From honours for our furry friends to classic comedy, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Treadstone — Amazon Prime Video
USA NetworkTreadstone, the high-octane thriller based on the Jason Bourne series, may have the look and feel of the 10 feature films that preceded it, but star Jeremy Irvine still wasn’t sure he wanted to embark on a television show. “I was nervous about it, to be quite honest, because I’ve been told that on big American TV shows, creatively, you don’t have any input,” says the War Horse and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again actor. “But actually, this was the most creatively fulfilling job that I’ve done in years.”
Not only has Irvine flexed his creative muscle by developing his character, CIA agent John Bentley, alongside the producers and writers of the series, he has been able to delve into the complex character over the course of an entire year. “I think in film, you can sometimes feel a little unfulfilled because you just don’t have enough time to get to know a character. And in theatre, you’re doing the same thing every night, whereas with TV, you get that satisfaction of really feeling like you’ve [gotten] to become a character. You’re really living with it.”
In 1973 East Berlin, American spy Bentley has been captured by Soviet agents who have attempted to turn him into a sleeper agent, and so the question that is asked—and hopefully answered—in the first season, is whether or not Bentley has become an inadvertent traitor to the country he swore to protect.
2. 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards — Sunday, January 12, 7 p.m., The CW
Universal PicturesAwards season is officially underway, although it seems at times that it never really ends! This week, the rich, famous and occasionally infamous are gathering for the 25th Critics’ Choice gala, the show that fêtes the best in both TV and film from the past year. Unlike most other awards love-ins, here the finalists are nominated by a large body of professional critics whose job it is to dissect everything pop culture... which means that this is one night where ignored underdogs like Little Women, David Makes Man and Lupita Nyong’o’s stunning performance in horror flick Us actually have a shot at being recognized (unlike at the recent Golden Globes). In that vein, on the TV front, it was When They See Us that led all comers at six noms, with Canadian gem Schitt’s Creek close behind. The heavy-hitters, however, are still very much in contention, with Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman leading the film nominations.
3. Frontline — Monday, January 13 & Tuesday, January 14, 6 p.m., WTVS; 9 p.m., KCTS
PBSWhen it comes to delivering remarkable news coverage from top-shelf documentarians, Frontline is near the top of the heap... or maybe at the very top, but it’s not our place to make that call. We can, however, tell you that the series is kicking off its 2020 election coverage with a two-night, four-hour documentary dubbed America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump. Part one focuses on Barack Obama’s presidency and how the administration’s attempts at unity actually led to greater division, while part two delves into Trump’s presidency and its impact on the country’s future.
4. Leslie Jones: Time Machine — Tuesday, January 14, Netflix
NetflixFor her first project since leaving SNL, Leslie Jones headlines her inaugural Netflix standup comedy special, recounting her journey from young adulthood to middle age.
5. The CW Dog Honors — Wednesday, January 15, 8 p.m., The CW
The CWDogs and Mario Lopez? Yes, please. The former A.C. Slater emcees a tail-wagging night devoted to the most talented pups in Hollywood, with full participation of their celebrity owners. The categories include Best Supporting Actor to a Dog, Celebrity Dog Selfie, Pawpular, Top TV Dog and more.
6. Grace and Frankie — Wednesday, January 15, Netflix | Season Premiere
NetflixIf you haven’t been paying attention to the future fortunes of Grace and Frankie, well, we’ve got some good news for you, but we’ve also got some bad. The good news: this is absolutely not the last season. The bad news: next season will be. There, there—here’s a handkerchief... and before you ask, no, of course it’s not ridiculous to mourn a show before it’s even gone. Grace and Frankie is a great comedy, one that could’ve just been a fun but substance-free excuse for Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin to bounce bon mots off each other, but which instead turned out to carry considerable emotional heft between the laughs.
All of the series regulars are back for the sixth season, and on the guest-star front, Netflix has confirmed that Nick (Peter Gallagher) and Barry (Peter Cambor) are returning too. Series co-creator Marta Kaufman also let it slip that we’d be seeing the venerable Mary Steenburgen guesting this time around, along with another visit from Ernie Hudson; yes, that’s right, there’ll be some Frankie and Jacob time. But will he stick around? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
7. The Last Days of Richard Pryor — Thursday, January 16, 9 p.m., ABC
Facebook/Richard Pryor OfficialRichard Pryor lived his life on the edge, and laid his demons out for all to see as he used his cocaine addiction and a drug-related accident that left him severely burned as fodder for a brilliant standup comedy routine. This two-hour special focuses on his final days, cut short by MS.
8. Real Time with Bill Maher — Friday, January 17, 9 p.m. & 12:25 a.m., HBO Canada | Season Premiere
HBO CanadaBill Maher has had plenty to say about Donald Trump (who once sued the comedian for joking that Trump’s father was an orangutan), but when he returns for Real Time’s 18th season, he’ll be celebrating the president’s impeachment.
9. Russell Peters: Deported — Friday, January 17, Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime VideoTo Canadians, comedian Russell Peters is a homegrown hero who’s made it big beyond our borders. Yet it’s easy to forget just how big he’s gotten, considering he regularly sells out such massive venues as London’s 02 Arena and New York City’s Madison Square Garden. In his new Amazon Prime Video standup special, Peters performs yet another sold-out show, this one at Mumbai’s NSCI Stadium, hilariously exploring his new normal as a middle-aged guy suddenly dealing with health issues, changing relationships and the always-evolving nature of fatherhood.
10. Sex Education — Friday, January 17, Netflix | Season Premiere
NetflixOne of Netflix’s sleeper hits from 2019 returns for another hilarious, authentic, surprisingly moving exploration of sex, love and everything in between. Virginal teen sex expert Otis (Asa Butterfield) continues dispensing relationship advice to his classmates, as gleaned from his renowned sex-therapist mom Jean (Gillian Anderson), who herself inadvertently cultivated Otis’s crippling sexual hang-ups. As we start season two, Otis is struggling to move forward in his romance with Ola, while also repairing his fractured relationship with business partner/former crush Maeve (Emma Mackey). Meanwhile, their school suffers through an outbreak of chlamydia, as well as an influx of “new students” set to upend the status quo.