#Bingewatch: Your #TV #show guide for Jan 13-20th
How’s it going, bingewatcher? If you’re into comedy, last week was a veritable feast of riotous laughter and easy-going sitcom staples. Modern Family tried to keep it fresh, Fox dropped its trio of animated hits & misses, and NBC paired The Good Place with new acquisition Brooklyn Nine-Nine for a stroke of programming genius. Things are looking pretty good for the start of the year.
As networks line up their prize hitters, you may just find yourself laughing less & less as the year moves ahead as comedy starts to make room for drama, crime, and action. Though The CW’s Arrowverse is returning in full swing for a shot of warm optimism in the cold month of January, other series premieres are embracing the decidedly bleaker tone of the winter months.
We’ve got True Detective making its long-awaited comeback tour with Mahershala Ali at the wheel this time, along with new vampire series The Passage competing with the extraterrestrial Roswell, New Mexico for the year’s best new supernatural must-watch.
Our eyes are fixed on Deadly Class, though, the Russo Bros’ (Avengers: Infinity War) darkly comic blend of education and international crime based on the Image comic series, promising the deadliest wit & sharpest action of this year’s spring TV calendar – we can’t wait.
Check out our list of everything to look out for this week, and mark your calendars with our extensive TV schedule right here.
Valley of the Boom (National Geographic)
Documentary miniseries that include reenactment sections are all too often an absolute snore. A blend of talking heads, stock footage, and out-of-focus shots of amateur actors in period costumes are the usual ingredients: all the elements of both documentary and biopic that just make you wish you were watching one or the other.
National Geographic, however, has been stepping up their game with the seemingly unheard-of decision to pair usual documentary fare with talented actors and a well-written script. The format worked remarkably well for NatGeo’s still ongoing Mars, which tells the fictional account of a group of astronauts who set off on a voyage to become the first inhabitants of the Red Planet in 2033.
Valley of the Boom’s story chronicling the tech boom and subsequent collapse during the 1990s in Silicon Valley is grounded in historical fact, but its style is anything but grounded. Taking the same approach to the fourth wall as The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short, actors lay it down for the audience, bring in special guests who were actually there, and eventually shatter your expectations on what a docuseries drama can deliver.
Stars Bradley Whitford (Get Out) as tech entrepreneur James L. Barksdale, alongside Lamorne Morris (Game Night) and Steve Zahn (War for the Planet of the Apes).
True Detective (HBO)
True Detective finally returns after what feels like the one of the longest waits between TV seasons, mainly because consensus on Season 2 is so bad we’ve collectively agreed not to count it. Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) stars as detective Wayne Hays, who investigates a missing children case in the Ozarks across three time periods. The first season of this anthology crime series was one of the biggest revelations of the ongoing Second Golden Age of Television.
Effectively launching the career of Cary Fukunaga (Maniac, and now tapped for the upcoming James Bond film), the role of series creator Nic Pizzolatto shouldn’t be understated. Penning almost the entire first and second seasons, Pizzolatto returns to writing duties for the third as well as making his directorial debut.
Pizzolatto joins seasoned thrill-seeking filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room), whose previous work on meticulously crafted and thought-provoking thrillers is wrapped with mood & tension, making him a perfect replacement for Fukunaga.
Saulnier’s departure mid-season clearly prompts worrying flashbacks to the troubled and rushed production of season 2, but Pizzolatto & co. have had nearly four years to bring this beast to perfection and there’s no way Mahershala Ali signs on to anything he thinks is going to be less than stellar after his Oscar win.
The early life of TV personality Doctor Phil serves as the inspiration for this comedic take on courtroom psychology. Some of it sounds pretty smart and the rest of it . . . well, take a look at the title.
The Good Doctor (ABC)
An autistic surgeon (Freddie Highmore) might have difficulty with social interaction, but he’s the best there is at the operating table. After mixed reviews, the series was lucky to get a second season, so make sure to tune in on Mondays if you want it to continue.
Magnum P.I. (CBS)
Yet another tired remake from the Dad-core bargain bin, this time stripping Thomas Magnum of his moustache and everything else that made him cool in the first place. Keep up with the first season on Mondays if you really have to.
The Neighborhood (CBS)
Cedric the Entertainer is still 100% done with the white antics of his new next-door neighbor, played by Max Greenfield (New Girl). It’s not exactly a Steve McQueen movie, but the commentary on race and class is usually enough to raise a smirk.
The Passage (Fox)
This apocalyptic adaptation of Justin Cronin’s trilogy of books combines the vampire mythos with a healthy dose of science-fiction, developed by Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) and Ridley Scott (The Martian).
Ever since the Twilight saga finally made a vampire myth that girls could enjoy, thereby ruining the monster for a number of years for whiney male horror fanatics who still insist the rapacious schemes of Count Dracula were “legit”, the worst type of monster media fans have been desperate for someone to take vampires back to their roots. Justin Cronin’s Passage series is usually described as “vampire-ish”, more vampire- and zombie-adjacent with a sci-fi bent, rather than wrapping itself in the dark cape of the occult.
However, the sizable budget afforded by the Ridley Scott production could make this highly anticipated horror series the exact thing dudebro horror fans need to satiate their thirst for blood & toxic masculinity. Maybe it’s a little overdue to become a smash hit. The series is coming nearly ten years following the publication of the first book, so there’s every chance of a couple of short-lived seasons before an untimely cancellation.
However, despite its brawny, somewhat anti-Twilight tone, we’re pulling for this to become the next Walking Dead – mainly because vampires aren’t nearly as played out as zombies nowadays.
The Resident (Fox)
A team of hot doctors struggles to cope with the tradition-shattering approach of their third-year resident internist, who remains convinced his unconventional methods are the best way forward.
The Flash (The CW)
Supergirl (The CW)
The ropey special effects get ever so slightly better each season, even if the acting, soap opera subplots, and villain of the season’s evil plans get more idiotic. Even so The CW’s Arrowverse still remains essential viewing for comic book fanatics.
Sure, the disparate universes and loud absences of certain characters will have you pining for an MCU-style do-over but, for now, seeing a rough approximation of the Justice League duke it out with alien threats, evil societies, and occasionally other versions of themselves in a time-hopping, identity-swapping, universe-bending world that spans four series of television now is plenty of bonkers superhero action for us.
Will this year finally see Black Lightning’s official inauguration into the main series?
Roswell, New Mexico (The CW)
Rebooted adaptation of Melinda Metz’s teen series Roswell High, this time with a topical immigration angle. The daughter of undocumented immigrant parents returns to her sleepy hometown of Roswell to discover her teen crush is an alien and the UFO sightings in 1947 might be more truth than hoax.
Metz’s popular novels about three alien teens was initially the inspiration for Roswell, a 1999-2002 series that was pretty much the blueprint for CW, despite airing on The WB. It ditched a lot of baggage in the later seasons but, for the most part, the show loosely tied the usual love triangles, betrayals, and soap opera drama to a thin supernatural premise. Come for the aliens, stay for the steamy alien-on-alien action.
Now the CW have been flexing their sci-fi muscles all over the likes of Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash to varied results, it’s a natural time to attempt another shot at more grounded science fiction. Roswell, New Mexico still features the CW’s standard slew of so-so actors plucked straight from the runway, but at least the network’s visual effects and action set-piece efforts are a little less embarrassing these days, so there’s every chance of this being a slightly more worthwhile second go.
This is Us (NBC)
Complex adoption drama about a successful white family who decides to adopt an African-American baby abandoned outside a fire station. Sterling K. Brown stars in a breakout role as Randall Pearson, who becomes the adoptive triplet of Jack and Rebecca when they discover he was born on the exact same day. Flashbacks throughout the series explore the lives of the siblings as children, featuring startling revelations about their parents, both adoptive and biological, before and after Randall was abandoned.
If, like us, you’re prone to bottling up your feelings during your day-to-day before splurging on them all in a single weekly emotional binge, it’s likely you usually need some encouragement from a movie or TV show to get the waterworks going. This Is Us seems designed just for that, a 40-minute instalment of television scientifically attuned to the parts of our brains that have us ugly crying in our beds surrounded by snotty tissues.
For those who don’t make a habit of wallowing in a sea of misery, feel free to avoid this one, but we’ll be tuning in to the rest of season three this month for more shocking reveals & gut punches.
All American (The CW)
Brand new American football drama continues kicking up dirt and kicking our asses all over the field into the new year.
Deadly Class (SyFy)
Marcus Aguello (Benjamin Wadsworth) unwittingly enrolls into King’s Dominion, an elite high school for the next generation of international criminals and assassins. With a premise ripped right out of the goofiest of anime, Deadly Class is fast becoming one of our most anticipated shows of the new season.
Gory, stylish, and unashamedly silly, it’s exciting that one of the must-watch shows of the new year doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as all the prestige dramas over at HBO. Check out the trailer if you need convincing. From co-creators the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War), Deadly Class is a genre hybrid that beats to the drum of 80s fashion and counterculture, with a lightning fast pulse fuelled by sex, drugs, and samurai swords. A character roster built from goths, punks, and bigoted Southern belles promises vicious personalities you’ll love to hate every week.
Based on the ongoing Image Comics series by Rick Remender, if Syfy does the artwork and off-the-wall plotting any justice, Deadly Class is set to become one of the most stylish and gripping shows of 2019. It will also star Doctor Strange’s partner in wizardry Benedict Wong, as well as fellow Marvel superhero Lana Condor (X-Men Apocalypse’s Jubilee).
Riverdale (The CW)
Hot and heavy adaptation of the ongoing Archie comics that sees the Riverdale gang face off against conspiracies, gang warfare, drugs, and serial killers. Riverdale is perhaps the most beautiful series on television both in terms of its cinematography & production design as well as Greg Berlanti’s outright refusal to cast anyone even vaguely unattractive in any of his shows.
This season has seen proceedings take a turn for the ridiculous, as Archie gets thrown into the most brutal juvenile detention center in the United States and Jughead unlocks a town secret involving poisonous hallucinogens and fantasy role-play. Something tells us all the eggs were put into Sabrina’s basket this year, as the very, very loose spinoff has retained all the on-point aesthetics while leaving all the eye-roll-inducing screenwriting to the next town over.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
More surgery, intense medical training, and broiling sexual tension from ABC’s critically acclaimed, longest-running primetime series.
Anyone who came out of Widows thirsty for more refined badassery from Viola Davis should look no further than How to Get Away with Murder, one of Shondaland’s most stylish, morbidly compelling shows of recent memory. Annalise Keating, a law professor at one of the most prestigious colleges in the country, finds herself unwittingly entwined in a murder plot that involves a number of her students.
How to Get Away with Murder is one of those rare shows that informs as much as it entertains, taking a scalpel to the legal process and unspooling the secrets, tricks, and psychologies that make lawyers experts at their craft – as well as, unfortunately, the perfect candidates to get away with murder undetected.
Davis gives an absolute powerhouse of a performance and the sharp, complex plotting has managed to keep its claws in us for its entire five-season run. We can’t wait to find out what the second half of this series has in store.
A Discovery of Witches (Sundance Now)
Diana Bishop, a historian and part-time witch, stumbles across an ancient book of spells in Oxford’s library and unlocks the dangerous hidden world of sorcery, vampires, and a cultish evil agenda. Witches are back, baby!
Since being adopted as feminist iconography, the concept of magical females has evolved past the haggish, nefarious villains of old towards powerful, complex and, more recently, sexually liberated women that have become the stars of their own worlds. A Discovery of Witches feels like the perfect successor to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the Netflix original that, despite some moments of Riverdale-esque soap opera, managed to balance a perfect allegory of female disenfranchisement on top of an occult story for teens.
Based on Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy of novels, A Discovery of Witches ramps up the stakes in comparison to Sabrina, pitching a stylish and intriguing mystery against the epic backdrop of a war between worlds that might just become the next Game of Thrones.
Features an all-star cast including Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) and Matthew Goode (The Crown) as well as BBC staples Louise Brealey (Sherlock) and Alex Kingston (Doctor Who). Having already premiered in the UK to an extremely warm reception, international audiences should prepare for a visual treat in the new year.
A Million Little Things (ABC)
A tight group of friends continues mourning following the loss of one among their ranks in this first season of a fresh ode to friendship & resilience.
Supernatural (The CW)
The boys are back in town for the fourteenth time, cruising through our screens fighting demons, ghosts, ghouls, and monsters with their 1967 Chevy Impala and a supporting cast of supernatural friends. This ongoing season sees the gang struggling with a bunch of new changes such as the arrival of Jack Kline (Alexander Calvert), the Nephilim son of Lucifer who is struggling to cope with demonic powers.
Though a slight cut in episodes has left season 14 as the shortest since season three was butchered by the Writers’ Strike, we’re certain creator Eric Kripke has something super special in store for us, as the upcoming thirteenth episode set to air on February 7th will be the series’s 300th in total. Expect this monumental anniversary to include the life-altering developments, soul-crushing character moments, and generous heaps of bloodshed we’ve come to expect from the show’s tentpole episodes.
Stars, as always, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as Dean and Sam Winchester, as well as the occasional guest appearance from Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead) as the boys’ estranged, monster-hunting father.
Grace & Frankie (Netflix)
Grace (Jane Fonda, Book Club) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) are perfectly well adjusted, even if they don’t happen to like each other. When both retired cosmetic mogul Grace and hippie art teacher Frankie’s husbands suddenly announce they’re gay and leaving their respective wives for each other, the two rivals refuse to let their newfound divorced lives bring them down.
Instead, they roll with the punches and form an unlikely bond. No, it’s not quite to a T when it comes to LGBTQI representation, but Grace & Frankie is still the best show about two funny women learning to age and grow gracefully among changing tides.
Dynasty (The CW)
Rebooted version of one of the cattiest soap operas of all time, now with even more added claws. Stars Elizabeth Gillies (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) as the heiress to her billionaire family’s fortune who learns to deal with her business mogul father’s new marriage. Did someone say guilty pleasure?
Black Monday (Showtime)
The bonkers, incomprehensible, true(ish) story of what actually, maybe, could have totally happened on what became known as Black Monday, the worst stock market crash in Wall Street history.
On October 19th, 1987 stock markets around the world plunged precipitously. Starting in Hong Kong, charts went red across Europe and the Atlantic Seaboard, causing chaos throughout the United States. Speculation has ranged from dodgy trading to illiquidity, but now series creators Jordan Cahan and David Caspe think they could have the answer. Or at least the most entertaining amalgamation of half-truths and coked-up theories we’re ever going to get.
In this series, a group of cocksure nobodies, headed by Don Cheadle (Avengers: Infinity War), take on the establishment. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (This is the End) take up directing duties for the first episode and also served as executive producers for the series. In 1987 New York, cocaine, corruption, wild parties, and suicide are the most popular orders of the day, and Black Friday looks like the wildest on-screen party since The Wolf of Wall Street.
Charmed (The CW)
Rebooted version of the classic fantasy series that features two sisters who unlock unprecedented magical powers following the brutal murder of their mother. Once they discover a third lost sister, they become The Charmed Ones, a trio of witches who possess The Power of Three, unique gifts destined to protect the world from demonic forces.
The first season continues this January, though the possibility of a second is still up in the air.
Get empowered with this refreshing take on motherhood as this new comedy drama follows Bridgette Bird (Frankie Shaw), a single mom from an unconventional Bostonian family who’s breaking all the rules when it comes to parenting. This scrappy, semi-biographical take on female sexuality and child-rearing has kicked off with a strong start so far, so make sure you’re tuning in when season two drops this month.