From an acclaimed docuseries to a star-studded tribute to TV legend Carol Burnett, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. From – Sunday, April 23, Paramount+ | Season Premiere
It’s always fun to stumble upon a quaint little town in the midst of a long road trip. Sometimes, you feel like you could just stay there forever... and sometimes, the town doesn’t give you a choice. That was the jump-off point for this Lost-like series from the Marvel-ous Russo brothers when it debuted last year, introducing us to a disparate group of strangers who were brought together and trapped within an inescapable ’burgh with endless horrors and fresh mysteries revealed each week. (That includes monsters that look like humans and attack anyone foolish enough to be outdoors at night.) By the finale, there were cliffhangers aplenty. According to the show’s official logline, we’ll get at least some answers in this sophomore season... which of course will be replaced by plenty more burning questions. “Hidden truths about the nature and terrifying origins of the town begin to emerge, even as life for its residents is plunged into chaos by the arrival of mysterious newcomers,” it reads.
We can only guess the “newcomers” are those who arrived on the bus that pulled into town at the end of season one. We’ll meet them in the premiere as Donna (Elizabeth Saunders) and Kenny (Ricky He) struggle to manage all the chaos in Sheriff Boyd’s (Harold Perrineau) absence. Meanwhile, that spooky underground discovery in last year’s finale will also come into play in a big way, and Victor (played by newly promoted series regular Scott McCord) and Tabitha (Catalina Sandino Moreno) attempt to navigate those tunnels in hopes of finding both daylight and answers.
2. Somebody Somewhere – Sunday, April 23, HBO Canada | Season Premiere
HBO original comedies tend to fall into one of two categories: critically acclaimed ratings smashes or critically acclaimed under-the-radar gems that deserve a bigger audience. The first season of Somebody Somewhere definitely didn’t pull in the numbers of, say, Barry, but it resonated profoundly with the viewers who gave it a chance.
If you missed out the first time around, then you should definitely go back and check out season one. Doing so will introduce you to Sam (Bridget Everett), who was born in Kansas, still lives in Kansas and is continuing to try and find herself in a world—and within a family—where she’s never quite fit. During the course of that first season, Sam reunited with her high school friend Joel (Jeff Hiller) and discovered there was a community of fellow outsiders in her conservative small town that not only allowed but actually encouraged our heroine to be herself. In kind, Joel and his pals were sent off on a bit of a journey themselves as a direct result of their friendship with Sam.
Among the developments we can expect in season two: the addition of a new boyfriend for Joel, played by instantly recognizable comedy character actor Tim Bagley (late of Grace and Frankie). “Unlike me, Tim was just offered the role,” Hiller quipped to Variety last month. “They were like, ‘We’re lucky if we can get Tim.’ It was more like, ‘Hiller, get your chemistry right with Tim.’ I originally thought that Joel might get back together with his season-one boyfriend, but I think this story is much more interesting.”
One tragic disappointment: the death of Mike Hagerty, who played Sam’s father Ed. He won’t soon be forgotten, and you can expect the show to pay appropriate homage to character and actor alike.
3. John Mulaney: Baby J – Tuesday, April 25, Netflix
It’s been a weird couple of years for John Mulaney, and not just the kind of “weird” that everyone’s been dealing with since the pandemic. The legendary SNL writer turned standup sensation went through a high-profile separation from his wife, Anna Marie, and found his way into a new relationship with a fellow celeb, Olivia Munn, with whom he had a baby. And that’s not to mention the fact that he fell off the wagon and had to enter rehab. Now, however, the man’s life seems to have stabilized—hence the arrival of this new special, which was filmed at Boston’s Symphony Hall in February.
To help bring the funny, John has recruited Alex Timbers (Mozart in the Jungle) to direct. Meanwhile, supplying the tunes will be pop music icon David Byrne—who, as you may recall, also appeared in Mulaney’s Sack Lunch Bunch special.
4. Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love – Wednesday, April 26, NBC
For anyone who’s ever thought Carol Burnett’s birthday should be a national event, now it is.
One way in which the much-beloved comedy icon will spend her special day Wednesday, April 26, is Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love, NBC’s new all-star celebration of the groundbreaking funnywoman. The show will be filled with tributes from many of her friends and peers, including Dame Julie Andrews and former Carol Burnett Show cohorts Vicki Lawrence and costumer Bob Mackie... as well as Cher, Lily Tomlin, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Aileen Quinn (of Annie) and Bill Hader (to whom Burnett learned she is related on PBS’s Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recently).
Additional guests including Katy Perry, Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, Billy Porter and Jane Lynch perform musical segments during the show, each commemorating a significant part of Burnett’s career. Among those are her portrayal of Miss Hannigan in the 1982 film version of Annie, and her trademark singing of “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together” (complete with ear-tug message to her grandmother) at the end of each episode of The Carol Burnett Show.
“It was quite a night,” six-time Primetime Emmy-winner Burnett says of the March taping of the program. “I’m still kind of reeling from it. It’s not a roast or a birthday party, it’s really a variety show. A lot of my dear friends were there, and my ‘chum’ Julie Andrews was by my side the whole evening; she lives back East, and she flew out just for this. I was totally gobsmacked, I have to say!”
Burnett also has a Tony, a Grammy, a Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award among her many accolades. Additionally, she has seven Golden Globes, and that ceremony named an honour after her for contributions to television; appropriately, she was its first recipient.
The Burnett birthday event is, she reflects, “really a retrospective of everything I’ve ever done, practically, starting way back with my almost-first television appearance... on Omnibus. Then, [the special] covers The Garry Moore Show when I was a regular on that, and movies that I’ve done, and TV appearances other than my own show. But, of course, The Carol Burnett Show is in there, too.”
Expect the late Harvey Korman, Tim Conway and Lyle Waggoner to be seen bountifully in Carol Burnett Show clips during the night, but there will be no doubt who the evening’s true star is. And just as it’s been for so many years, those physically near her—as well as those watching at home—will be so glad to still be in her orbit.
5. Iconic America: Our Symbols and Stories with David Rubenstein – Wednesday, April 26, WTVS & KCTS | Series Premiere
Author David Rubenstein hosts this eight-episode series that tells the fascinating true stories behind some of America’s most legendary symbols, ranging from Boston’s Fenway Park to the Hollywood Sign. Shot on location across the country, Rubenstein invites historical experts and community members such as former Red Sox star David “Big Papi” Ortiz and TV personality Melissa Rivers to examine how people engage with these subjects and how the meanings of the symbols themselves have evolved over time as a gateway to understanding America’s past and present.
6. The 1619 Project – Wednesday, April 26, Disney+ | Series Premiere
An adaptation of the New York Times Magazine’s acclaimed 1619 Project, this six-part docuseries seeks to reframe American history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the centre of the narrative. The first episode focuses on the centuries-long—and still ongoing—struggles of African-Americans to exercise their right to vote, while the second explores the idea that race is a political invention to justify the economic exploitation of Black slaves by promoting white supremacy. Other episodes touch on the contributions that Black people made to American music, how slavery formed the bedrock of U.S. capitalism and how historical events prevented Black Americans from achieving generational wealth. “This is the story of America,” explained host Nikole Hannah-Jones, during an appearance at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “I mean, that’s our argument, is that you can’t understand the story of America without understanding the story of slavery and Black Americans. So I think it’s really important that when we set the tone for what this documentary series is, that this is not a documentary series about Black people. It’s a documentary series about America. And all Americans should come away with a better understanding of the country that we live in.”
7. Love & Death – Thursday, April 27, Crave1 | Series Premiere
There are all too many true crime stories about men and their misdeeds. But it’s considerably less often that we hear about women who get their hands bloody. Perhaps that’s why this is the second dramatization of the Candy Montgomery story to come along in less than a year. Following last May’s Candy starring Jessica Biel on Disney+, comes producer David E. Kelley’s fresh take starring Elizabeth Olsen. She plays the accused murderer in question, who struck her neighbour 41 times with an axe “in self-defence” back in 1980. The reason? She said Betty Gore (Lily Rabe) found out about Candy’s affair with her husband, Allan (Jesse Plemons). Once charged, Candy beat a lie detector, and eventually a jury of nine women and three men found her not guilty. To this day, it’s among the most controversial trials in Texas history.
The first three episodes of the six-part mini debut Thursday, with weekly instalments to follow.
8. Sweet Tooth – Thursday, April 27, Netflix | Season Premiere
The whimsical fantasy about a boy who’s half-human, half-deer and all-heart returns, fleshing out its offbeat post-apocalyptic world wherein “hybrids” fight to survive against those who would exterminate or exploit them. In season two, a new wave of “The Sick” bears down as Gen. Abbot and the Last Men hold our heroes prisoner.
9. Peter Pan & Wendy – Friday, April 28, Disney+
Disney has experienced mixed success in its quest to produce live-action versions of its animated classics, and the studio’s latest tackles Peter Pan, first released in 1953. When Wendy Darling (Ever Anderson) and her siblings are taken from their London home to Neverland by Peter Pan (Alexander Molony), they embark on a magical adventure that places them at odds with vengeful pirate Captain Hook (Jude Law). Featuring Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell, the cast also includes Alan Tudyk and Molly Parker as Mr. and Mrs. Darling, and Jim Gaffigan as Smee. “In making Peter Pan & Wendy, we set out to craft a film that honours both the original J.M. Barrie text and Walt Disney’s animated adaptation; we wanted to invigorate our retelling with emotional sincerity, an open heart and a grand yearning for adventure,” said director David Lowery. “Hundreds of incredible artists spent many years bringing this film to the screen; I’m excited for audiences to see their work, to go on this ride and to rediscover an evergreen tale from a new perspective.”
10. King of Collectibles: The Goldin Touch – Friday, April 28, Netflix | Series Premiere
Pawn Stars, except make it sports! That’s the best way to describe Netflix’s latest foray into reality TV—starring one of the industry’s best-known experts in rare sports cards and collectibles, Ken Goldin. Over six half-hour episodes, cameras follow Ken and his team at Goldin Auctions to showcase how one man turned his hobby into a multibillion-dollar business. Follow along as everyday fans, stars and even pro athletes turn to this hustler to buy and sell rare collectibles. Season-one guest stars include Joe Montana, Peyton Manning (who also serves as an exec producer) and Mike Tyson. From a game-worn Jackie Robinson jersey to a signed Michael Jordan uniform, Goldin trafficks in some of the most coveted and exorbitantly priced items known to fan-kind.