From award-winning Canadian crooners to a hard rocking California Crüe, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. The Juno Awards – Sunday, March 17, 5 p.m. & 8 p.m., CBC
CBCVancouver’s own Sarah McLachlan has won a few Juno Awards in her day, and now the acclaimed singer-songwriter is making her debut as host. “I’m honoured to have been asked to host the 48th Annual Juno Awards,” she said in a statement. “I know intimately what it feels like to be on the Juno stage and I feel truly blessed to play a new role for an organization that has supported me throughout my career.” Performers this year include McLachlan herself, Arkells, Loud Luxury and 2019 Hall of Fame inductee Corey Hart, who may or may not show up wearing his sunglasses at night.
2. The Simpsons – Sunday, March 17, 8 p.m., City & Fox
FoxWhen Bart becomes a major contender at video game competitions, Homer gets excited about being his eSports coach, but when Lisa tries to get dad to dial back his runaway enthusiasm, chaos ensues. Fresh off the staggering success of her Netflix dramedy Russian Doll, Natasha Lyonne drops in as a guest voice.
3. 9-1-1 – Monday, March 18, 9 p.m., Global & Fox
FoxBy all accounts, the Sharknado franchise is now sleeping with the fishes. But leave it to super-producer Ryan Murphy’s bonkers first-responder series to keep spirit alive. No doubt there are plenty of compelling calls to look forward to in the back half of the second season, but the one that will have our utterly undivided attention occurs in this week’s midseason premiere. It involves a shark that winds up on the freeway following a tanker truck crash and tries to make a meal of some poor commuter. (Because L.A. traffic wasn’t bad enough already.) Meanwhile, a plastic surgeon’s office is felled by a gas leak in the middle of nipping and tucking, and on the personal side of things, lovebirds Bobby and Athena have their first “meet the parents" moment.
4. Black Lightning – Monday, March 18, 9 p.m., The CW I Season Finale
The CWIt’s a bad time to be a superhero series on Netflix, given the streaming service’s recent cancellation of all its Marvel properties across the board. Luckily the DC offerings on The CW are faring much better. As the second season of this particular show comes to a close, rest easy knowing a third season has already been ordered up.
5. Amy Schumer Growing – Tuesday, March 19, Netflix
NetflixWhen it comes to comedy, there’s no question that Amy Schumer is big, but you’d best be careful about using that particular adjective around her these days. Why? Because she’s pregnant, and that’s not exactly a word that pregnant women need to hear; they know they’re big thank you very much, because they’re hauling around a seven-plus-pound human 24 hours a day. Not that Schumer’s letting it slow her down. “You’re supposed to be this puritan, this saint. It’s really Handmaid’s Tale,” she told InStyle. “Like—no, I’m still gonna do me. You don’t stop being who you are just because you have a baby in you.” (Yep, Schumer is just as forthright about discussing pregnancy as she is about discussing everything else.)
6. Mental Samurai – Tuesday, March 19, 9 p.m., City & Fox I Series Premiere
FoxIn a world of American Ninja Warriors and Titan Games, it’s easy to get swept up in the amazing physical feats evoked by reality competitions. But whatever happened to brains over brawn? Well, flex those noggin muscles and get ready for this Rob Lowe-hosted spectacle, which tests “every aspect of human intelligence and mental agility.” Contestants make their way through an intellectual obstacle course that demands incredible knowledge, memory, puzzle-solving and sequencing. You might be asking yourself where the “samurai” part comes in; partially, it’s because contestants must be “quick” and “precise,” but also, while these mind games are playing out, players will be whipped around the set in a 360-degree rotating capsule, demanding a nigh-superhuman level of focus and composure. Sounds absolutely mind-boggling.
7. Mavis! - Tuesday, March 19, 9 p.m. & Midnight, Knowledge
KnowledgeAlthough she got her start with family act The Staple Singers, Mavis Staples made a true lasting mark on the music industry when she decided to go solo. Her tunes had substance, of course, but she wasn’t afraid to bust out the funk when singing freedom songs. Maybe that’s why Prince loved her so much. He wasn’t the only one, though: everyone from Bob Dylan to Bonnie Raitt, Chuck D to Jeff Tweedy—all of whom can be spotted in this 2015 film—is quick to sing the praises of the great Ms. Staples, and after you watch the movie, you’ll understand why. (You’ll also no doubt feel the urge to listen to a lot more Mavis.)
8. Jann – Wednesday, March 20, 8:30 p.m., CTV I Series Premiere
CTVCanadian singer-songwriter and Juno winner Jann Arden has made a career out of being herself. Unapologetically honest and forever the funniest person in the room, her magnetic personality has propelled her to the top of the music charts and is now being given a chance to shine in CTV’s new six-part comedy Jann. Shot and set in Calgary, the series centres around a fictionalized version of Arden who, while just as spunky, is not half as successful. In real life, Arden thrives as a multi-award-winning musician, author and podcaster; on-screen her counterpart has stumbled, rather unceremoniously, out of the spotlight. Once a household name, she now performs small corporate gigs to make ends meet.
9. bublé! – Wednesday, March 20, 10 p.m., NBC
NBCMichael Bublé is an appreciative man these days. Out on the road for the first time in three years, the Burnaby-born crooner has a new outlook on life after watching his five-year-old son Noah battle a rare form of liver cancer. With the boy now in remission, Bublé’s attentions have returned to music, with a new album, Love, a supporting tour and a special this week on NBC.
In bublé!, the four-time Grammy-winner offers viewers a more personal look at his life and career through musical performances and biographical bits. Backed by a 36-piece band, he performs original cuts from the new album and past releases, along with classics and romantic standards, as well as a duet with American jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant. Those are intercut with segments about his life, including family movies going all the way back to his childhood. The point, says Bublé, is to show viewers who he is as a person, which is an idea that came to him on a flight from Argentina, after he chatted with someone who actually thought he’d been an American Idol contestant. “I thought, here I am taking for granted that America knows who I am or where I came from,” Bublé explains. “And I thought, you know, it would be really lovely in this special to sort of turn this into a performance and a biography, a documentary; half and half... and then we just went toward doing that.”
10. The Dirt – Friday, March 22, Netflix
NetflixFans of 1980s hair metal will want to set aside some time to check out this new Netflix biopic about rockers Mötley Crüe. Based on the band’s book of the same name, The Dirt is described as “an unflinching and uncensored story about sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, fame and the high price of excess.” Directed by Jeff Tremaine (whose prior work includes Jackass and Bad Grandpa), the film follows the journey of Nikki Sixx (Douglas Booth), Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon), Tommy Lee (Colson Baker, a.k.a. rapper Machine Gun Kelly) and Vince Neil (Daniel Webber) from the grungy clubs of L.A.’s Sunset Strip to the biggest stages in the world. According to Sixx, the film was initially planned as a theatrical release, but the studio insisted on sanitizing some of the more scandalous bits. “They were hoping that we might just kind of take some of the barnacles off it and we just didn’t feel it would be fair to the book or to the story,” he told Loudwire. “Then we ended up at Netflix, and Netflix said, ‘Make the movie that is the book.’”