From an animated prime minister to Billboard's biggest honour, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. The Redemption Project – Sunday, April 28, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., CNN I Series Premiere
CNNAs anyone following current TV trends knows, our obsession with true crime seems insatiable these days. And that can create a problem for the very real victims who are often forgotten in our debates about the whos and whys of it all. That’s what could well set this incoming series apart from the rest, as it not only tackles things from the victims’ points-of-view, but also explores human nature and our capacity for forgiveness when it comes to the offenders.
Across eight episodes, producers seek out victims and/or their surviving family members and follow them on journeys of healing. CNN’s Van Jones plays the role of host, providing context for the viewer as cameras follow the aggrieved into U.S. prisons, where they come face-to-face with the convict who changed their life. It’s being marketed as an exercise in “restorative justice,” helping victims make sense of the trauma, prompting offenders to take ownership of it, and to whatever extent possible, repairing the damage of a heinous act as opposed to simply punishing the guilty party.
2. Mary’s Kitchen Crush – Sunday, April 28, 7 p.m., CTV I Series Premiere
CTVMasterChef Canada winner Mary Berg kicks off her new series—an edible love letter to the people in her life who have inspired her—with a special premiere episode dedicated to one of the most important influences of all: her mom.
3. The Simpsons – Sunday, April 28, 8 p.m., City & Fox
CityWhen the Simpsons visit Niagara Falls, Lisa accidentally receives political asylum in Canada, and when Marge goes to rescue her, the pervasive politeness in our home and native land makes them less than eager for a return to the U.S. Look out for an appearance by Justin Trudeau (alas, not voiced by the PM himself).
4. The Red Line – Sunday, April 28, 8 p.m., CBS I Series Premiere
CBSThe opening moments of The Red Line feel ripped straight from the headlines: On his way back from work, a black doctor becomes witness to a robbery and, in trying to help the store clerk, is shot on sight by a white police officer, who believes him to be the robber. The tragedy sets off a chain reaction throughout the city of Chicago, reflective of the national conversation happening all around the United States today.
Named for the train that runs through Chicago, the “Red Line” stands as a metaphor for the city: diverse but segregated. “The Red Line goes from the very north of the city to the very south of the city, traversing every neighbourhood and demographic,” says Caitlin Parrish, who with fellow playwright Erica Weiss wrote the anthology series that explores race relations in the Windy City. “As segregated as Chicago is, there is this means of transportation that touches on every kind of person in the city.”
The eight-episode drama about the victim’s husband Daniel Calder (Noah Wyle) and daughter Jira (Aliyah Royale) taking up the fight against the Chicago police with the help of aspiring politician Tia Young (Emayatzy Corinealdi), was originally conceived as a play 10 years ago. “The main characters were Daniel and Jira, who were reeling from the death of his husband and her father, an event that set off Jira’s search for her birth mother and a connection to her black roots,” says Parrish. “When we decided to turn this play into [a series], we were asking ourselves, ‘How could we turn their story of perseverance and loss into a relevant and necessary conversation in television today?’ The conclusion we reached is that there are two Americas living side by side and many different privileges and justices experienced depending on which America happens to be yours.”
5. American Gods – Monday, April 29, Amazon Prime Video I Season Finale
Amazon PrimeMany fans who enjoyed the first season have been underwhelmed with the second, and viewership has reportedly dropped dramatically. While the show has already been renewed, producers’ plans for a six-season story arc are said to be up in the air, as are plans for a potential spinoff.
6. Love It or List It: Vancouver – Monday, April 29, 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., HGTV
HGTVSeven years into their labour of love and construction, Jillian Harris and Todd Talbot still maintain that the highlights of Love It or List It: Vancouver mostly end up on the cutting-room floor. “Oh, no—you don’t understand. What you see is the top 10 percent. The other 90 you don’t get to hear,” says Talbot, with Harris adding that the humour between the two goes overboard, “every day.” But while the playful ribbing is what fans love most about the show where families choose between their newly renovated home, courtesy of designer Harris, or a new abode sourced by realtor Talbot, these “fierce rivals” are very much on the same page behind the scenes.
7. The Show Must Go On: The Queen & Adam Lambert Story – Monday, April 29, 8 p.m., ABC
ABCOne of Queen’s earliest hits was “Keep Yourself Alive,” an apt sentiment for the band’s struggle to continue after the 1991 death of singer Freddie Mercury. While Oscar-winning biopic Bohemian Rhapsody concluded with the band’s triumph at the Live Aid concert in 1985, what moviegoers didn’t see was the surviving members in the years after Mercury’s death, languishing through the remainder of the ’90s. According to lore, it was an offhand remark from Elton John that brought the band out of hibernation when he quipped, “You guys should go out and play again. It must be like having a Ferrari in the garage waiting for a driver.”
8. Frontline – Tuesday, April 30, 7 p.m., WTVS; 10 p.m., KCTS
KCTSThe landmark documentary The Last Survivors introduces viewers to some very unique seniors, some of the last remaining survivors of the Holocaust. Young children at the time they were placed in concentration camps, these now-elderly survivors reflect on how the harrowing trauma of the Holocaust during their formative years stayed with them throughout the decades, affecting various other aspects of their lives.
9. Billboard Music Awards – Wednesday, May 1, 8 p.m., CTV2 & NBC
NBCWe still don’t know how we feel about Cardi B’s quest to trademark her signature use of the word “OK,” but if there’s any time she could pull it off, it’s now—at the peak of her pop-cultural powers. And we’re not just talking about that Super Bowl Pepsi commercial she did with Steve Carell. Heading into one of music’s biggest nights, the “I Like It” rapper has a whopping 21 nominations across 18 categories, more than any other artist. In fact, had she received just one more nod, she would have tied with Drake and The Chainsmokers for the all-time record of 22. As it stands, she’s competing against herself in three categories (including Top 100 song), so we’ll be surprised if she doesn’t walk away with some heavy hardware by the time the Kelly Clarkson-hosted event wraps.
10. Tuca & Bertie – Friday, May 3, Netflix I Series Premiere
NetflixGiven how incredibly successful BoJack Horseman has been for Netflix over the course of its run, it’s a little surprising that it’s taken this long for the streaming giant to try and launch another series from the show’s creative team. Thankfully, the wait is over: Lisa Hanawalt has delivered unto us Tuca & Bertie, and it takes merely a cursory glance at the animation style to make it completely unsurprising news that Hanawalt was a producer and production designer on BoJack. Tuca and Bertie are a pair of 30-something bird women: Tuca, voiced by rising comedy force Tiffany Haddish, is a toucan whose attitude is as big as her bill, while Bertie (standup comic Ali Wong) is a songbird who’s decidedly more demure and prone to daydreaming. While you might think they would be far too different to get along, it’s those differences that inspire Bertie to want to be around Tuca.