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What to Watch This Week: April 20 to 26

From an update on true-crime docuseries The Jinx to a career-spanning look at Bon Jovi, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. The Jinx: Part Two – Sunday, April 21, HBO Canada | Series Premiere

The Jinx: Part Two on HBO Canada. Pictured: real-estate mogul Robert Durst.

HBO’s 2015 docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst became a television phenomenon, shining the spotlight on real-estate mogul Robert Durst, who’d been accused of three murders but hadn’t been convicted. The documentary brought fresh scrutiny to the case, and in 2021 Durst was finally found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison; he died behind bars in 2022 at age 78. This six-episode continuation from filmmaker Andrew Jarecki picks up where the previous series left off, continuing the investigation by uncovering hidden material, including Durst’s prison calls and interviews with witnesses who hadn’t come forward previously.”

2. Secrets of the Octopus – Sunday, April 21, National Geographic | Series Premiere

Secrets of the Octopus on National Geographic. Pictured Octopus.
National Geographic

Narrated by Paul Rudd, this three-part docuseries — described as an “underwater adventure” — explores the unique behaviours, characteristics and intelligence of the octopus. These weirdly wonderful creatures boast three hearts, blue blood and the capability of squeezing through a space the size of their eyeballs, with the incredible ability to transform their bodies to mimic other animals. As marine biologist Dr. Alex Schnell explained during an appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour, capturing footage of an octopus takes a sharp eye and a lot of patience. “Finding an octopus is incredibly difficult because they can just blend into any background,” Schnell explained, marvelling at how the creatures eventually became accustomed to her presence, even reaching out to touch her. “We have this animal that has no backbone, no shell, no claws, no teeth to protect itself and yet, their extreme vulnerability is outweighed by curiosity,” she said.

3. Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen – Monday, April 22, Netflix

Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen on Netflix. Pictured: Fern Brady.

The 37-year-old Scottish standup, who was just diagnosed with autism three years ago, takes the stage for her first-ever Netflix special to sort through that particular bombshell — as well as little things like “death, decline and the disappointments of middle age.”

4. Quarter-Ton Teen – Monday, April 22, A&E | Series Premiere

Quarter-Ton Teen on A&E. Pictured graphic of obese teen.

Follow an array of dangerously overweight American teenagers fighting to live a healthier life. Tracking their respective journeys across multiple years, A&E’s new series features footage shot by the teens themselves as they diet, exercise and prep for risky surgery.

5. Orlando Bloom: To the Edge – Tuesday, April 23, National Geographic | Series Premiere

Orlando Bloom: To the Edge. Pictured: Orlando Bloom.
National Geographic

Orlando Bloom embarks on a physical, mental and spiritual journey of self-discovery as he learns three extreme sports — wingsuiting, free diving and rock climbing — that push him well out of his comfort zone.

6. The Big Door Prize – Wednesday, April 24, Apple TV+ | Season Premiere

The Big Door Prize on Apple TV+. Pictured: Chis O'Dowd.
Apple TV+

One of 2023’s most delightful surprises returns for a second season of existential dramedy. Once again, we open in the small town of Deerfield, where the lives of the townsfolk have been upended by the arrival of a strange device called the Morpho machine that shows people their true potential — forcing them to question the lives they’ve settled for. On that note, in season two, Cass (Gabrielle Dennis) and Dusty (Chris O’Dowd) take some time apart, while Hanna (Ally Maki) and Father Reuben (Damon Gupton) try to uncover the purpose of the Morpho, and the rest of Deerfield dabbles with personal reinvention. “This show is really about the cast,” creator David West Read told Deadline. “Something really exciting about a second season is that we get to go deeper with these characters as they go deeper into themselves.”

7. Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story — Friday, April 26, Disney+ | Series Premiere

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story. Pictured: (left to right) David Bryan, Richie Sambora, Jon Bon Jovi, Alec John Such, Phil X.

During a career spanning from the early 1980s until the present, New Jersey’s Bon Jovi has churned out a steady stream of hard-rocking hits. This four-part documentary series, made with the full cooperation of all the group’s members, past and present, understandably focuses on charismatic frontman Jon Bon Jovi. “As thrilling as the story of a once-in-a-lifetime talent is, it is even more rare that a legend like Jon Bon Jovi lets the world into his most vulnerable moments while he’s still living them. Forty years of personal videos, unreleased early demos, original lyrics and never-before-seen photos that chronicle the journey from Jersey Shore clubs to the biggest stages on the planet. The series relives the triumphs and setbacks, greatest hits, biggest disappointments and most public moments of friction,” explains the series’ synopsis. In addition to Bon Jovi himself, the doc also features interviews with members of the band, past and present, including drummer Tico Torres, former guitarist Richie Sambora, current guitarist Phil X, keyboardist David Bryan and multi-instrumentalist Everett Bradley. Also interviewed are producer/guitarist John Shanks, producer/engineer Obie O’Brien, manager Doc McGhee, Bon Jovi’s wife, Dorothea Bongiovi and fellow Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen.

8. Them: The Scare – Thursday, April 25, Prime Video | Season Premiere

Them: The Scare on Prime Video. Pictured: Deborah Ayorinde.
Prime Video

Almost exactly three years ago, Emmy-winning producer Lena Waithe (Master of None) and creator Little Marvin unleashed a racially charged supernatural thriller known as Them. Set in L.A. circa 1953, it centred on a Black family who fled their North Carolina home following a tragedy and took up residence in an all-white neighbourhood in the City of Angels, only to realize they were living in a haunted house. But the evil that lurked within their new home was nothing compared to the human monsters who resided next door. 

The long-delayed second season takes an American Horror Story approach by weaving a whole new tale with a few familiar faces.

Jumping ahead to 1991, when Los Angeles was right on the cusp of city-shaking race riots, season-one star Deborah Ayorinde transforms from ’50s housewife Livia Emory into Detective Dawn Reeve, who digs into the brutal slaying of a foster mother. Yet in doing so, she makes herself a target for a malevolent force that’s both otherworldly and chillingly human.

Ayorinde is joined in the cast by Blaxploitation icon Pam Grier (Jackie Brown).

9. Knuckles – Friday, April 26, Paramount+

Knuckles on Paramount+. Pictured: Knuckles, voiced by Iris Elba.

Between HBO’s The Last of Us and Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, these past five years have seen a slew of massively successful video game adaptations — a genre that, for decades up to that point, was populated almost exclusively by critically panned box-office duds (give or take a Resident Evil). 

Another marquee property leading this renaissance is Sonic the Hedgehog, which in 2020 scored nearly $320 million, followed by a sequel in 2022 that earned $405 million. Naturally, a third film is already in the works, but first comes a six-episode TV spinoff, giving the spotlight to antiheroic spiny anteater Knuckles. Introduced in Sonic 2, Knuckles (voiced by Luther’s Idris Elba) squared off with the motor-mouthed hedgehog (voice of Ben Schwartz) before breaking good and ultimately helping to defeat mad scientist Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).

In another blend of live-action and CGI, Elba once again lends his dulcet tones to Knuckles, who is having trouble figuring out his place in our strange world. Reluctantly paired up with hapless small-town deputy Wade Whipple (Adam Pally, reprising his role from the movies), Knuckles agrees to teach this bumbling human the honour-bound ways of the Echidna warrior. In the process, he may just find a new path for himself. (And yes, you can expect at least a cameo from Sonic.)

10. Luxe Living Toronto – Friday, April 26, Prime Video | Series Premiere

Luxe Listings Toronto on Prime Video. Pictured: Paige and Peter Torkan.
Prime Video

Spinning off from Australian hit Luxe Listings Sydney, this new series takes us into the “cutthroat” world of Toronto real estate through the eyes of three local moguls: Paige and Peter Torkan, a couple who built their empire after immigrating to Canada from Iran, as well as young up-and-comer Brett Starke. The Torkans have sold over $1.65 billion in GTA property, while Starke founded his business and earned his millions by “mastering the art and approach to real estate with a mentorship mindset at the forefront.” 

Per Amazon’s press release, “the luxe market demands a high attention to detail in order to succeed and this trio of Canada’s top real estate titans are all in.” This, of course, leads to “intense professional and incredible personal lives,” as they do whatever it takes to rise to the top in T.O. 

“We are thrilled to share an inside look at Toronto’s most stunning real estate with our customers around the world,” says Brent Haynes, head of local originals, Prime Video Canada, “not to mention what it takes behind the scenes for these agents to deliver top results for their clients. From tears and triumphs, each agent will show nothing is off-limits . . .”

Among the show’s producers is none other than Canadian home-renovation icon Scott McGillivray, of HGTV’s Income Property and Vacation House Rules.

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