From documentaries to reality TV to Netflix exclusives, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. The Simpsons - Sunday, March 19, 8 p.m., Fox
FoxMarge consults a series of parenting “experts” for advice in getting Bart on the path to a healthy, productive, vandalism-free life, but the little hellraiser actually finds his greatest encouragement from Grandpa, who bestows upon him a coveted family watch that Homer thought he would be getting one day.
2. Silver Linings Playbook - Sunday, March 19, 12:30 p.m. & 10 p.m., Bravo
BravoThe kinetic, hilarious, heartfelt tale of a psychiatric patient (Bradley Cooper) who moves back in with his parents intent on winning back his wife but reluctantly falls for their equally unhinged neighbour (Jennifer Lawrence). Director David O. Russell at his finest.
3. Teen Mom 2 - Monday, March 20, 6 p.m. & 11 p.m., MTV Canada
MTV CanadaSeason Finale
All the drama from the seventh season comes to a close in this week’s finale. Still craving more? Be sure to keep your dial tuned right here for the subsequent live reunion special, which brings back the moms for a half-hour tell-all that’s sure to evoke plenty of tears.
4. The Best of Trains Around North America - Monday, March 20, 10 p.m., KCTS
KCTSIt’s unlikely that Robert Van Camp, creator of Great Scenic Railway Journeys, imagined his series would last 25-plus years, and such longevity warrants celebration. Here, host David Holt takes viewers through Van Camp’s 10 favourite rail journeys in North America.
5. Dave Chappelle: The Age of Spin & Deep in the Heart of Texas - Tuesday, March 21, Netflix
NetflixDave Chappelle is among the modern comedy world’s most prodigious talents, but one who’s maintained a very low profile since walking away from his game-changing sketch series Chappelle’s Show over a decade ago. So it came as a surprise to a lot of folks when he took his biggest gig in recent memory by hosting the first post-Trump Saturday Night Live.
In the wake of that successful, politically charged appearance, Netflix thrilled Chappelle fans by announcing they’d be releasing not one, not two, but three Chappelle comedy specials. While many might’ve made the not-unreasonable presumption that these specials would be filmed in the wake of this announcement, that isn’t the case for the first two, both of which premiere this week.
The first one, Dave Chappelle: The Age of Spin, was filmed at the Hollywood Palladium in March 2016, while the second, Dave Chappelle: Deep in the Heart of Texas, was shot during Austin City Limits Live, at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Both were described by Netflix as having come “directly from Chappelle’s personal comedy vault,” so we can only presume they’re in pristine condition and that the comedy is as fresh now as it was on the respective days on which they were recorded.
Needless to say, Netflix is ecstatic: as Lisa Nishimura, VP of original documentary and comedy, said when the specials were originally announced: “Dave Chappelle is a legendary voice in comedy—searing, vital and now more than ever, essential. Dave’s three new specials promise to be some of the most anticipated events in comedy, and we are honoured he will mark his global return on Netflix.”
As for the third special, yes, that one will be an original, but the premiere date is still up in the air.
6. Empire - Wednesday, March 22, 9 p.m., Fox
FoxThis Dynasty-indebted hip-hop series has never been shy about trying to rope in viewers with interesting guest stars. Since the show first exploded onto our screens as one of the surprise smashes of 2014, the likes of Chris Rock, Naomi Campbell, Rosie O’Donnell Phylicia Rashad, Marisa Tomei and Eva Longoria have all popped by.
And before the third season—which returns from winter hiatus this week—is done, we’ll be able to add another name to that list: Demi Moore. The A Few Good Men alum will make her debut by the finale, launching a much larger arc in the already-ordered fourth season.
Although most of the details are still under wraps, we know Moore will play a nurse with a mysterious past who inadvertently becomes entangled with the Lyon family. At this point, who isn’t?
7. Masterchef Canada - Thursday, March 23, 9 p.m., CTV
CTVIf we’ve learned anything from the fourth season of this Canadian culinary competition so far, it’s that all bets are off. Rather than relying on the tried-and-true format from seasons past, the show has managed to surprise viewers with massive eliminations right out of the gate and some of the most intricate, pressure-packed challenges yet.
This week, that trend continues when the top 10 are tasked with creating an epic, seven-layer cake befitting a celebration of Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday. Not only that, but they have to do it in pairs… while blindfolded. If that doesn’t put their teamwork and kitchen skills to a definitive test, we don’t know what will. Also on the menu for tonight’s episode: watch for a special guest appearance from season-three’s last chef standing, Mary Berg.
8. Grace and Frankie - Friday, March 24, Netflix
Any series where the four leads are Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen is a series that’s destined for somewhere other than the traditional broadcast networks—that’s just way too much talent to squander in primetime. But now that Grace and Frankie is entering its third season, it’s become clear that there’s another reason that the series is a good fit for Netflix: it’s not like you’d be able to talk CBS into a major plotline involving two senior citizens starting a business selling vibrators that cater to the needs of the elderly.
Whether that’s destined to be the predominant storyline of season three remains to be seen, but it’s definitely a prominent one, based on the trailer. Then again, it’s possible that their plans will come to nothing, as it’s a hard sell for women in their 70s to get a 10-year loan. (Go figure.) It looks as though viewers are also going to see the ladies’ ex-husbands Robert and Sol contemplating retirement, confirming that this is definitely a series that caters to an older crowd and is proud to do so. All this, and a guest arc by Peter Gallagher, too!
9. Ingobernable – Friday, March 24, Netflix
Netflix has been responsible for many hit series ever since it became a worldwide streaming juggernaut not that long ago. Between the success of House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black (not to mention everyone’s 2016 obsession, Stranger Things), it seems like the awards and critical acclaim keep on piling up, with more and more new projects unrolling every week. Lately, that’s meant many more shows of international origin, with original series rolling out across European and Latin countries.
This weekend, an original Mexican creation is set to debut, adding even more diversity to the channel’s growing slate. It’s a 15-part, Spanish-language drama headlined by telenovela superstar Kate del Castillo (previously seen in North America on Weeds and Jane the Virgin) as Irene Urzua, wife of the Mexican president (Erik Hayser). She’s smart, ambitious and not to be trifled with, cannily pushing her own political and humanitarian agenda while also harbouring some unpleasant secrets. As the press release puts it, Irene is the type of person who’s capable of “creating a president, leaving a president and killing a president.” Certainly sounds like a binge-worthy character to us... especially that whole “killing a president” thing, which she’s promptly accused of, making this First Lady the subject of a nationwide manhunt and forcing her to dredge up a particular set of skills from her past to clear her name and unravel a chilling conspiracy.
10. Mary Tyler Moore: A Celebration - Friday, March 24, 9 p.m., KCTS
KCTSWe’d hoped that 2017 might provide us with fewer heartbreaking pop-culture deaths than the year that preceded it, but that hope faded quickly when word broke than we’d lost a true TV icon, the independent career woman who “turned the world on with her smile,” Mary Tyler Moore. This 2015 doc is a fond look back on her one-of-a-kind life, featuring clips from The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, along with remarks from such former Moore co-stars as Ed Asner, Dick Van Dyke, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Gavin MacLeod and Carl Reiner. In addition, Oprah Winfrey reveals just how much she was inspired by Moore back in the 1970s.