From stylish fashion docs to engrossing British mysteries, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. First Day – CBC Gem (Stream)
CBC GemThis groundbreaking tween drama from Australia, written and directed by Julie Kalceff, stars transgender actor Evie Macdonald as Hannah Bradford, a 12-year-old transgender girl who has recently started the process of transitioning as she adjusts to high school at the start of a new year.
In addition to navigating all the usual social and personal issues involved with those early teenage years while finding her place among her peers, she must also deal with the mounting pressures of gender identity while publicly identifying as female for the first time in her life.
She finds herself befriended by some female classmates, but doesn’t immediately tell them that she’s transitioning over fear of how they’ll react. As a result, she gets caught up in a fraught situation when she becomes bullied by Isabella, a classmate from her primary school who threatens to expose her secret to her new friends, taunting her by calling her by her previous name.
2. McQueen – Sunday, April 11, Crave (Stream)
CraveHis full name was Lee Alexander McQueen—he’s generally referred to as Alexander McQueen in the press, but his friends and colleagues just called him Lee—and he’s one of the most influential and subversive fashion designers to come along in recent memory. As such, the idea of devoting a documentary to McQueen’s life and career seemed like a no-brainer to directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, who approached the story by focusing on one of the man’s key mantras: “If you want to know me, just look at my work.”
In conjunction with the film’s original theatrical release in 2018, the filmmakers penned a letter to sum up the story they were telling—about a brilliant man who, tragically, took his own life in 2010. “We decided to make Lee’s words the cornerstone of the film, using his groundbreaking and subversive fashion shows as a lens through which to view the story of his life,” they wrote, addressing the way they chose to structure the documentary.
“We selected a half-dozen shows which coincided with turning points in his life and hinted at his personal angels and demons,” they added.
Viewers who might be expecting to see a film that’s all about fashion, however, will discover otherwise about as quickly as they determine that this is far from a traditional doc. In fact, it’s as unexpected and original as the man himself.
3. Fear the Walking Dead – Sunday, April 11, 6 p.m., 9:17 p.m. & 11:34 p.m., AMC
AMCThe end is the beginning. That’s the refrain that will be running through fans’ minds as the back half of season six arrives. The cryptic message has been plastered throughout this year, and now that the show is back, here’s hoping for some kind of clarification on what it actually means.
At the very least, this stretch of episodes should show the toll that living under Virginia’s control has taken on our heroes, with loyalties tested and friendships strained. It all picks up as Morgan continues his mission to free the surviving members of the group and Virginia is pushed to desperate lengths to find her sister and protect the settlements.
In other words, heads are about to butt, bullets about to be traded. It all sounds unnerving, to be sure, but on the plus side at least we know this series has been renewed for a seventh season already, so the end definitely is the beginning in that regard.
4. The People Vs. the Klan – Sunday, April 11, 6 p.m. & 7 p.m. (repeating at 9 p.m. and 10 pm.), CNN | Series Premiere
CNNIt all started with the death of a 19-year-old boy in 1981. When the body of Michael Donald was found hanging from a tree in Mobile, Alabama, members of the local African-American community were quick to attribute the lynching to the Ku Klux Klan. The local authorities, however, were less than speedy when it came to declaring Michael’s murder as racially motivated, but thanks to the pressure put on them by Black community leaders—headed by the victim’s mother, Beulah Mae Donald—the young man’s killers were brought to justice and the organization to which they belonged was brought to its knees, financially speaking.
5. The Nevers – Sunday, April 11, 8 p.m. & 12:05 a.m., HBO Canada
HBO CanadaFans of Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, and director of the first two Avengers movies) have been highly anticipating his latest, a quirky new fantasy drama. During the final years of Queen Victoria’s reign, London is beset by “Touched” people, primarily women, who suddenly manifest abnormal abilities, some charming, some highly disturbing. Among this group of meta-humans are Amalia True (Laura Donnelly), a mysterious, quick-fisted widow who poses a threat to Britain’s elite, and Penance Adair (Ann Skelly), a brilliant young inventor.
Also starring are Olivia Williams (as Lavinia Bidlow, a wealthy spinster who becomes benefactor to the Touched), Shaun of the Dead alum Nick Frost (playing Declan Orrun, a.k.a. the Beggar King, ruler of London’s low-level criminals) and American Horror Story’s Denis O’Hare (as brutal American surgeon Dr. Edmund Hague). Armed only with their unusual abilities, these extraordinary women face relentless enemies as they embark on a perilous mission that might just change the world.
All that said, it should be noted that Whedon is no longer the man at the helm of this particular series, having walked away from showrunning duties a few months prior to premiere. Chalk it up to the recent allegations that he created a toxic workplace on his various TV shows and films; but Whedon’s explanation for stepping down was: “This year of unprecedented challenges has impacted my life and perspective in ways I could never have imagined. I am genuinely exhausted and am stepping back to martial my energy towards my own life, which is also at the brink of exciting change.”
No word on what that change is, but in the meantime, The Nevers is now under the stewardship of Philippa Goslett (Little Ashes).
6. Keeping Faith – Monday, April 12, Acorn TV (Stream) | Season Premiere
Acorn TVHere comes the third season of this British thriller about lawyer Faith Howells (Eve Myles), who pieced together the mystery of her husband’s sudden disappearance. In the new season, she attempts to navigate the dissolution of her marriage, while taking on an emotionally wrenching legal medical case involving a gravely ill young boy. Into this mix, Faith is confronted by a terrible and long-buried figure from her past: her mother, Rose. Her sudden reappearance uncovers secrets in Faith’s background, and her ordeal across the season transforms her from a stay-at-home, fun-loving and carefree mother to a detective, action hero and lover.
7. Big Sky – Tuesday, April 13, 10 p.m., CTV & ABC
CTVWe don’t know much about what to expect when the back half of season one kicks off. However, now that John Carroll Lynch’s Legarski has met a pretty definitive end (picture a hammer to jog your memory), that leaves our leading law enforcers with far fewer clues than they had before the midseason finale.
8. The Secrets She Keeps – Wednesday, April 14, 8 p.m. & 9 p.m., CBC
CBCLaura Carmichael (Downton Abbey) and Jessica De Gouw (Underground) play two pregnant women with very little in common... until a chance encounter at the supermarket forces them both to make some tough decisions to protect themselves and their deep, dark secrets.
9. Chef Boot Camp – Thursday, April 15, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., Food | Series Premiere
FoodNo matter what your profession, most people can relate to feeling a little burnt-out now and again—to seeing the quality of your work take a little (or a large) dip as a result of mounting stress and waning inspiration. (Especially in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis.)
It’s something that can happen even to those folks who are lucky enough to be doing their dream job. Case in point: in each episode of this series, culinary director Cliff Crooks puts his vast experience running a worldwide restaurant brand to good use as he brings together three struggling chefs in need of a reboot. Nominated by their respective restaurant owners, these men and women are underperforming, not living up to their potential and now, their jobs are very much on the line.
Through an array of clever challenges, Cliff will both assess their skills and seek to rekindle their passion in a highly competitive, sink-or-swim environment. Can these disillusioned folks show both the kitchen guru and their own bosses that they have what it takes to pull their career out of the fire? Some will, and some most definitely will not.
10. The Nest – Friday, April 16, 8 p.m., Crave1
CraveIn this ’80-set drama, Jude Law plays Rory, an entrepreneur with boundless ambition who moves his American wife (Carrie Coon) and kids to his native England to pursue new business opportunities, only for things to grow increasingly tense after they take up residence in a manor far beyond their means.