From talented tykes to aspiring superstars in isolation, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Call the Midwife – Sunday, May 17, 5 p.m. & 9 p.m., WTVS: 8 p.m., KCTS | Season Finale
PBSIn the season-nine finale, the council announces plans to cut funding to Nonnatus House, prompting Sister Julienne to fight back on behalf of all the women out there who still depend on the midwives’ care.
2. Little Big Shots – Sunday, May 17, 7 p.m., City & NBC | Season Finale
CityMelissa McCarthy caps her first season hosting this irresistible variety show, which has thus far seen the Oscar nominee chatting and cracking jokes with pint-sized singers, magicians, homeless advocates and even “indoor skydivers,” while we all get a chance to marvel at their truly gargantuan talents.
3. American Idol – Sunday, May 17, 8 p.m., CTV2 & ABC | Season Finale
CTVAmerican Idol was one of many TV shows halted midstream by the coronavirus. While all the auditions had been previously filmed, the live portion of the season proved problematic. Rather than just stop or postpone things, viewers were instead brought remote performances by the contestants, singing from their homes while self-quarantining. It’s a safe bet this season-ender will look nothing like previous American Idol finales.
4. The Simpsons – Sunday, May 17, 8 p.m., City & Fox | Season Finale
FoxThe Simpsons are shocked when Santa’s Little Helper suddenly bites Marge, but after delving into their dog’s past before he became a member of the Simpson clan that fateful Christmas Eve, they uncover a tragic origin story. Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett guest stars in this season-31 finale.
5. The Secret Life of Lele Pons – Tuesday, May 17, YouTube Originals
YouTube OriginalsLele Pons, a comedian/singer who came to fame via the Internet, is considered a superstar by some demographics. (You can probably guess the age group.) So it was a pretty big deal when the young woman admitted she’s been struggling with mental health disorders her entire life. In this five-part YouTube series, Pons—who suffers from Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder—makes the decision to stop hiding her conditions, in hopes that pushing past the embarrassment will be helpful to her, and others who are similarly afflicted. Mind you, mental health its not the easiest thing in the world for a YouTube celebrity to truly open up about (if there’s any admission that would bring out the trolls, it’s this one); and indeed, this series delves into that unfortunate reality, while also exploring the challenges Pons’ disorders present for her loved ones.
6. Frankie – Thursday, May 21, 8 p.m., Crave1
CraveA terminally ill movie star (Isabelle Huppert) takes three generations of her family on one last vacation to Sintra, Portugal, where the unique magic of the city gives each of them a fresh perspective on life, love and death. Brendan Gleeson, Greg Kinnear and Marisa Tomei round out the stellar ensemble.
7. Celebrity Escape Room – Thursday, May 21, 8 p.m., NBC
NBCThis year, Red Nose Day may offer viewers more of an escape than ever.
The sixth annual U.S. edition of the event to raise funds for the world’s at-risk children will borrow a page from other recent television specials produced during the time of COVID-19. Rather than gather celebrities in one location to perform and/or give information, the program will be staged “virtually” due to the coronavirus pandemic, with stars contributing segments from wherever they happen to be holed up.
Though a special edition of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night often has been an element of the evening, the night starts this time with a program called Celebrity Escape Room—filmed before the pandemic. It sees exec producer Ben Stiller joined by Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) and ex-Friends Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow in racing the clock to escape and earn winnings to donate to Red Nose Day. Jack Black, also an executive producer on the special, serves as the gleefully devious “Game Master.”
8. Labor of Love – Thursday, May 21, 9 p.m., City & Fox | Series Premiere
FoxFox gives birth to a whole new kind of dating show, one that isn’t just about sparking a connection with another lonely soul, but finding someone who wants to start a family as immediately as you do.
Meet Kristy Katzmann, a 41-year-old career woman who seems to have it all: great looks, a killer job... a new reality show. The one thing she’s lacking? A family. But Kristy’s hoping this is the series that will change all that, when 15 likeminded suitors line up to win her affections (hopefully, at least one of them is here for “the right reasons”).
Each episode, they’ll be faced with challenges that put their parenting and partnership skills to the test, with the worthy candidates moving on for another week. In between, there are plenty of steamy encounters, awkward dates and salacious revelations.
Playing host to this love quest is someone who knows a little something about televised romantic shenanigans: Sex and the City star Kristin Davis.
9. Homecoming – Friday, May 22, Amazon Prime | Season Premiere
Amazon PrimeSeries and podcast creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg knew going into season one of psychological thriller Homecoming that a second season was already guaranteed, they just didn’t know where the end of Heidi Bergman’s (Julia Roberts) hunt for the truth would take them. “We knew that the Heidi story was going to conclude in season one. And we wanted each season to have its own sense of completeness,” says Horowitz. Beyond that, the nefarious dealings of Geist Group and their Homecoming Transitional Support Center have thrown even the masterminds behind the show for a loop. “We thought we knew what season two was going to be, although then we had to kind of tear that down and rediscover it several times in the actual creation of it,” Horowitz continues.
Season two opens with a new main character, played by singer/actress Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures), waking up in rowboat in the middle of a lake, with no idea how she got there or who she is. It’s her memory loss that immediately connects us to the first season, where the audience discovered that Homecoming was helping soldiers get past their trauma by wiping their memories of war, with the goal that they would subsequently re-enlist.
This second instalment exchanges the claustrophobia of the campus for the dangers of the real world. “The first season came straight out of the podcast, which was very restrained and buttoned down, because of the nature of the form,” explains Horowitz. “This season is much more expansive in its locations, and its energies. It’s in the outside dynamic world, and not as contained within that facility.” Adds Bloomberg: “Season two takes place in the fallout of the Homecoming program. In some ways, the season goes far afield from where we were in season one, and in other ways, it’s directly tied to the moments that we left off in season one and intimately involved with more of the corporate side of what was done to the men and the consequences of that.”
10. The Lovebirds – Friday, May 22, Netflix
NetflixThe Lovebirds was set to debut in cinemas on April 3rd, but when theatres began closing down, Netflix picked up the rights from distributors Media Rights Capital and Paramount.
Two HBO alums: Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani and Insecure’s Issa Rae play a couple who have just realized they’re perfect for each other when they suddenly find themselves in the midst of a murder mystery of sorts—one in which they’re the prime suspects. And alas, it falls to them to prove their innocence by finding the person who actually committed the crime—a perilous mission which has them wondering if either they, or their fledgling relationship, will survive.