From the return of a reality mainstay to the finale of a fan favourite, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie — Sunday, February 16, 5 p.m., 7:50 p.m. & 10:40 p.m., AMC
AMCFor anyone who doesn’t subscribe to Netflix, here’s a chance to see the Breaking Bad follow-up film that premiered on the streaming service last year. Set immediately after the events of the Breaking Bad finale, meth-maker Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) makes a bold run for freedom after having been imprisoned by a gang of white supremacists, taking off in a vintage El Camino. In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future, which is easier said than done considering he’s also wanted by the police.
Look for several members of the original Breaking Bad cast reprising their roles, including Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, Jonathan Banks, Charles Baker, Matt Jones and, yes, even Walter “Heisenberg” White himself, Bryan Cranston. For fans of the original show seeking closure, El Camino gets the job done.
2. Briarpatch — Sunday, February 16, 7 p.m., Showcase | Series Premiere
ShowcaseNoir stories featuring hard-boiled private detectives on the trails of murderers were wildly popular in the 1950s, and a new series updates that familiar genre in some weird and unexpected ways.
Briarpatch is an anthology drama described as “a twisted tale in 10 parts,” beginning with P.I. Allegra Dill (Rosario Dawson) returning to her small Texas hometown to mourn the death of her police-officer sister—and find out who killed her. As the investigation takes her down some unforeseen rabbit holes, Allegra finds herself making some powerful enemies as she rips the lid off a conspiracy of corruption built on a foundation of lies. Based on the novel by Ross Thomas, the TV version takes some liberties with the original story—one of which involves the gender of the protagonist, who was male in the book.
The cast also includes Kim Dickens (Deadwood) as the authoritative chief of police and Jay R. Ferguson (Mad Men) as Allegra’s enigmatic childhood friend, Jake—now a local kingpin. In addition, Ed Asner and Alan Cumming appear in guest-starring roles in a series that goes out of its way to shock and surprise.
3. American Idol — Sunday, February 16, 8 p.m., CTV2 & ABC | Season Premiere
CTVThe third revival-season of TV’s original clash of crooners kicks off, as ever, with the Auditions round.
Tonight, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie venture forth in search of the best and worst would-be Idols the U.S. has to offer. In later weeks, once we’re done with all the preliminary cheers and jeers, it’s off to Hollywood, where the competition will be whittled down even further. At that juncture, the competition’s latest twist takes effect, as last year’s fan favourite Layla Spring joins the other finalists; Spring got a second chance at making her dreams come true by winning a fan-voted sing-off aired during this past American Music Awards, when she beat out fellow season-two competitors Logan Johnson and Shawn Richardson.
Meanwhile, Bobby Bones is back as the in-house mentor and the immortal Ryan Seacrest will be your emcee.
4. Duncanville — Sunday, February 16, 8:30 p.m., City & Fox | Series Premiere
FoxAmy Poehler doesn’t mind getting cartoonish in her latest television role... actually, roles.
The SNL and Parks and Recreation vet supplies the voices of both the young central character and his mother in Duncanville. The life of 15-year-old Duncan might not seem special on the surface, but he’s got a downright outlandish fantasy life, which he uses to glamourize the banality of his actual existence. Those adventures in adolescence (real and imagined) form the basis for a series also featuring Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Riki Lindhome (Another Period) in the regular voice cast, with rap superstar Wiz Khalifa and Poehler’s old Parks and Rec buddy Rashida Jones among the recurring guest stars.
Poehler is a creator and executive producer of the series as well, along with married Simpsons alums Mike Scully and Julie Thacker (Scully also worked with Poehler earlier on Parks and Recreation).
5. Outlander — Sunday, February 16, 9 p.m., W Network | Season Premiere
W NetworkAfter venturing across eras and oceans, our perpetually time-crossed lovers have finally built a solid foundation for their life together in the New World. On Fraser’s Ridge, in North Carolina, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and his wife Claire (Caitriona Balfe) have made a home not just for their daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and her fiancé Roger Wakefield MacKenzie (Richard Rankin), who returned to his pregnant bride at the end of season four, but a community of settlers starting their lives fresh with Jamie as their fierce leader.
Yet as foreshadowed in the previous season, the land and power given to the Frasers will come at a cost. The fifth season has barely begun when Jamie is asked to hunt down and kill his dear friend and father figure Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix), now leader of the Regulator movement that views the colonial officials as enemies. Though things are never quite so simple as they seem, Jamie joining forces with his longtime tormentors the Redcoats is a sight that might send longtime fans into a tizzy.
6. Good Girls — Sunday, February 16, 10 p.m., NBC | Season Premiere
NBCWhat would happen if, instead of making nearly perfect meth, Walter White was in the business of making nearly perfect counterfeit dollar bills? And then instead of being a middle-aged white dude, he was actually a single mom, tired of being undervalued, underappreciated and totally trapped in suburban drudgery?
Well, there’s really no need to wonder, since we’ve already had two seasons of this Breaking Bad-indebted series. But given that it’s been criminally underwatched, we’ll offer a primer: three Michigan moms stumble into a life of crime out of desperation and then can’t seem to stop once the money and excitement start rolling in.
Beth (Christina Hendricks), Annie (Mae Whitman) and Ruby (Retta) return for season three tonight, with the ladies about to launch yet another new criminal enterprise, unaware that Agent Turner and his “surprise informant” are closing in. Meanwhile, Beth, still torn up over her role in Rio’s “death,” finds herself with a new pal.
7. Criminal Minds — Wednesday, February 19, 9 p.m. & 10 p.m., CTV & CBS | Series Finale
CTVThe FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit profiles its last-ever criminal mind, as Rossi, Prentiss and the team turn in their badges and guns with a two-part season-15 finale. It’s been a somewhat-tumultuous ride for this grisly serial-killer thriller, with multiple cast shakeups (remember when this was the Mandy Patinkin-Thomas Gibson show?)—several of them steeped in controversy. Nonetheless, along the way, a family was forged.
“The chemistry is 110 percent real,” Canadian star A.J. Cook (a.k.a. J.J.) told Parade magazine. “We really enjoy each other and we know what we have is special. We know that lightning is probably not going to strike twice with that kind of chemistry... I’m so extremely grateful for that time that we had to see these characters grow up, change, go through the wringer and come out the other side and come out better for it.”
As for what to expect in tonight’s two-hour end game, everyone’s been pretty tight-lipped, but star Aisha Tyler (Dr. Tara Lewis) promised TVLine it would be three things: “Massive, explosive and transformative.”
8. Hunters — Friday, February 21, Netflix | Series Premiere
Amazon Prime VideoWelcome to 1970s America, where former Nazi officers hide in plain sight, skirting their comeuppance... until a group of Jewish vigilantes—led by Al Pacino—sets out to remedy that. Creator David Weil (with some help from producer Jordan Peele) crafted this fictionalized take on history after hearing stories of the Holocaust from his grandma and feeling a strong desire to share something of that harrowing saga with modern audiences. But while actual Nazi hunters certainly did exist decades ago, they were slightly less bloodthirsty than this imagined group.
“There’s an originality in this show and it’s somewhat eccentric,” Pacino explains. “It isn’t just that dead, dry thing. There are a lot of elements in it that catch you off-guard.”
Logan Lerman, Jerrika Hinton, Josh Radnor and Carol Kane round out the cast.
9. The Hours — Friday, February 21, 7:30 p.m., TCM
TCMNicole Kidman picked up an Oscar in 2003 for her take on Virginia Woolf circa 1923, battling depression as she pens Mrs. Dalloway—a novel which echoes into two other storylines: that of a pregnant, frustrated 1940s housewife (Julianne Moore) and an early-2000s book editor (Meryl Streep).
10. Fresh Off the Boat — Friday, February 21, 8 p.m. & 8:30 p.m., ABC | Series Finale
ABCIt’s been a key cog in ABC’s comedy lineup for six seasons, but all good things must come to an end, and this week, Fresh Off the Boat sails into the sunset with two final episodes. Of course, that’s about a season later than star Constance Wu would’ve preferred... or at least that’s how it seemed when the show’s season-six pickup was announced, at which point Wu tweeted she was “so upset right now that I’m literally crying.” And when someone else described the renewal as “great news,” she replied, “No, it’s not.” (She later posted an explanation: the renewal meant that she had to drop another project that she’d been very excited about, “so my dismayed social media [posts] were more about that other project and not about FOtB.”)
But how’s this for a perfect ending? The series finale is being directed by one of its stars: Randall Park. “I am so thrilled,” Park said on Good Morning America. “This show, aside from being hilarious and full of heart from beginning to end, has provided so many opportunities for so many of us.”