood (Season 2 premiere PBS 9pmCT/10ET) “1900s Vienna, a hotbed of philosophy, science and art, where a clash of cultures and ideas collide in the city’s grand cafes and opera houses. Max Liebermann is a brilliant young English doctor and student of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Together with tenacious Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt, they investigate a series of unusual and disturbing murders.”

Call Me Kat (Season 2 premiere CTV Fox 7pmCT/8ET) “This season, Kat (Mayim Bialek) is back navigating life’s ups and downs with a little more self-assurance and a lot more whimsy. Kat’s in her element at her lively cat café, working alongside her friends: Randi (Kyla Pratt), a bold, aspiring artist, and Phil (Emmy® Award-winner Leslie Jordan), the café’s resident baker dipped in southern flair. Across the way, the local piano bar, run by cool, down-to-earth Carter (Julian Gant), remains the gang’s favorite watering hole, where Kat’s best friend from college, Max (Cheyenne Jackson), slings drinks and charms the patrons. All the while, Kat’s mother, Sheila (Emmy® and Tony® Award-winner and Golden Globe® nominee Swoosie Kurtz), actively keeps tabs on her daughter’s romantic life, which found Kat in a tough spot at the end of Season 1, having to choose between her new beau, Oscar (Christopher Rivas), or her long-time crush, Max. This year, Kat will find herself in all sorts of predicaments, handling them as only she can – with joy, humor and positivity.”

Pivoting (series premiere Fox, CTV 7:30pm/8:30ET) “is a single-camera comedy about how we deal with life, death and all the crazy things that happen in between. Set in a small, middle-class town in Long Island, NY, the series follows three women – and close-knit childhood friends – as they cope with the death of the fourth member of their group. When faced with the reality that life is short, these women pivot, and alter their current paths, by way of a series of impulsive, ill-advised and self-indulgent decisions. These pivots will strengthen their bond and prove it’s never too late to screw up your life in the pursuit of happiness. Starring Eliza Coupe (HAPPY ENDINGS), Ginnifer Goodwin (ONCE UPON A TIME) and Maggie Q (DESIGNATED SURVIVOR).”

Euphoria (Season 2 premiere HBO Crave 10pmCT/11ET) “returns for its eight-episode second season. Created, written, and directed by Sam Levinson, and starring Emmy®-winner Zendaya, Season 2 returns to the town of East Highland, where 17-year-old Rue (Zendaya) must find hope while balancing the pressures of love, loss, and addiction.”

Portrayal (CBC and CBC Gem 7pmCT/8ET) “Roman Lapshin has been tormented by a secret from the past involving the discovery of thousands of his dead grandfather’s missing paintings. Compelled to bring recognition to his grandfather’s legacy as an artist, Lapshin travels across three continents in a high-stakes, suspenseful search for the truth. Directed by Billie Mintz, 2021.”

Claws (Season 4 premiere CTV Drama 9pmCT/10ET)

Monday Jan. 10

Tuesday Jan. 11

American Masters: Ailey (Season 36!!! premiere PBS 8pmCT/9ET) “is a portrait of the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey (1931-1989), a trailblazing pioneer who founded his influential studio Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 at age 27. The documentary traces the full contours of this brilliant and enigmatic man whose search for the truth in movement resulted in enduring choreography that centers on the Black American experience with inimitable grace and power. Told through the choreographer’s own words and featuring evocative archival footage and interviews with those close to him, director Jamila Wignot weaves together a resonant biography that connects Ailey’s past to our present with an intimate glimpse into the Ailey studios today, following innovative hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris as he conceives a new dance, “Lazarus,” inspired by Ailey’s life.”

Naomi (series premiere Showcase 8pmCT/9ET) “From Oscar® nominee/Emmy® winner Ava DuVernay and Arrow’s Jill Blankenship, and starring Kaci Walfall in the title role, the DC drama NAOMI follows a teen girl’s journey from her small northwestern town to the heights of the Multiverse. When a supernatural event shakes her hometown to the core, Naomi sets out to uncover its origins, and what she discovers will challenge everything we believe about our heroes.”

Dollface (Season 2 premiere Disney+ probably this date)

Wednesday Jan. 12

Eternals (series premiere Disney+) follows a group of heroes from beyond the stars who had protected the Earth since the dawn of man. When monstrous creatures called the Deviants, long thought lost to history, mysteriously return, the Eternals are forced to reunite in order to defend humanity once again.

Children Ruin Everything (series premiere CTV 7pm/8ET) “Created by Emmy® Award-winner Kurt Smeaton (SCHITT’S CREEK), CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING follows a set of parents, as they raise their two young children in the city and struggle to hold on to their pre-kid life. But can one be a parent and have the strong desire to live a beautiful, easy, cool, not-covered-in-snot life? In CHILDREN RUIN EVERYTHING, Astrid and James struggle with this paradox, as they try to maintain sanity in the face of their young children. The series chronicles their war of identity – one conceded battle at a time – that illustrates the hilarious and varied ways kids can wreck happiness, annihilate goals and dreams, and re-invent lives. It explores how sometimes, if parents are very lucky, their re-invented life is sort of okay, too. Nowhere near as good as that old, really great life. But still kinda nice. The eight-episode, half-hour series stars Meaghan Rath (HAWAII FIVE-0) and Aaron Abrams (HANNIBAL), with Ennis Esmer (BLINDSPOT), Nazneen Contractor (RANSOM), and introducing Logan Nicholson and Mikayla SwamiNathan. Veena Sood (CORNER GAS ANIMATED), Dmitry Chepovetsky (KILLJOYS), and Lisa Codrington (LETTERKENNY) join the cast in supporting roles. (New Metric Media in association with CTV)”

Thursday Jan. 13

Brazen (series premiere Netflix) “Prominent mystery writer and crime expert Grace (Alyssa Milano) hurries back to her family home in Washington, D.C. because her estranged sister summons her. When her sister is killed and her double life as a webcam performer is revealed, Grace ignores the warnings of cool-headed detective Ed (Sam Page) and gets involved in the case. Based on the novel “Brazen Virtue” by Nora Roberts.”

Peacemaker (spinoff premiere Crave) “The new HBO Max Original series PEACEMAKER, written and directed by James Gunn and starring John Cena, debuts Thursday, January 13. The series explores the origins of the character that Cena first portrayed in James Gunn’s 2021 film, The Suicide Squad (available on Crave on December 24), a compellingly vainglorious man who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it.”

Vince Carter: Legacy (doc premiere Amazon Prime Video) “Never-before-seen footage and interviews provide insight into the extraordinary legacy of former Toronto Raptors legend and 8-time All-Star and slam dunk champion, Vince Carter as he looks back on his record-breaking 22-season professional basketball career.”

Friday Jan. 14

Betty White Goes Wild (Disney+) was scheduled to coincide with the now late comedian/activist/righteous babe’s 100th birthday. Sadly, we lost her on New Year’s Eve. Hopefully still going ahead?

After Life (Season 3 premiere Netflix) “Struggling to come to terms with his wife’s death, a writer for a newspaper adopts a gruff new persona in an effort to push away those trying to help.”  It’s the final season of After Life and Tony (Ricky Gervais) is still desperately mourning the loss of his wife, Lisa. Will he ever truly embrace the future if he can’t let go of the past?”

Ray Donovan: The Movie (premiere Crave, Crave app 8pmCT/9ET) “picks up where Season 7 left off, with Mickey in the wind and Ray determined to find and stop him before he can cause any more carnage. The film also weaves together the present-day fallout from the Donovan/Sullivan feud with Ray and Mickey’s origin story from 30 years ago. … Original cast members reprising their roles include Eddie Marsan as Ray’s brother Terry, Dash Mihok as Ray’s brother Bunchy, Pooch Hall as the Donovan’s half-brother Daryll, Kerris Dorsey as Ray’s daughter Bridget, Katherine Moennig as Lena, along with Kerry Condon as Molly Sullivan, and Oscar-winner Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan.”

The Tragedy of Macbeth (Joel Coen movie premiere Apple TV+) “Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star in Joel Coen’s bold and fierce adaptation; a tale of murder, madness, ambition and wrathful cunning.”

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (movie premiere Amazon Prime Video) “Drac and the Pack are back, like you’ve never seen them before in Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. Reunite with your favorite monsters for an all-new adventure that presents Drac (Brian Hull) with his most terrifying task yet. When Van Helsing’s (Jim Gaffigan) mysterious invention, the ‘Monsterification Ray,’ goes haywire, Drac and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster! In their new mismatched bodies, Drac, stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure before it’s too late, and before they drive each other crazy. With help from Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the hilariously human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent. The film also features the voices of Kathryn Hahn (Ericka), Steve Buscemi (Wayne), Molly Shannon (Wanda), David Spade (Griffin the Invisible Man), Keegan-Michael Key (Murray), Fran Drescher (Eunice), Brad Abrell (Frank), and Asher Blinkoff (Dennis).

Archive 81 (premiere Netflix) “follows archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), who takes a job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes from 1994. Reconstructing the work of a documentary filmmaker named Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi), he is drawn into her investigation of a dangerous cult at the Visser apartment building. As the season unfolds across these two timelines, Dan slowly finds himself obsessed with uncovering what happened to Melody. When the two characters form a mysterious connection, Dan becomes convinced he can save her from the terrifying end she met 25 years ago. An original story loosely inspired by the popular podcast of the same name.”

The House (movie premiere Netflix) “is an eccentric dark comedy about a house and the three surreal tales of the individuals who made it their home. An anthology directed by the leading voices in independent stop motion animation: Emma de Swaef and Marc Roels, Niki Lindroth von Bahr and Paloma Baeza and produced by Nexus Studios.”

Thin Blue Line (series premiere CBC Gem) “This Swedish drama created by the acclaimed writer Cilla Jackert (Shed No Tears), gets under the surface of what being a cop is really about. The work of the Swedish Malmö police is gritty and unglamorous. Dealing with death, social misery and the growth of criminal activity in the city’s notorious problem areas, they keep their spirits up thanks to the strong bonds within the police force. This story centres around the lives of four police officers as they struggle to keep their human values intact.”

Brassic (Season 3 premiere CBC Gem) “Vinnie (Joe Gilgun, Lockout), freshly out of prison, is jubilant to be reunited with his gang of mates but dismayed to learn that he now has the newly promoted Detective Carl Slater (John Weaver, Mount Pleasant) watching his every move. Vinnie knows he needs to keep out of trouble, but playing it safe has never been his strong point. Soon he and his lifelong friends are back to their usual tricks with a hilarious new onslaught of wild and wonderful heists on the horizon. Bigger, braver and more bonkers than ever, it’s a hectic world of bulls, snakes, kidnappings, betrayal, and this time, a full-size horse.”

Ripper Street (Season 4 CBC Gem) “In 1897, Reid (Matthew Macfadyen, Succession) has given up his detective work and lives in Hampton-on-Sea with Mathilda (Anna Burnett, The Falling). When his old friend Isaac (Justin Avoth, Midsomer Murders) is accused of murder, he is drawn back to Whitechapel to investigate. Meanwhile Drake (Jerome Flynn, Game Of Thrones) is now head inspector of Whitechapel and still employs Jackson (Adam Rothenberg, Mad Money) who has given up his drinking and gambling in order to save money to free Susan (MyAnna Buring, Kill List) from prison.”

People Just Do Nothing (series premiere CBC Gem) “is a mockumentary series that follows West London pirate radio station ‘Kurupt FM’.  Led by self proclaimed garage legend MC Grindah (Allan Mustafa, BBC Comedy Feeds) and his second in command DJ Beats (Hugo Chegwin, BBC Comedy Feeds), these hapless individuals share the secrets behind running an illegal business and demonstrate that chasing your dreams is actually a full time job.”

Best in Miniature (series premiere CBC Gem) “is a brand-new series hosted by writer and stand-up comedian, Aba Amuquandoh (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), that welcomes 11 highly skilled artists from across the world to compete in the ultimate challenge: building their dream home in miniature form. The competitors will create their houses, in painstaking detail, room by room by shrinking life-size objects to 1:12 scale. While the objects may be small in stature, the stakes could not be higher. Judged by U.K Miniature Expert Emma Waddell, and esteemed Designer Micheal Lambie, precision and design technique will save the competitors from elimination. Week after week, the remaining miniaturists will continue to battle it out to stay in the game until only three remain for the last competition in the grand finale. The winner will receive a cash prize and the coveted title of Best in Miniature.”

d2tvblog@gmail.com

Thank you so much for reading this far. So, what is d2tv? Glad you asked. There is so much great TV right now, but too much to easily keep track of. So this blog is me sharing my lifelong habit of tracking TV in general, but premieres in particular — series and seasons and one-offs on Canadian broadcast, cable and streaming. And since I’m doing it for myself, I share it here with you, every Sunday and Thursday. So thanks, fellow traveller, for stopping by. If you want this sent to your email inbox instead, shoot me an email or join the 50! others who subscribe (free, no strings) by typing your email into the box at the bottom of d2tv.wordpress.com, where it reads: “Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.” Who am I, Denise Duguay? Been writing about TV since 1986 or so at the Winnipeg Sun, then at the Montreal Gazette, currently at the Winnipeg Free Press and of course here, for myself and YOU! You might want to know – no judgement – I hate and mostly ignore “non-scripted” reality programming. (BECAUSE IT’S SO MEAN, THAT’S WHY.)

One thought on “TV Jan. 9-15: Righteous Gemstones, MacGruber, A.P. Bio, Hitmen, Code 404, All Creatures Great and Small S2, Vienna Blood, Call Me Kat, Pivoting, Euphoria, Portrayal, Claws, American Masters: Ailey, Naomi, Dollface, Eternals, Children Ruin Everything, Brazen, Peacemaker, Vince Carter: Legacy, Betty White Goes Wild, After Life, Ray Donovan: The Movie, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Hotel Transylvania: Transformia, Archive 81, The House, Thin Blue Line, Brassic, Ripper Street, People Just Do Nothing, Best in Miniature

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