From superhero debuts to Archie's return, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Bling Empire – Netflix
NetflixAre you the type who lives vicariously through the $40k birthday parties those Real Housewives throw for their four-year-olds? Do you hang on every word when TV frenemies throw wine in each other’s faces during arguments about who is a real friend and who’s a phony? Most importantly, are you floored—but morbidly intrigued—by the boundless piggy bank the people who star in these kinds of reality shows seem to have at their disposal? Then pour some Pinot and buckle up, because it’s pretty much a sure thing that this new series, which dropped last Friday, will be among your 2021 obsessions.
Bling Empire follows a group of wild and wealthy Asian and Asian-American “fun seekers” as they hit up all the most fabulous parties, gorge themselves on everything glamorous and bring next-level drama to it all with every sip of their ridiculously expensive champagne.
The series is Netflix’s latest foray into the world of extra-trashy reality, following up on hits like Love Is Blind, The Circle and, of course, Selling Sunset.
2. Batwoman – Sunday, January 17, 5 p.m., Showcase; 8 p.m., The CW | Season Premiere
The CWYou’d have to be living under a cowl not to know about the big changes in store for this DC superhero series when it returns for season two. Gone is Ruby Rose in the lead role of Kate Kane, the first LGBTQ+ hero to get her own TV series. Rose left the show following season one—citing both the mental grind of being No. 1 on the call sheet and, to a lesser extent, the physical toll that, at one point, required emergency surgery on her neck to avoid paralysis.
This Sunday, fans will meet a brand-new Batwoman, played by Javicia Leslie, late of CBS’s God Friended Me. Like Rose, Leslie identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
When Kate Kane goes missing, Leslie’s Ryan Wilder stumbles upon her Bat-gear, and decides to take up the mantle of Gotham’s defender. With so much to look forward to (including a new suit in the first few episodes), it’s easy to forget that season one ended on a massive cliffhanger, when Tommy Elliot/Hush (Gabriel Mann) got himself a new face to infiltrate Wayne Towers. Which means Ms. Wilder likely won’t get to just ease her way into crime-fighting with a mugger or two.
3. 9-1-1: Lone Star – Monday, January 18, 9:01 p.m., CTV & Fox | Season Premiere
CTVFilming on productions everywhere has been tricky amidst the coronavirus, and while many have figured out some form of business as usual (with stricter safety protocols), this particular series lost a lead as a result.
When the second season kicks off this week, it does so without Liv Tyler, who played EMT captain Michelle Blake in season one. Tyler lives in England and didn’t feel comfortable flying to America to shoot; but producers have assured fans the door is open for her return at some point. (Remember when Connie Britton left the original 9-1-1 after the first season, then popped back up a couple years later?) For now though, Suits alum Gina Torres joins the show as a retired paramedic captain who climbs back into the ambulance after her husband’s restaurant goes under because of the pandemic.
4. Kim’s Convenience – Tuesday, January 19, 8 p.m., CBC | Season Premiere
CBCDuring this pandemic, many viewers have fallen back on bingeing sitcoms to find the funny when there isn’t a lot to laugh about in real life. It’s a situation that’s paid off for Kim’s Convenience, which has found more than a few new devotees as a result.
But as the show returns for season five, it’s not all laughs—the family is dealing with Umma’s grave diagnosis, forcing Appa to step up as caregiver. Also, Janet has graduated and moved back home, Jung and Shannon are having relationship problems and Kimchee is busy trying to reconnect with both his family and his high school crush.
5. Riverdale – Wednesday, January 20, 8 p.m., The CW | Season Premiere
Facebook/RiverdaleSeason five finds Archie and friends in their final days of high school... which lasts for all of three episodes before the show takes a time jump seven years into the future. There, we’ll learn how the gang has fared after going their separate ways in the wake of a very dramatic prom.
6. Grown-ish – Thursday, January 21, 5 p.m. & 8 p.m., ABC Spark
ABC SparkThe black-ish spinoff returns for the second half of season three. Having dropped out of Cal U, Zoey struggles to balance her personal life with her new dream job, while Doug and Jazz try to suss out the rules after putting their relationship on “pause.”
7. Pixar Popcorn – Friday, January 22, Disney+
Disney+Fans of Pixar’s animated features will want to check out this new collection of eight “mini-shorts” featuring beloved characters from such flicks as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars, Coco and The Incredibles, in their own never-before-seen “bite-sized” adventures created by Pixar animators.
8. Shark Tank – Friday, January 22, 8 p.m., CTV & ABC
CTVFeeling a little entrepreneurial in the New Year? Tune in to another new episode of this brand-building series and take note of all the dos—and don’ts—when it comes to getting investors invested in your business.
9. So My Grandma’s A Lesbian – Friday, January 22, Netflix
NetflixIt’s said that you’re never too old to find love, and that’s clearly what Eva’s grandmother Sofia believes: she’s in her 70s, but has decided it’s finally time to marry her lifelong “friend,” Celia. It’s great news for Sofia and Celia, obviously, but when young Eva catches wind, she has a freak-out, worrying that her grandma’s decision to come out of the closet could turn her life—not to mention her family—topsy-turvy.
What hasn’t yet occurred to Eva, however, is that love and happiness are more important than anything else; though by the time the end credits roll, we’re betting she’ll have learned that particular lesson.
10. The White Tiger – Friday, January 22, Netflix
NetflixA new film out of India traces the story of a driver named Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav), a man with big dreams that are being crushed by his lowly position in India’s rigid caste system. Despite Balram’s deft entrepreneurial instincts, without a leg up he has a hard time envisioning more for himself. But when he begins working for the affluent Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and his wife Pinky (Priyanka Chopra), our hero’s eyes are opened to an underbelly of corruption that may finally catapult him into the life he’s always wanted... if he can survive the forces trying to keep him in his place, that is.
The darkly comedic thriller is an adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, fittingly directed by the author’s longtime friend Ramin Bahrani. (The two are so tight that Adiga even dedicated the book to Bahrani.)