From new Netflix offerings to a visit from literature's favourite bear, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale – Sunday, February 18, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixThe star of Community, The Great Outdoors
and the dearly departed The Soup, Joel McHale hosts this modestly titled talk show for Netflix. According to the press details, the weekly topical series will take “a sharp, absurdist look at pop culture and news from across the globe,” serving up a “fast and funny distillation of everything people are talking
about that week.” Each episode will feature a mix of “celebrity guests, comedy sketches and insane video clips from the worldwide realms
of TV, sports, politics, celebrity culture and every corner of the Internet.” This marks Netflix’s first attempt at an unscripted weekly talk show since Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea, which was ultimately cancelled after two seasons. While the format of McHale’s new show remains to be seen, if it manages to capture even a fraction of the snarky hilarity of The Soup, it will be a welcome addition to the current crop of late-night comedy shows.
2. Victoria on Masterpiece – Sunday, February 18, 6 p.m. & 10 p.m., WTVS; 9 p.m., KCTS
PBSAlbert accidentally creates trouble for Prime Minister Peel, who is facing the biggest political battle of his career. Meanwhile, a personal tragedy forces everyone to make sacrifices, as Victoria and Albert face every parent’s worst nightmare.
3. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – Sunday, February 18, 10 p.m. & 3 a.m., HBO Canada | Season Premiere
HBO CanadaRemember that scene in Superman II where the president of the United States makes a statement under duress, gives control of the country to the Kryptonian supervillain known as General Zod, then yells, “Superman, can you hear me? Superman, where are you?” Well, in today’s political climate, if Donald Trump is General Zod, then a pale, bespectacled Brit is America’s Superman. Thankfully, this modern-day Man of Steel is finally coming back to save the day—or at least, to deliver some big laughs at the current commander-in-chief’s expense—and, boy, has he been missed.
4. Paddington – Monday, February 19, 1 p.m. & 8 p.m., W Network
TWCIn a warm and witty adaptation of the classic children’s books, Ben Whishaw voices the wayward Peruvian bear, who comes to London to find a home, gets taken in by the kindly Brown family (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins) and is hunted by a psychotic taxidermist (Nicole Kidman).
5. Warren Jeffs: Prophet of Evil – Monday, February 19, 6 p.m. & 10:03 p.m., A&E
A&E/Seth NeJameThis documentary examines the sinister life of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, founder of the controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years for an array of crimes, including two felony counts of child sexual assault. Current and former FLDS members discuss their experience with Jeffs, who is rumoured to have 78 wives and more than 50 children.
6. The Frankenstein Chronicles – Tuesday, February 20, Netflix
NetflixNetflix is releasing both seasons of this British drama that reimagines Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, with Sean Bean starring as a police officer who discovers a corpse made up of the body parts of eight missing children, launching an investigation that leads down a chilling path.
7. Seven Seconds – Friday, February 23, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixTelevision offers a unique platform for storytellers to launch an in-depth interrogation of the status quo, and to shatter preconceived notions about certain aspects of society. That’s precisely what creator Veena Sud (The Killing) is setting out to do with this new series starring Emmy winner Regina King (American Crime).
The action commences when a black teenager is accidentally run over by a white policeman in New Jersey. But rather than stop to help his victim, the officer takes off, leaving the kid
to die alone in the cold. Seven Seconds sets its sights on the issue of race, as expressed through the harrowing journey of the deceased’s mother (King) and the black assistant prosecutor (Doctor Foster’s Clare Hope-Ashitey) who finds herself tasked with uncovering the truth and seeking justice. In that way, one might say this narrative hews closer to several headline-grabbing real-life cases, including the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who perished from neck injuries suffered while in police custody.
8. The Tick – Friday, February 23, Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime VideoIf you went into Amazon’s new incarnation of the big, blue superhero known as The Tick looking for a madcap comedy along the lines of the short-lived Fox version of the character, you may have been startled by the darker direction taken by season one’s first six episodes. There are still plenty of silly superhero shenanigans, but with Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman in the roles of the titular character and his partner Arthur (a.k.a. The Moth), we’ve also gotten pitch-black humour, bloodsoaked massacres and even a surprisingly nuanced engagement with grief and mental illness.
Where are things headed in these next six episodes? We’ll let Serafinowicz explain. “There’s some really cool surprises, some new characters, and...
I just think it gets better
and better,” the actor told Collider at Comic-Con.
9. Ugly Delicious – Friday, February 23, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixWe’re a culture obsessed with eating—that’s why we have so many cooking channels/Instagram feeds devoted to indulgent dishes, and celebrity chefs with more notoriety amongst the general public than rock stars enjoyed back in the ’70s. It’s a trend that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, and this week we welcome a new culinary celebration to the mix.
The series stars Momofuku restaurateur David Chang, who has signed on to eat his way across the globe. At each destination, he’ll be joined by writers, entertainers and other chefs who share his passion; their contributions to the dinner conversation will include how food can unite us in shared experience, how it can “break down barriers” and the degree to which culture, authenticity and identity relate to the grub they’re wolfing down. Over the course of eight episodes, Chang’s forays include home cooking in Copenhagen, Viet-Cajun dishes in Houston and Neapolitan pizza in Tokyo.
10. Great Performances – Friday, February 23, 7 p.m., WTVS; 9 p.m., KCTS
PBSAlan Cumming—Cabaret Tony winner and veteran of television’s The Good Wife—emcees the first-ever broadcast of
the American Association of Retired Persons’ Movies for Grownups Awards—though in fact, this will mark the 17th edition of the gala. A career achievement award is presented to Helen Mirren during the program, recorded earlier in the month at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly