From Netflix exclusives to documentaries to reality TV, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Food Network Star – Sunday, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., Food | Season Finale
Judges Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay (pictured above) grab some popcorn and milk duds and screen the TV pilots prepared by each of the final three contestants, before anointing one of them the next Food Network Star. Meanwhile, viewers get a glimpse into life behind-the-scenes at FNS.
2. 19-2 – Monday, August 14, 10 p.m., CTV
There have been plenty of Canadian cop dramas on television throughout the years, but very few of them have resonated with critics and audiences the way that this Canadian Screen Award-winning series has over the course of its three seasons. Shot like a documentary, it’s ambitiously tackled challenging issues like depression, police brutality, suicide and street violence, managing to arrest audiences with its unflinching depictions while also giving a voice to the real-life first responders who struggle with these kinds of problems each and every day.
It’s little wonder that training officers across our country now use some of the show’s scenes as a training tool for recruits, or that the producers of the series have such a great working relationship with the Montreal police force.
Now in its fourth and final season, 19-2 kicked off two weeks ago with a brand-new case for our tortured cops to tackle involving a giant mafia war that has had direct repercussions on the frayed relationship between Ben (Jared Keeso) and Nick (Adrian Holmes), compounding hard feelings from Amelie’s (Tattiawna Jones) death last year and pushing them closer to the edge, setting up an unclear future for these longtime partners.
As things continue to unravel this week, the pair are sidetracked when a case involving a raped prostitute leads them back to a familiar face they never thought they’d see again. Elsewhere, damning surveillance footage of Ben has major consequences, deepening the hole he’s been digging for himself this season.
This episode also marks the debut of new transfer Roxanne (Aiza Ntibarikure), and while she may be new, it’s quickly apparent she’s no rookie. What’s more, all the officers in the 19 will become a bit distracted as they vie for her attention.
3. Bachelor in Paradise – Monday, 8 p.m., City & ABC; Tuesday, 8 p.m., ABC; 10 p.m., City | Season Premiere
The Bachelor-verse is no stranger to controversy. From day one, people have been questioning the very notion that anyone on a reality TV competition is truly “looking for love,” while pondering the degree to which producers and post-production influence all the feuds, showmances and happily-ever-afters, and balking at the fact that it took over a decade for an African-American Bachelor or Bachelorette.
Recently, there was another, far more serious allegation that arose on spinoff Bachelor in Paradise, when a producer alleged that one contestant had been sexually victimized by another while she was intoxicated. Production was shut down as the studio and the alleged victim’s lawyer investigated, ultimately determining that nothing rising to the level of misconduct had taken place, though the show did agree to make changes to prevent such transgressions from occurring in the future.
While production did ultimately resume and all involved seem to have accepted the results of the investigations, it’s a dark cloud under which to enter this new season. Nonetheless, they’ve made the decision to press on, with the alleged victim understandably opting out.
And so it is that Nick “St. Nick” Benvenutti, Kristina Schulman, Ben Zorn, Jasmine Goode and an array of other Bachelors and Bachelorettes from previous seasons head to Mexico, as everyone attempts to take advantage of their second (or third, or fourth) shot at love. Will the fourth season of the spinoff result in a match rivalling last year’s super couple Carly Waddell and Evan Bass? Forge your first impressions and place your bets in this week’s two-night, four-hour kick-off.
4. Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo – Tuesday, August 15, Netflix
If you don’t know Brad Paisley’s music, you probably at least know that he’s a country singer, but did you know that he’s also a big comedy fan? Well, he is, and Netflix has provided Paisley with an opportunity to give a little love to some of his favourite standups, with Nate Bargatze, John Heffron, Jon Reep, Sarah Tiana and Mike E. Winfield all taking to the stage, while Paisley, a veteran host of the CMA Awards, plays emcee/musical entertainment. Also in the mix somewhere: David Hasselhoff, who—according to Netflix’s press release—will be performing a rescue of some sort. We’d like to think that Paisley will try to tell a few jokes, only for Hasselhoff to take the stage and say, “I’m here to save you.” When Paisley says he doesn’t need saving, the Hoff will say, “Actually, you do: you’re drowning.” (Thank you. We’ll be here all week.)
5. Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath – Tuesday, 6 p.m. & 10:03 p.m., A&E | Season Premiere
There are few better ways to get people riled than by bringing up the topic of religion. But Scientology is a controversy unto itself. Often derided as a cult (one known for roping in celebrities like Tom Cruise and Elisabeth Moss), the L. Ron Hubbard-founded faith has been accused of attacking and defaming both its own members and anyone who would presume to publicly defy them. This has led to numerous documentary projects aiming to expose the secretive religion. One of the most successful was launched by a former Scientologist: King of Queens alum Leah Remini. Hot off her show’s Television Critics Association Award win, Remini returns with a second season this week.
Through 10 brand-new episodes, she’ll continue her investigation into the church and its controversial methods while curating firsthand accounts from those who have been impacted by those methods—stories of depression, suicide, growing up in what is essentially a paramilitary organization, and even a chat with Oscar-winning Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis (Crash).
Remini’s efforts in season one earned her a lawsuit from her former brethren. Evidently, she hasn’t let it phase her.
6. Baroness von Sketch Show – Tuesday, August 15, 9 p.m., CBC
Although CBC sketch series Baroness von Sketch Show has been all the rage in Canada since its debut back in June 2016, it’s only just now making the jump across the border into America on U.S. cable channel IFC. In celebration of its Stateside arrival, Baronesses Aurora Browne, Meredith MacNeill, Carolyn Taylor and Jennifer Whalen popped up at the Television Critics Association press tour in late July, doing their darndest to fill our southern neighbours in on what they’re all about. Also, they had some fun teasing the assembled critics.
When Browne explained at one point, “We don’t do any impressions or anything like that, but I hope that you’ll see yourself represented somewhere in there,” Taylor promptly offered the clarification: “We do impressions of your family members. And your co-workers.” MacNeill then chimed in, “And your best friend.” Surrendering to the flow, Browne added, “Or the person you want to be or maybe have regretted that you ever were.”
In short, American audiences most likely have no clue what Baroness von Sketch Show is about. That’s OK, though: it just means that they can stay our little secret.
7. The F Word With Gordon Ramsay – Wednesday, 9 p.m., CTV & Fox | Season Finale
Settle in alongside some of Gordo’s VIP dinner guests for one last live cook-off. Teams of amateurs will try to impress the celeb chef and his pals with some culinary magic. Be warned: there will be F-bombs.
8. Claws – Wednesday, August 16, 7 p.m. & Midnight, Bravo
The acclaimed first season of this dark nail salon saga rolls on as the gang takes their first look at the new salon, where a coworker clash ultimately leads to a “nail-design battle.” In other news, Jenn uncovers a secret and Virginia gets a taste for “the finer things.”
9. Project Runway – Thursday, August 17, 6 p.m. & 11:30 p.m., Bravo | Season Premiere
A new crop of designers put their best fashion forward for Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum et al. New this season: they’ll be crafting haute couture for a much wider range of sizes, from 0-22. Stopping by as guest judges are Olivia Munn, Demi Lovato, Kate Upton, Maggie Q, Yolanda Hadid, Katie Holmes and more.
10. I Am Heath Ledger – Friday, 7:40 a.m., 12:15 p.m. & 6:55 p.m., HBO Canada
When actor Heath Ledger overdosed on prescription medication on January 22, 2008, seven months before the release of what would become his defining role in The Dark Knight, the world was shocked and horrified. Some claimed that the 28-year-old was so caught up in the twisted mind of the Joker that he just couldn’t shake the character and succumbed to his demons. This documentary does its best to dismiss that theory, and it does so rather successfully, thanks to interviews with Ledger’s family as well as past co-stars like Naomi Watts and directors like Ang Lee and Catherine Hardwicke, who shed new light on a gifted artist cut down in his prime.