From comedy icons to insightful commentary, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. MacGruber – Sunday, January 16, 6 p.m., Showcase
Showcase“A film that poses a philosophical question fundamental to our inquiry here... ‘Why does this exist?’ The law of diminishing returns is enforced so stringently that the movie succeeds not only in negating its own comedy, but its very being.” So wrote New York Times critic A.O. Scott when discussing 2010’s MacGruber, a movie based on a recurring SNL sketch that featured Will Forte as an imbecilic spin on Richard Dean Anderson’s MacGyver.
Mr. Scott was far from alone in his disapproval but, in the end, MacGruber proved to be the very definition of “critic-proof,” turning into a tremendous cult hit. Now, a decade later, we’ve got a MacGruber TV show.
The events of the film do directly inform those of the series. But as anyone who tuned in for last Sunday’s premiere found out, not having seen the film wasn’t a problem, thanks to a profanity-laden introductory song by Maya Rudolph—reprising her role as the ghost of MacGruber’s wife. Also back in the mix are Kristen Wiig as MacGruber’s soulmate Vicki St. Elmo and Ryan Phillippe as his eminently more qualified sidekick, Dixon Piper. Plus, Laurence Fishburne plays his military commander (taking over for the late Powers Boothe) and Sam Elliott is his dad!
In the premiere, Mac was sprung from prison by the government and traded to his mortal enemy Enos Queeth (Billy Zane) for the release of the president’s kidnapped daughter. In episode two, we find our hero nude, tied to a torture table and at the mercy of yet another mortal enemy! That would be Irish mercenary Constantine Bach (Timothy Murphy), a familiar face from the movie... well, not so “familiar” anymore actually, given that MacGruber left him blinded and horrifically burnt. Now, Bach is planning to return the favour. It’s a tight spot, but Mac has a knack for bumbling his way out of these jams. Meanwhile, Vicki and Piper, believing their old pal is dead, go on a bender.
2. ET Canada Presents Celebrating Betty White – Monday, January 17, 7 p.m., Global
GlobalAiring on what would have been her 100th birthday, this new special looks back on the late Betty White’s storied career, featuring interviews with such co-stars/admirers as Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, Zachary Levi, Wendie Malick and William Shatner.
3. Too Hot to Handle – Wednesday, January 19, Netflix | Season Premiere
NetflixIt’s been a tough couple years, what with surprise COVID variants, ebbing and flowing restrictions, and constantly just trying to regain some semblance of the way things used to be. So when a group of hot young people head to a tropical locale to film a dating show, you can’t blame them for wanting to really cut loose. But of course, that’s what makes Netflix’s over-the-top competition both apropos and exceptionally cruel for these times we live in.
Season three, as ever, finds our eager contestants learning upon arrival that there’s absolutely no hanky-panky allowed in this paradise. Follow along to see how the new group handles these draconian rules, guess who will break them first and delight over how angry the rest of the gang gets once they learn just how much cash a stray snuggle, kiss or grope will cost them.
4. Home Economics – Wednesday, January 19, 9:31 p.m., CTV & ABC
CTVThis Topher Grace-led sitcom returned for season two earlier in January, continuing the squabbles of Tom, Sarah and Connor—three siblings at various stages of financial security/insecurity. No synopsis yet for this week’s episode, but the title indicates it’ll involve a “roundtrip ticket from San Diego to Oakland.”
5. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – Thursday, January 20, 10:30 p.m., CTV Comedy | Season Premiere
CTV ComedyGosh, has it been six seasons already? Time sure does fly when the world’s a complete mess, leaving an Emmy-winning comedian no shortage of political disasters to skewer! Join Sam as she commences season seven tonight.
6. Let the World See – Thursday, January 20, 10:31 p.m., ABC | Series Finale
ABCAs ABC drama Women of the Movement comes to an end this week, so too does its companion docuseries, chronicling the real-life journey of Mamie Till-Mobley from grief-stricken mother of a murdered son to unlikely civil rights crusader. Tonight’s final chapter is titled “Say His Name.”
7. As We See It – Friday, January 21, Prime Video | Series Premiere
Prime VideoParenthood creator Jason Katims offers us another funny, heartfelt tale of life, love and family. The eight-episode drama follows three 20-something roommates, all of whom fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, as they face the personal and professional hurdles of their condition.
8. Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock – Friday, January 21, Apple TV+ | Series Premiere
Apple TV+In 2020, Fraggle Rock fans were ecstatic when the critters from the 1980s HBO series made their comeback with a collection of original shorts called Fraggle Rock: Rock On! Indeed, those shorts proved so very successful that Apple TV+ and the Jim Henson Company (in association with New Regency) have revived the Fraggles in an even bigger way, this time offering up an all-new 13-episode series which takes viewers Back to the Rock.
Three of those episodes were helmed by Toronto-based director Jordan Canning, who was positively giddy about scoring this assignment. “When I got the job, it was a big, big, exciting moment,” she told the CBC. “Just to get to work with the Jim Henson Company was like a dream.”
In addition, she admitted to being utterly blown away by the actors behind the puppets. “They’re incredible, top-of-the-line performers,” said Canning. “They’re not only acting and puppeteering, they’re learning songs, singing songs, doing dance choreography. It’s kind of incredible how they do it. The puppeteers and the people behind the puppeteers are just creative geniuses. And everybody’s living their dream.”
9. Ozark – Friday, January 21, Netflix | Season Premiere
NetflixOne of the most talked-about dramas of the past five years unleashes its end game this week. Money launderer Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), his wife/co-conspirator Wendy (Laura Linney) and their troubled kids find themselves in deeper than ever with the cartel, as enemies, feds and even their own business partners line up against them. The first seven episodes of this fourth and final season debut Friday, with the last seven still TBD.
10. Real Time with Bill Maher – Friday, January 21, 9 p.m. & 12:40 a.m., HBO Canada | Season Premiere
HBO CanadaIt’s a big accomplishment for any show to stick around 20 seasons. But for comedian, political commentator, rabble-rouser and controversy-magnet Bill Maher to hit such a milestone? Nigh on miraculous! Tune in for the premiere and get ready to be offended.