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From a Manhattan-set season of American Horror Story to a time-bending espionage thriller, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
CTV ComedyWhen it comes to writing, they say, “Write what you know.” Paul Rabliauskas has clearly taken that to heart: his new CTV Comedy series, Acting Good, revolves around a First Nations standup comic who tries to make it big in the bustling metropolis of Winnipeg, only to admit defeat and return home to his community on Grouse Lake, where he gets into sort of a Corner Gas situation with his old friends and neighbours. On that note, it’s clear this going to more than just Paul’s show, as evidenced by the list of characters: Brady (Pat Thornton), North Store manager and “only white guy on the Rez”; Roger Laughingstick (Billy Merasty), voice of the Rez and radio DJ; Jo (Roseanne Supernault), reformed bully and band councillor; Dean (Gabriel Daniels), big-hearted but unreliable; Agnes (Tina Keeper), family member; Chickadee (Avery Claudia Sutherland), Jo’s rebellious daughter; and Rose (Cheyenna Sapp), Paul’s on-again, off-again girlfriend.
“It’s really important for him to do this respectfully,” said Amber-Sekowan Daniels, who co-created the series with Rabliauskas, Eric Roth and Pat Thornton, of making an Indigenous sitcom. “The responsibility you have as a storyteller is huge… We don’t have a lot of these stories in the mainstream so we have to take care of them.”
NetflixWe’ve known for a while that Gabriel Iglesias is a popular comic, but there’s popular, and then there’s popular enough to sell out back-to-back shows at Dodger Stadium. It was such a big deal that the city of Los Angeles held a ceremony prior to the first show to honour his accomplishment. Here, state senator María Elena Durazo praised the man they call Fluffy, underlining his significance for Latinx representation. “You make it real,” Durazo said. “My generation, we were in the Chicano movement. We had to fight like hell for our people and our community. You talk about a community in a way that is respectful.”
Iglesias’s reply: “This is powerful. I’m just trying to tell jokes, make people laugh, make people smile.”
HBO CanadaThis new doc focuses on Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Travelling back to the places where he grew up, Black explores his childhood roots, gay identity and close relationship with his mother, who overcame childhood polio, abusive marriages and Mormon dogma, while becoming Black’s emotional rock and, ultimately, the inspiration for his activism. With a wealth of photographs and candid memories from Black’s family, colleagues and friends, Mama’s Boy embraces the personal to tell a universally hopeful tale of resilience and reconciliation through the power of love and shared stories.
FX CanadaSeason 11 of the venerable anthology is taking its campy thrills to New York. That’s really all we know plot-wise, but we can tell you that co-star Zachary Quinto is back in the mix for the first time since season two, along with AHS staples like Denis O’Hare, Billie Lourd and Patti LuPone.
NetflixPaul Feig (Bridesmaids) directs this film adaptation of Soman Chainani’s bestselling YA fantasy series that follows best friends Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie) as they navigate an enchanted school for young heroes and villains—and find themselves on opposing sides of the battle between good and evil. Meanwhile, Feig has assembled an all-star cast that includes Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Michelle Yeoh and Laurence Fishburne as the various deans, professors and headmasters, with Theron playing the School for Evil’s Lady Lesso while Yeoh and Washington play the School for Good’s professors. Kit Young, Rachel Bloom, Peter Serafinowicz, Mark Heap and Patti LuPone also star. “To have one of your favourite directors adapt your book into a film for Netflix is an honour and a dream,” said author Chainani in a statement. “Paul Feig is a brilliant filmmaker and a master of tone—a perfect fit for the twists and turns of The School for Good and Evil.”
ShowcaseIn this mind-bending British sci-fi espionage thriller, Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You) stars as George, a software developer who finds himself inexplicably reliving the last six months of his life. This leads him to be recruited for the Lazarus Project, a secret organization that has harnessed the ability to turn back time whenever the world is at threat of extinction. As George makes like a time-travelling 007, he’s tasked with stopping a rogue former agent (Tom Burke, The Musketeers) with a nuclear arsenal.
NetflixLooking to get into the Halloween spirit with some “true” horror? This paranormal experiment has you covered. Netflix is putting a twist on the ghost-hunter genre by taking four different teams of supernatural experts, and challenging them each to live in some of America’s most haunted locations for 28 full days.
There, they will conduct investigations informed specifically by the theories of two of the most famous demonologists to ever walk the planet: Ed and Lorraine Warren. For those unfamiliar, the couple is the inspiration behind several big-screen fright fests, including The Conjuring, Annabelle and the Amityville franchise. (In real life, they investigated several of the most famous haunted-house/demonic-possession cases in America, and at one point there was even an occult museum in Connecticut containing many of the artifacts they had collected over their careers.)
Per Netflix, 28 Days Haunted is the “most extreme paranormal experiment of all time.” And, devoted though they may be to their spooky calling, these teams will be pushed to the brink of fear and sanity, as they learn exactly why each accursed location—from Colorado to Connecticut to North Carolina—earned its reputation.
Apple TV+If you’re a cinephile, then it’s hard not to get excited about a film featuring the name “Alfonso Cuarón” in the credits—even if he’s only producing as opposed to directing. Add into the mix that the film in question is directed by Rodrigo García, the man behind such films as Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her and Nine Lives, and you’ve got a bona-fide cinematic event on your hands. And did we mention that it also stars Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor? Yeah, it’s clear that Raymond and Ray isn’t messing around.
As you might reasonably have suspected, the titular characters are played by McGregor (Raymond) and Hawke (Ray), and they’re two half-brothers who reunite upon the death of their estranged father. After attending dad’s funeral, the two hit the road together to try and learn more about a man they barely knew. It’s an expedition which leads them to their old man’s nurse (Sophie Okonedo), his mistress (Maribel Verdú) and the mistress’s son (Maxim Swinton)—a.k.a. their long-lost half-brother.
“It’s rare to read a script with such beautiful writing and such an unusual story, but where you can imagine the playing of these words is going to be so amazing,” McGregor told The Hollywood Reporter during the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie screened this past September. “As an actor, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, let me get my hands on this!’ This didn’t disappoint.”
Hawke, meanwhile, found the experience interesting because it reunited him with Rodrigo, who’d served as camera operator on the actor’s early hits Reality Bites and Great Expectations. “We were on the jury at Sundance together, spent a lot of time together and right as we were flying home, he slipped me a script with Ewan McGregor attached,” Hawke told THR. The rest, as they say, is history.
NetflixThere’s something about cooking that’s just inherently romantic. So it’s no surprise a chef is at the centre of this rom-dram, which is based on author Tembi Locke’s bestselling memoir. Produced by actress turned burgeoning media tycoon Reese Witherspoon, From Scratch stars Zoe Saldaña as Amy, a woman studying abroad who meets a Sicilian chef (Eugenio Mastrandrea) on the streets of Florence. They fall head over veals and build a life together in the United States. When he dies unexpectedly, Amy is shattered, but must somehow pull herself together to raise their daughter the way her papa would’ve wanted.
“This is a profound true story of love and family, deprivation and nourishment that needs to be brought to life on the screen as Tembi Locke brought it vividly to life for me on the page,” said Saldaña (who exec-produced the show with her sisters, Cisely Saldaña and Mariel Saldaña) in a release.
Added Witherspoon: “Tembi’s memoir is a raw and tender exhibition of life in all its pieces. She brings you into her love, her loss and her resilience with such vulnerability and strength.”
CraveSinger, songwriter, trailblazer, activist, innovator, icon—all those words are applicable when describing Buffy Sainte-Marie. Her extraodinary life is examined in this 90-minute documentary from filmmaker Madison Thomas, who utilizes rare archival footage, insightful interviews and plenty of music to celebrate her many achievements, while also dispelling myths and setting the record straight. While her talent brought fame and success, her unapologetic activism also led to her becoming a target of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, which took the unprecedented step of demanding that radio stations refuse to play her records.
Thomas takes viewers on a journey through Sainte-Marie’s storied career, including becoming the first (and so far only) Indigenous person to win an Oscar—which she accomplished in 1983 when “Up Where We Belong,” which she co-wrote and was featured in An Officer and a Gentleman, won for Best Original Song—to the censorship and blacklisting she faced after using her music to protest the Vietnam War and advocate for issues affecting Indigenous peoples.
In addition to interviews with Sainte-Marie herself, Thomas speaks with her friends, including Joni Mitchell, Taj Mahal and Alanis Obomsawin, illustrating her unique perspective on life and deep sense of compassion.