From new superheroes to aspiring supermodels, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Divorce – Sunday, January 14, 9 p.m. & 12:25 a.m., HBO Canada | Season Premiere
HBO CanadaFirst thing’s first: if you haven’t yet seen the trailer for season two of Divorce, you’ll want to brace yourself, Thomas Haden Church fans, because Robert—his character on the series—is going to be shaving his moustache. Trust us, we’re as devastated by this information as you are, because that thing was magnificent, but now that the divorce between Robert and Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker) is finalized, consider the dismissal of his fabulous facial hair to be an act of defiance on Robert’s part and a way of beginning the difficult process of moving on with his life.
Yes, there’s going to be a lot of rebuilding in the cards for the former spouses as this new season unfolds, with Robert finding himself low of funds and searching both for a job and a new living situation. Meanwhile, Frances is pleased that Diane has invested in her gallery, but it’s causing a change in the dynamic of their friendship that’s making for some awkwardness.
2. The Gifted – Monday, January 15, 8 p.m., CTV & Fox | Season Finale
There have been bumps along the way, but over the course of its first season, this second series in Fox’s small-screen X-Men universe has evolved into a dependable source of superhero thrills. Centring on a ragtag group of fugitive mutants on the run from the government and a public that hates them, The Gifted has, like the films that preceded it, delivered some snazzy action set pieces while also meditating on issues like segregation, human rights, insidious corporate influence and the soul-crushing angst of otherness. Tonight, the show wraps its 13-episode first season with a two-hour instalment, and judging by all that went down in the midseason finale (a major character death, a cool Wolverine reference, telepathic triplets), we have a feeling things are about to get epic.
3. Independent Lens – Monday, January 15, 6 p.m. & Midnight, WTVS; 9 p.m., KCTS
Writer James Baldwin began a manuscript entitled I Am Not Your Negro, but he never finished it. Filmmaker Raoul Peck picks up that baton, turning Baldwin’s book into a documentary that examines the state of race in the U.S., blending Baldwin’s text—which explores the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.—with archival images. In his review, film critic A.O. Scott described the picture, which features narration by Samuel L. Jackson, as “a posthumous collaboration, an uncanny and thrilling communion between the filmmaker and his subject.”
4. Black Lightning – Tuesday, January 16, 9 p.m., The CW | Series Premiere
This week brings another super-powered series to The CW with the debut of Black Lightning. The story surrounds Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), who has the superhuman ability to control electricity, a particular set of skills that, in days gone by, led him to fight crime as a masked vigilante known as Black Lightning—until he realized the far-reaching damage his extracurricular activities had been inflicting on his family. Nine years later, Pierce has long since abandoned his superhero pursuits, and now works as the principal of a charter school that also serves as a safe haven for the children in a neighbourhood that’s becoming increasingly overrun by gang violence. As crime and corruption begin to engulf his community, the ante is raised when some of the people who are most precious to him wind up in the crosshairs of a menacing local gang, the One Hundred. With lives at stake and his loved ones threatened, Pierce sees no option but to bring Black Lightning out of retirement, in order to save not just his family, but all the vulnerable citizens of Freeland.
5. Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid – Wednesday, January 17, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., Lifetime | Series Premiere
She’s been a model, an author and a Real Housewife. But beginning this week, Yolanda Hadid is looking to take up a new mantle: a supermodel trainer extraordinaire. Of course, she’s hardly the first to have this idea, as we’ve seen a similar format in Tyra Banks’ long-running America’s Next Top Model. But what sets this offering apart is that Hadid is leaning heavily on her own experience raising two successful supermodel daughters, Gigi and Bella Hadid, to help a whole new group of hopeful teens fulfill their own ambitions. On the line is a $5,000 payout for each week’s winner, but the grand prize at the end of this eight-episode catwalk is a highly coveted management contract with Hadid.
6. Relative Success with Tabatha – Wednesday, January 17, 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., Slice | Series Premiere
Superstar hairstylist Tabatha Coffey knows from experience that when you have to work with relatives, all business is personal. In each episode of her new reality series, Coffey rolls up her sleeves to save a family-owned business, helping them to navigate the deep-rooted personal issues that can corrode a family business by making them face their buried resentments and lingering grudges so they can move past them and work toward a common goal.
7. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story – Wednesday, January 17, 7 p.m., 8:10 p.m. & 10 p.m., FX Canada | Season Premiere
These days, Ryan Murphy is king of the anthology series. The producer/director revived the format through his American Horror Story franchise, and he’s continued that unique brand of storytelling with multiple Emmy-favourite series, including Feud and American Crime Story. The latter returns this week with a brand-new murder taking centre stage. The slaying of Gianni Versace perhaps wasn’t as widely covered or controversial as that of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but there’s just as much compelling material here as there was in that first O.J. Simpson-centric season of the show.
Many credit Versace as being the first openly gay fashion designer, something that supposedly put a target on the 50-year-old’s back for serial killer Andrew Cunanan. While the true motives behind the murder remain unclear to this day, we do know that the notorious designer was Cunanan’s fifth and final victim before he took his own life (with the same murder weapon) on a houseboat eight days following the shocking events. The entire ordeal sparked an international debate on hate crimes, gay rights and mental health, topics that will be explored in great depth in this limited series, which is based on the true crime book Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth.
If you’re a fan of Murphy’s oeuvre, you’ll also know to expect first-class production values, dark wit and some big-name actors. On that last note, the show has secured several A-listers to recreate the sordid tale, including Édgar Ramírez as Versace, Penélope Cruz as his sister Donatella Versace, Glee’s Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan and, in Murphy’s latest bit of unconventional casting, pop star Ricky Martin as Versace’s longtime boyfriend Antonio D’Amico.
8. Lip Sync Battle Live – Thursday, January 18, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., Paramount Network
Who knew that when Stephen Merchant, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt first conceptualized the idea of a lip sync battle between celebrities and brought it to Jimmy Fallon that it would eventually morph from a fun late-night sketch into a wildly popular franchise, with its own spinoff? As we gear up for another run of episodes, it all kicks off with a special tribute to the king of pop himself Michael Jackson. In consultation with the late singer’s estate, the entire episode will revolve around music from the man’s vast collection, and will also feature a special performance of Cirque du Soleil’s ONE, the show in permanent residence at the Michael Jackson Theater in Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay.
9. Scandal – Thursday, January 18, 9 p.m., ABC
We were promised an intense final season of this soapy political drama, and the midseason finale certainly didn’t disappoint. This week, Olivia Pope and her Gladiators return from hiatus, and we’ll find out whether Papa Pope did indeed pull that trigger on Quinn in the last episode’s heart-stopping final moments.
10. It Might Get Loud – Thursday, January 18, 9 p.m. & Midnight, Knowledge
If ever there was a documentary with an utterly apropos title, it’s this one, which spotlights three of the most noted guitarists in recent rock history: Jimmy Page (of The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2) and Jack White (The White Stripes). When it comes to their instruments, they’ve got very different and very distinct sounds, but they’re all brothers of the guitar. Director Davis Guggenheim (He Named Me Malala) takes viewers through the careers of all three icons, exploring just how they got into playing guitar in the first place, the purchasing of their signature guitars and their respective philosophies of music.