From historical French rebels to the battle for the Iron Throne, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Les Miserables on Masterpiece – Sunday, April 14, 6 p.m. & 10 p.m., WTVS; 9 p.m., KCTS I Series Premiere
PBSThe Victor Hugo novel, turned Broadway show, turned Oscar-winning musical, is remade as a star-studded TV miniseries. This six-part adaptation features a slew of heavy-hitting Brits, including Dominic West (The Affair) as bread thief Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo (Selma) as obsessed lawman Javert and Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply) as the piece’s tragic heroine Fantine. As in previous versions this (decidedly non-musical) take tackles the dark underbelly of France’s lower class and the lengths to which people must go to survive. It’s a haunting, poignant tale and although it’s a period piece, the harsh realities explored are timeless. Another point in its favour: rounding out the ensemble as villainous innkeeper Madame Thénardier is Olivia Colman whose recent Oscar win for The Favourite simply could not have come at a better time for PBS’s marketing department.
2. Game of Thrones – Sunday, April 14, 8 p.m. & Midnight, HBO Canada I Season Premiere
HBO CanadaIt has all led to this moment. After years of fighting their individual crusades in the seven corners of Westeros and Essos, the key players of Game of Thrones finally gather to battle one common enemy: the Night King. “There’s a really interesting sense of equality in this season, because everyone is in equal amounts of peril,” says Hannah Murray, who portrays wildling Gilly. “Those hierarchies that used to mean a lot, mean a lot less now.”
Everyone brings to the table not just their strengths, but their collective emotional baggage. “All of these characters have come so far since we first met them,” says John Bradley, whose character Samwell Tarly returned from the Citadel at the end of last season in possession of information that could alter the course of Westeros’s history. “The congestion of character story, character psychology, hopes, fears, aims, pain, battle scars and experience is now concentrated. That’s going to create friction and that’s going to create drama.”
3. Madam Secretary – Sunday, April 14, 10 p.m., Global & CBS
GlobalThey say timing is all. So as Elizabeth prepares to announce her candidacy for president, a news article detailing a supposed affair with President Dalton back in her CIA days stands to be pretty damaging. Especially considering this is one “scandal” that could shatter both her personal and professional life.
4. Shark Tank – Sunday, April 14, 10:01 p.m., CTV2 & ABC
ABCWith brand guru Rohan Oza sitting in with the Sharks, they welcome an Illinois entrepreneur pitching a provocative party game, a New Jersey inventor with a reusable bottle-emptying device that offers a solution for getting the last drop out of a product and a California man’s healthy alternative to soda.
5. Disasters at Sea – Tuesday, April 16, 7 p.m. & 11 p.m., Discovery I Series Premiere
DiscoveryThis new made-in-Canada series unravels the heretofore unknown mysteries behind some of the most devastating deep-sea disasters in modern maritime history, with dedicated marine investigators tracking down new evidence to find out what really happened. Combining harrowing re-enactments with expert analysis, each episode utilizes archival footage, CGI animation and special effects to immerse viewers in the catastrophic events behind these unimaginable accidents. The debut episode takes a look at the M.V. Derbyshire, a bulk cargo carrier that went down in the South China Sea in 1980. When an underwater image of the ship suggests the crew may be to blame for the Derbyshire sinking, the families of the deceased refuse to believe it, and launch their own intensive investigation — which not only clears the crew of any wrongdoing, but also uncovers a shocking problem that’s currently placing other lives at risk.
6. Bless This Mess – Tuesday, April 16, 9:30 p.m., ABC I Series Premiere
ABCBless This Mess stars Lake Bell and Dax Shepard as Rio and Mike, newlyweds who come to the conclusion that the best way to start their new life together is to quit their jobs, leave the Big Apple and begin their marital bliss in—record scratch—rural Nebraska? Keen for a “simpler” life living off the land as farmers, they soon realize the big-city problems they left behind have been replaced by the unanticipated conundrum of having absolutely no idea how to run a farm.
7. The Rookie – Tuesday, April 16, 10 p.m., CTV & ABC I Season Finale
As the Nathan Fillion series wraps its first season this week, so too does the rookies’ first phase of training come to an end. But as they all prep for the big exam to see who moves on, Nolan and Bishop have other things on their minds when the scene they’re called to winds up connected to a potential terrorist attack.
8. SEAL Team – Wednesday, April 17, 10 p.m., Global & CBS
GlobalExpect tensions to rise even higher than usual when Hayes (David Boreanaz) and the rest of Bravo Team are out for revenge, seeking the person responsible for a surprise bomb attack that left one of their own in grave peril. Meanwhile, look for guest star Kristy Swanson (star of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie), who’s being teased as a potential love interest for the character played by Boreanaz—who, as longtime fans know, has his own deep-seated Buffy connection.
9. Star Trek: Discovery – Thursday, April 18, 5 p.m. & 10 p.m., Space I Season Finale
Skepticism initially greeted CBS’s plans for a Star Trek revival. After all, resuscitating a beloved brand is always a risk, and the last TV attempt to put a grittier spin on the utopian Trek universe resulted in the thoroughly underwhelming Enterprise. Add behind-the-scenes shakeups and production delays, and Discovery wasn’t exactly sparking confidence in the early going. Fast-forward to this week and not only is the series wrapping its second critically acclaimed season, but the show will get to keep on boldly going for season three.
Meanwhile, major growth awaits the brand over the next few years, with several projects in development that seek to parlay the success of the mothership series into a full fleet. First, we can expect another batch of “shorts” in between the second and third seasons of Discovery, continuing to flesh out the supporting characters in Michael Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) orbit. Meanwhile, fans are eagerly awaiting the limited series Picard, which will see Patrick Stewart reprise his role as the indisputable best captain in Trek history, in what’s being reported as a very different sort of story for the intergalactic renaissance man, one set in the aftermath of the Romulan Empire’s downfall.
10. Someone Great – Friday, April 19, Netflix
Someone Great stars Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin) as Jenny, an aspiring music journalist who’s just scored a dream job at a legendary magazine and wants to have one last night on the town with her best buds Blair (Pitch Perfect’s Brittany Snow) and Erin (She’s Gotta Have It’s DeWanda Wise). Plus, she’s hoping it’ll help her deal with the fact that her boyfriend (Lakeith Stanfield, Atlanta) has just kicked her to the curb after almost a decade because he can’t deal with the idea of leaving New York. Rounding out the cast is Rodriguez’s erstwhile Jane The Virgin cast-mate Rosario Dawson.