From a new crime drama to a memorable Christmas adventure, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Women Who Act – Monday, December 2, 6:30 a.m. & 2:40 p.m., HBO Canada
HBO CanadaDirector Barry Avrich teams with interviewer/fellow filmmaker Patricia Rozema to chat with four prominent Canadian actresses — Andrea Martin (SCTV), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) and Rozema’s Into the Forest star Ellen Page — about their careers, approaches to acting and more.
2. Making It – Monday, December 2 & Thursday, December 5, 10:01 p.m, NBC | Season Premiere
NBCHas the do-it-yourself industry ever been stronger? Between Pinterest, classes at local hardware stores and infinite blogs featuring everything from home cooks and renovators to pet breeders and crafters, shabby DIY seems to be the new chic. Two of the funniest people in showbiz, Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, are very much capitalizing on that trend as hosts of this crafty competition, which debuts its second season Monday night.
While the first instalment bowed in summer 2018, round two is here right in time for the holidays, as it follows eight “Makers” from across America who are hoping their handmade creations impress the former Parks and Recreation co-stars, along with the judges, Simon Doonan and Dayna Isom Johnson.
This year, the crafting ranges from office makeovers to Christmas decorations, with the hosts assigning a variety of materials from which said crafts will be concocted (everything from felt to food, we hear). New episodes air Monday-Thursday this week and Monday and Tuesday next, before the two-hour finale on Wednesday, December 11.
3. One Day At Disney – Tuesday, December 3, Disney+
Disney+With all of the classic Disney, Marvel and Star Wars programming populating Disney+ when it debuted, not to mention star-studded original series like The Mandalorian and The World According to Jeff Goldblum, it would be easy to overlook the fact that there’s also a new full-length documentary hitting the streaming service this week, and one that’s perfect for those devoted to the so-called House of Mouse.
One Day at Disney takes a look at 10 employees of the Walt Disney Company and explores their various roles, some of which are very much in the only-at-Disney vein. Examples include Eric Baker, a Walt Disney “Imagineer” who’s helped conceive creatures and props for the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at Disneyland and Disney World; Eric Goldberg, an animator whose credits include creating the Genie in Aladdin and directing Pocahontas; Mark Gonzales, who works on the Disneyland Railroad; and Dr. Natalie Mylniczenko, a Disney World veterinarian.
4. The Polar Express – Wednesday, December 4, 3 p.m. & 7 p.m., AMC
AMCArguably the most successful of director Robert Zemeckis’s late-career experiments in motion-capture technology, The Polar Express follows a boy who doesn’t quite believe in Santa as he’s whisked away by a magical locomotive bound for the North Pole. Tom Hanks plays the Conductor and Saint Nick himself.
5. Vikings – Wednesday, December 4, 9 p.m. & 10 p.m., History | Season Premiere
HistoryThe epic saga that began with wildly ambitious Norseman Ragnar Lothbrok is now set to end with his equally conquest-hungry sons. When the internationally adored Canadian drama kicks off its sixth and final season with a two-hour premiere this week, expect plenty more bloodshed, backstabbery and family feuding (and not of the “talking politics at Thanksgiving” variety).
Bjorn is very much basking in the glory of his victory at Kattegat. But though he’s hailed a hero, now that he’s king, he’ll have to fill his dead father’s shoes and live up to the legends of Vikings past. That leaves his brother, disgraced tyrant Ivar the Boneless, to follow the road less travelled — the Silk Road, that is — landing him in Russia where he meets his match in Prince Oleg (new star Danila Kozlovsky). Meanwhile, Hvitserk continues plotting his revenge in hopes of taking down Ivar once and for all, Lagertha seeks solace in a life away from the public eye despite others’ intentions for her, and Ubbe and Torvi head to Iceland to figure out what exactly happened to Floki.
6. V Wars – Thursday, December 5, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixIf you’ve been pining for more TV vampires, what with the lack of True Blood, The Strain and Fox’s one-and-done The Passage, Netflix is here to save the day (or, night, as the case may be). V Wars is based on Jonathan Maberry’s hit graphic novels and also happens to star one of our favourite TV bloodsuckers of all time, Ian Somerhalder. This time, the former Vampire Diaries bad boy will be the one helping humanity stave off the vampiric plague as Dr. Luther Swann, who races to cure an emergent disease that’s transforming us all into ravenous plasma fiends.
Our Canadian fave Adrian Holmes (19-2) co-stars as a man who is taken by the disease and quickly rises up the undead ranks to become their leader; he also happens to be Dr. Swann’s best friend. Canadians Laura Vandervoort (Bitten) and Peter Outerbridge (ReGenesis) also star in this Ontario-shot thriller.
7. Same Time, Next Christmas – Thursday, December 5, 9 p.m., ABC
ABCSince she has both a new album and a new TV movie that celebrate Christmas, Lea Michele surely is in a seasonal frame of mind.
Filming in Hawaii held much allure for the Glee and Scream Queens alum as she made Same Time, Next Christmas, which ABC debuts Thursday. Echoing the late Bernard Slade’s play Same Time, Next Year, the tale casts Michele as a woman who’s reunited with her childhood love (The Originals’ Charles Michael Davis) in the islands during a family vacation at the holidays. Their timing is still “off,” though, a problem that goes on to plague them even more, despite their obvious sparks.
8. Truth Be Told – Friday, December 6, Apple TV+ | Series Premiere
Apple TV+In a world of “fake news,” the truth can get fuzzy. Look no further than this new series starring Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) and Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us) for proof. The 10-episode offering takes the age-old question of what happens when an innocent man is thrown in prison but puts a modern spin on things, partly by factoring in the recent rise of true crime podcasts.
9. Astronomy Club – Friday, December 6, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixMaking good on his recently inked overall deal with Netflix, black-ish creator Kenya Barris produces this sketch series from the Astronomy Club, a.k.a. the first all-black team at the vaunted Upright Citizens Brigade (alma mater for such talent as Amy Poehler). While the show originated on Comedy Central’s website, it’s getting a chance to spread its wings on a streaming service now, and Barris plans to make the most of it. “You know how people try to be different?” he asked Vulture. “[These performers are] not trying to be different; they’re trying to be themselves, and in being themselves they’ve created something really unique and really fresh. But the greatest thing about them is all the tones and beats that they hit; I feel like it’s something I’m really comfortable and familiar with, too, but it’s new in a way I haven’t seen.”
10. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Friday, December 6, Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime VideoThe doors to success are finally blown wide open for Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Emmy-winner Rachel Brosnahan), who after struggling to establish herself on the New York comedy scene is offered the opportunity to be the opening act for crooner Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain) on his tour throughout the United States and Europe.
But while a fantastic new wardrobe (by Emmy-nominated costume designer Donna Zakowska) and the opportunity to show off her hilarity across continents is the kind of fabulousness (or marvelousness) this show is known for, the road ahead is not without bumps. “I think Midge’s journey is a continued sense of discovery of her talent and a continued question on how do you, as a woman, when you’re that talented and that passionate about pursuing your dream profession in 1959, balance that with the rest of your life?” says Emmy-nominated actress Marin Hinkle, who plays Midge’s mother Rose. “One of the trajectories of season three is that extraordinary balancing act that she needs to sort through — and it is hard.”
As a mother of two, the almost-ex-wife of a man she clearly still has great affection for, a daughter of parents in turmoil (more about that in a bit), and a new fiancé who, it seems, is about to be left high and dry, her career and life choices do not come without consequences. “As she goes on the road, she and Susie [Emmy-winner Alex Borstein — notice a pattern?] are going to really find new elements to their extraordinary friendship, but then Midge is also going to be dealing with the challenge of leaving her family, and how do we feel when she’s gone?” says Hinkle.