What to Watch This Week: May 22 to 27

From sci-fi faves to reality crownings, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

From sci-fi faves to reality crownings, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. American Idol – Sunday, May 22, 8 p.m., City & ABC | Season Finale

American IdolCityIt’s hard to believe this sing-off has been on the air for 20 years. (Remember when critics all wondered when it would flame out?) Yet here we are at the end of a milestone season that, in a pleasant surprise, has included some Canadian contenders.  

On Sunday, the next Idol will be crowned, and if the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks are any indication, there could be some big things in their future. Tune in to see who host Ryan Seacrest will announce as the year’s winner, while judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie cheer them on and nod knowingly from the sidelines.

2. Cruel Instruction – Sunday, May 22, 8 p.m. & 9:30 p.m., Lifetime

Cruel InstructionLifetimeBased on a true story, this Lifetime movie follows a 16-year-old girl (Kelcey Mawema) who is sent to a residential treatment centre in Utah after getting expelled from school. Here, headmistress Miss Connie (Camryn Manheim) and her staff use such draconian methods as force-feeding medications, arbitrary punishments, solitary confinement, and plenty of verbal and physical abuse to keep the students in line.

3. Better Call Saul: Slippin’ Jimmy – Monday, May 23, AMC+ (Stream) | Series Premiere

Better Call Saul: Slippin' JimmyAMC+Given that Better Call Saul is a spinoff of Breaking Bad, this unorthodox spinoff-of-a-spinoff takes viewers back to young Jimmy McGill’s childhood growing up in Chicago. The six-episode limited series, debuting on Monday and airing on consecutive days, is nothing if not ambitious, with each episode mimicking the style of a particular 1970s-era Saturday-morning cartoon, while also spoofing various movie genres ranging from Exorcist-style horror to Clint Eastwood-esque spaghetti westerns.  

While Bob Odenkirk doesn’t lend his voice to the younger, animated iteration of his character, Slippin’ Jimmy does feature the voices of Chi McBride (Hawaii Five-0), Laraine Newman (a member of Saturday Night Live’s original Not Ready for Primetime Players) and Sean Giambrone of The Goldbergs. Produced by Starburns, the company behind the animation for Rick and Morty, the series comes from Better Call Saul writers Ariel Levine and Kathleen Williams-Foshee. 

4. Ricky Gervais: Supernature – Tuesday, May 24, Netflix

Ricky Gervais: SupernatureNetflixOver in the U.K., Ricky Gervais got his start in standup, so it’s rarely a surprise for his fans across the pond when he’s got a new special. In North America, however, he first came into the public eye by co-creating and starring in the British version of The Office; and the majority of his most popular work over here has been as an actor. (Indeed, he’s been getting rave reviews for his comedic and dramatic work on Netflix’s After Life, which recently concluded its three-season run.)  

And even though the man’s also gotten plenty of press for his gigs as host of the Golden Globe Awards, it’s always still a little bit of a surprise to be reminded that, yes, Gervais is a creature of the stage.  

In this case, though, that surprise is warranted, since Supernature is his first filmed set since 2018’s Humanity. Despite that layoff, in a 2022 interview with Deadline, Gervais set a high bar: “I’m actually putting more into the show to keep it fresh, and this spate of gigs are the best gigs I’ve ever done.” 

5. The Great American Tag Sale With Martha Stewart – Wednesday, May 25, 8 p.m., ABC

The Great American Tag Sale With Martha StewartABCA woman who got her start as a model, became the most trusted homemaker in America and then saw it all blow up when she was thrown in jail for an insider trading scandal—it’s safe to say Martha Stewart has had quite the journey. And throughout that journey, she’s accumulated quite the collection of lavish furniture, art and housewares… which she’s now ready to sell. That’s our entry point for this one-off special, which aside from hosting a TV show with Snoop Dogg, feels like her most random project yet.  

Stewart invites viewers into her 153-acre estate, where her vast collection is on full display. Throughout the hour, she’ll slide into garage-sale mode, regaling everyone with the stories and memories behind each piece. Of course, this wouldn’t be a true Martha Stewart special if there wasn’t some kind of teachable DIY moment. In that vein, the woman also imparts her wisdom on how you too can execute a successful tag sale at home. Then, with her team of event planners, the host with the most will hold a series of her own tag sales (and an exclusive cocktail party for celebrity pals and neighbours) showcasing her wares.  

All proceeds from the sale (which took place in April) and the cocktail party itself (tickets ranged from $25 to $250 a pop) went to charity. So, if it all seems ridiculously expensive and lavish, at least we know it was for a good cause. Your move, Marie Kondo. Your move.

6. Chicago Fire – Wednesday, May 25, 9 p.m., City & Fox | Season Finale

Chicago FireCityNBC’s firefighter drama is known for its cast turnover, but even so, when series lead Jesse Spencer departed this past October, it was a shock. His character, Cpt. Matthew Casey, made the life-changing decision to leave Firehouse 51 and move to Oregon to look after the Griffin boys. In real life, Spencer wanted to exit the series because he’d been working in TV for the past 18 years straight and needed a break. Well, the good news is, Casey’s back for this week’s 10th-season finale, and we couldn’t think of a cameo more fitting given the major storyline that’s been unfolding this year involving the show’s other heartthrob, Taylor Kinney, a.k.a. Firehouse 51’s reformed bad boy Kelly Severide.  

“We pretty much begged him, pleaded and offered him the moon so he would come back and do the finale,” exec producer Derek Haas told TVLine. “The character pledged he would be best man at Severide’s wedding. We’re so grateful to [Spencer] that he would come back and honour that pledge.”

7. Grey’s Anatomy – Thursday, May 26, 8 p.m., CTV & ABC | Season Finale

Grey's AnatomyCTVIt’s been a season of big decisions for leading lady Meredith Grey, and some of those decisions may have fans worried—especially heading into this week’s two-hour season finale. While we can’t promise all the characters will be safe (this is Grey’s, after all), rest assured that Mer is definitely going to come through OK. She and the show are both committed to returning for season 19. 

8. Emergency – Friday, May 27, Prime Video

EmergencyPrime VideoWhen they discover a white girl they don’t know passed out in their dorm room, a trio of male college students (who are Black and Latinx) decide to take her home—only to find themselves targeted by the cops after the drunk girl’s friends track her phone in search of the people they wrongly assume are her attackers. 

9. Obi-wan Kenobi – Friday, May 27, Disney+ | Series Premiere

Obi-wan KenobiDisney+While Netflix announces layoffs and spending cuts as its subscriber numbers begin falling for the first time in more than a decade, rival streamer Disney+ is clearly the source of much of that pain, thanks to its relentless expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars franchise. 

A big addition to the latter arrives this week, with Ewan McGregor reprising his titular role from the fourth, fifth and sixth Star Wars flicks in Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

The six-part series essentially serves as a bridge between those prequel films and the original trio of movies, set a decade after the events of Revenge of the Sith, in which the revered Jedi Master experienced his greatest defeat when apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen, who is also returning) was consumed by the dark side of the Force to become quintessential villain Darth Vader. 

In addition to McGregor and Christensen, the cast also includes Joel Edgerton (reprising the role of Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen), Kumail Nanjiani (Eternals), O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Sung Kang (F9: The Fast Saga), Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), Rupert Friend (Homeland), Maya Erskine (PEN15) and more. 

While plot details are, as usual, being kept tightly under wraps, McGregor expounded on the experience of returning to a part that he’d last played nearly 20 years earlier.  

“It was nice to come back and to bridge that gap between me and Alec Guinness,” McGregor told Total Film (Guinness famously played Obi-Wan in the first Star Wars film, subsequently subtitled A New Hope). “I got as much, or more, out of playing him this time than I did in the first three movies put together,” McGregor added. “That’s to do with the writing, and the people we were making the series with, and the technology, and how different everything is.” 

10. Stranger Things – Friday, May 27, Netflix | Season Premiere

Stranger ThingsNetflixIt’s been three whole years since we’ve gotten to binge some ’80s-inspired horror from the Upside Down. But now, we’re finally ready to hop on those two-wheelers and return to small-town Indiana to watch Mike (B.C.’s own Finn Wolfhard) and his friends battle interdimensional demons, government conspiracies and, worst of all, adolescence.  

The action picks up six months after the Battle of Starcourt, where not all of our favourite characters made it out alive. But there’s little time to grieve—not when yet another supernatural calamity is about to descend on Hawkins, with a new Big Bad for our young heroes to brave. Netflix has been dropping tidbits about this season slowly but surely over the past few months, including the reveal of Vicna, the humanoid hell-beast ready to paint the town red (with lots and lots of blood). That’s not the only new fiend to look forward to, however. Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger himself!) is joining the cast as local asylum inmate Victor Creel.  

Meanwhile, Chief Hopper (David Harbour) has been getting to know the fine folks performing experiments on him at that Soviet prison camp. And we also can’t forget that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Will (Noah Schnapp), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) have relocated to California for a fresh start in season three; but judging by the previews, it won’t be all sunny days for this unconventional family—especially not for a newly powerless Eleven, who has a heck of a time making friends in high school. Other tidbits from the trailer: a creepy doll, gunfights and, as ever, ominous men in suits.  

The first half of season four drops this week, with the second half coming in hot on July 1st.