From hip-hop history to a wine-soaked comedy, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Chernobyl – Monday, May 6, 8 p.m., HBO Canada I Series Premiere
HBO CanadaThose who support nuclear power may have second thoughts after watching Chernobyl.
Premiering Monday on HBO, the five-part miniseries recalls the events surrounding the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine that resulted in 28 immediate deaths (and an unknown number in the ensuing years) as well as the release of radioactive material across the Soviet Union and as far as Scandinavia and Western Europe. But, as bad as it was, it could have been much worse were it not for the actions of scientists, government officials, plant workers and others who risked their own careers, lives and health to prevent the fallout from spreading further west.
Among them are nuclear physicist Valery Legasov (Jared Harris, The Terror, Mad Men), who is the first to grasp the gravity of the situation; Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård, Thor, Mamma Mia!), the Soviet deputy prime minister who becomes Legasov’s closest collaborator; and Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson, Little Women, Gosford Park), a Soviet physicist committed to determining the cause of the accident.
2. Shadowhunters – Tuesday, May 7, Netflix I Series Finale
NetflixShadowhunters is ending, but many of its fans don’t want to let it go. Since U.S. network Freeform announced the fantasy-adventure’s cancellation, devotees not only have lobbied for its continuation—via a #SaveShadowhunters social media campaign, plus billboards and a banner flown over frequent show-saver Netflix’s Los Angeles headquarters (Netflix is also the show’s international distributor), but these fans have invoked the show’s theme of inclusiveness by making a sizable donation to LGBTQ charity The Trevor Project that Freeform parent company Disney matched.
The Shadowhunters finale is sizable itself, since the last episode clocks in at two-and-a-half hours. Adapted from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments book series (which was previously adapted into a less-than-successful film starring Lily Collins), the saga has followed the journey of numerous characters... but principally that of Clary Fray, a young woman whose life was upended by her discovery that she is a Shadowhunter, a demon-battling hybrid of human and angel.
3. Lucifer – Wednesday, May 8, Netflix I Season Premiere
NetflixWe live in an age in which cancellation no longer means eternal damnation to the TV underworld, with everything from The Mindy Project to Murdoch Mysteries getting axed by one network only to resurface on another—often with mixed results.
The jury is still out on how the fourth season of this devilish series will fare post-resurrection, but we have a feeling ditching the standards and practices department of a broadcast network for the freedoms of Netflix can only help bring author Neil Gaiman’s world to more vivid life.
At any rate, the series’ passionate fans are certainly relieved to have at least one more run with star Tom Ellis and co. And the feeling is very much mutual. “I want to personally thank the fans for getting us to the promised land, and I cannot wait for you to see what we’ve been up to this season,” Ellis said in a promo recently.
4. Big Brother Canada – Wednesday, May 8, 7 p.m.; Thursday, May 9, 8 p.m., Global I Season Finale
GlobalAmericans have it in their heads that Canadians are oh-so polite... but those people have probably never seen this show, the pressures of which are enough to dredge the basest form of humanity out of even the cheeriest Canuck. Sure, perhaps the Canadian edition is slightly more polite than the U.S. or U.K. counterparts on which it’s based, but at the end of the day a prize is a prize and these contestants (Pretty Boys included) are just as hungry for the big W. You would be too, with $100,000, a home makeover, $10,000 worth of groceries and a trip to anywhere in the world on the line. And so, following an espionage-themed season of blindsides, backstabbing and an abundance of twists, the live feed switches off with this week’s finale.
5. Empire – Wednesday, May 8, 8 p.m, Fox I Season Finale
It’s been called the heir apparent to Dynasty—what with all the murders, illegitimate heirs and over-the-top soapiness. And while the writers have no doubt cooked up a humdinger of a twist for tonight’s season finale, it’s unlikely to be crazier than the real-life Chicago crime saga involving co-star Jussie Smollett.
6. Modern Family – Wednesday, May 8, 9 p.m., City & ABC I Season Finale
With the birth of Haley and Dylan’s twins on the horizon—as in, probably before the credits roll—viewers get to see how all the other Pritchetts and Dunphys celebrated their respective birthdays throughout the year.
7. Paradise Hotel – Thursday, May 9, 8 p.m., City & Fox I Series Premiere
FoxClose your eyes and imagine a sun-soaked, all-inclusive beach vacation in your 20s, where you felt free and liberated to do anything (and anyone) you wanted. Now imagine the cameras capturing your every move, and your fellow vacation-goers having the power to send you packing at a moment’s notice. That’s the hook for this newly revived matchmaking series, which debuts this week with a whole new slew of beautiful men and women.
It’s been more than a decade since the last iteration of the two-season series aired, but hey—these days there’s no show too obscure or creatively played-out that some enterprising TV exec won’t order it back onto the airwaves. (What a time to be alive!)
Kristin Cavallari takes over as host, which should, at the very least, make Laguna Beach fans happy.
8. Wine Country – Friday, May 10, Netflix
NetflixIf you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live, then it won’t take anything more than a cursory glance at the cast list of Wine Country to know that it’s a must-see: the film stars Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Emily Spivey and Paula Pell. That’s a whole lot of funny, and it doesn’t even take into account that Jason Schwartzman is in the mix!
Directed by Poehler and shot on location at Artesa Estate, Quintessa Winery, Baldacci Family Vineyards and in the town of Calistoga, the plot is loosely based on a trip that these very women took together in real life to celebrate Dratch’s 50th birthday.
9. Marvels’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Friday, May 10, 8 p.m., CTV & ABC I Season Premiere
CTVLet’s get real: colourful superheroes and high-flying action notwithstanding, since the beginning, Clark Gregg has been the main reason to tune in to this small-screen spinoff of the Marvel cinematic universe. (Sidenote: He’s also among the top-five reasons to go out and catch Captain Marvel.)
While we’ve grown to know and love other characters over the seasons, it’s the Coulson portrayer who has always embraced and geeked out with the fan base, never hiding his enthusiasm for the Marvel world. How could you not love the guy for that?
So, as the sixth season debuts this week, fans will be happy to know that, recent plot developments aside, Gregg is back, and it’s not just as this episode’s director. Following the fifth-season finale (in which the team dropped a terminally ill Coulson off in Tahiti), Gregg is taking on a new character. According to recent promos, he’s going by the moniker of “Sarge,” although exactly who (or what) that is remains to be seen.
10. Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men – Friday, May 10, 10 p.m., CraveTV I Series Premiere
CraveSerious rap fans know that 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Wu-Tang Clan’s seminal debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and this four-part documentary series celebrates that milestone by taking an exhaustive look back at the group’s career. Intimate interviews from each of the nine living members are combined with never-before-seen archival footage and performances. The series follows the founding members—RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Masta Killa and Cappadonna—from the mean streets of Brooklyn and Staten Island in the 1970s and ’80s to their eventual stardom. Musical innovators with an entrepreneurial spirit, the members of Wu-Tang Clan were able to overcome the poverty, violence and oppression of their hardscrabble neighbourhoods while cementing themselves firmly within the annals of music history.