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What to Watch This Week: February 17 to 23

From Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala to a new Toronto-based Law & Order series, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. United States of Scandal – Sunday, February 18, CNN | Series Premiere

United States of Scandal on CNN. Pictured: Jake Tapper

CNN anchor Jake Tapper hosts this six-part series examining what drives someone to break the rules — and what happens when they’re caught. Weaving together archival footage and illuminating conversations with some of the most infamous figures in American politics, Tapper dives into the stranger-than-fiction stories of sensational American political scandals. “This series was a surreal chance to go back and talk to the major players and unpack what actually happened, getting at the real truths and the confounding motivations and decisions,” says Tapper.

2. People’s Choice Awards  – Sunday, February 18, CTV2 & NBC

People's Choice Awards on CTV2 & NBC. Pictured: this year's host: Simu Liu.

The various critics’ circles and academies have had their say. Now, it’s time for the fans to weigh in. Hollywood’s most prestigious viewer-voted awards gala returns to recognize achievers across the realms of film, TV, Internet, music and pop culture at large. The show is adding five new categories this year: Male and Female Country Artist, Male and Female Latin Artist, and Concert Tour. Was the latter created specifically for Taylor Swift? Who’s to say! (But yes . . . it definitely was.)

As expected, Barbie continues to be among the top nominees. And, fittingly enough, one of that movie’s stars has been tapped to host this year’s ceremony: Simu Liu. It’s another feather in the cap of the Canadian actor who parlayed success on a CBC sitcom (Kim’s Convenience) into the lead role in a Marvel blockbuster (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) before capturing the zeitgeist again this summer as one of Barbie’s Kens. 

Said NBCUniversal executive Jen Neal on choosing Liu to be their emcee: “As a fan-favourite tour de force in Hollywood, Simu’s limitless charm and connection to fans perfectly embody the spirit of this awards show.”  

With such a breadth of categories, expect an eclectic crowd, with everyone from Halle Bailey (The Little Mermaid) and Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning) to reality divas like Ariana Madix (Vanderpump Rules) to pop superstars Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift. Even Swift’s boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, is in the mix, up for Athlete of the Year. They may not all be in attendance, mind you. But a couple A-listers who will be there for sure: Adam Sandler, who is set to accept the People’s Icon Award, and Lenny Kravitz, this year’s Music Icon.

3. The Good Doctor – Tuesday, February 20, CTV & ABC | Season Premiere

The Good Doctor on CTV & ABC. Pictured: Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy

Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) and his fellow healers return for a seventh and final season. As ever, the autistic surgeon knows exactly what he’s doing in the operating room, but everything else is a constant challenge. Over the years, Shaun has risen admirably to those challenges — from learning how to interact with patients and colleagues, to becoming a supervisor, to maintaining a long-term romance. This season presents his greatest hurdle yet: fatherhood.

At the end of season six, Shaun and Lea welcomed their first child. Now, the writers delve into the joyful calamity that ensues. Speaking of calamity, we expect Shaun has some work ahead to repair his relationship with Glassman, after pulling his old mentor out of the surgical rotation upon learning of his stroke. (That said, Glassman himself extended something of an olive branch in the season-six finale, sending a gift for Shaun’s newborn.) 

Finally, as a new baby arrives, two more doctors depart. As hinted in the last episode, Danny Perez (Brandon Larracuente) and hospital president Marcus Andrews (Hill Harper) have both left St. Bonaventure.

4. Operation Arctic Cure — Tuesday, February 20, Disney+ | Series Premiere

Operation Arctic Cure on Disney+. Pictured: Five people in the Arctic.
Disney+/Courtesy of National Geographic

ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff leads veterans on an Arctic expedition to test a theory that experiencing the awe of the natural world can help to cure post-traumatic stress and depression. As they trek across one of the world’s most dramatic and pristine wildernesses, researchers monitor changes to their physical and emotional well-being to determine whether this is the medicine that these vets have been looking for. 

5. The Family Stallone — Wednesday, February 21, Paramount+ | Season Premiere

The Family Stallone on Paramount+. Pictured (left to right): Sistine, Jennifer Flavin, Sylvester, Scarlet and Sophia Stallone

We’re only on season two of this series delving into the home life of Sylvester Stallone, and already we’re moving to a whole different home! With youngest daughter Scarlet off to college in Miami, and elder girls Sistine and Sophia both “chasing their dreams” in New York City, Sly and his wife Jennifer Flavin are leaving Hollywood behind for a place in Palm Beach. Naturally, in addition to a new house, they’ll also have to adapt to a new family dynamic. And as any parent will tell you, no matter how much you think you’re ready for it, not having the kids around every day takes some getting used to. 

Yet as mom and dad tackle empty-nesting and the girls grapple with personal, professional and even a little bit of romantic drama (looking at you, Scarlet!), the whole clan will reunite for a trip to Italy, to explore their roots.

6. Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala – Wednesday, February 21, CBS

Dolly Parton's Pete Gala on CBS. Pictured: Dolly Parton and dog.
CBS/Courtesy of Dolly Parton

She’s renowned for conquering the worlds of country music, film and television. But did you know that Dolly Parton is also a pet fashion mogul? Her bestselling “Doggy Parton” line is a sight to behold, and tonight, more people than ever will get to behold it, thanks to the first annual “Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala.” Yes, it’s an haute couture runway event where there’s a real risk of the “models” actually running away.

“I have hosted or co-hosted many shows throughout my career, but I have never been more excited about co-hosting a show than I am about being part of this pet gala,” Parton teased in a statement. “I love animals. I’ve got all kinds, and of course, I’ve always had little dogs around, and big ones! We’re going to have some of all kinds and colours on the show, and there is nothing more fun to me than when little animals do what they do best, and I’m looking forward to it!”

In addition to serving as emcee, Parton will perform a few of her iconic hits, including “9 to 5,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Jolene” and, of course, “Puppy Love” — joined by fellow artists like Carly Pearce and Lainey Wilson. Other pet-loving celebrities who will walk the pink carpet include: Jane Lynch, Kristen Bell, Neil Patrick Harris, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Simpson and Young Sheldon himself, Iain Armitage.

7. Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent – Thursday, February 22, City | Series Premiere

Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent on Citytv. Pictured (left to right): Karen Robinson, Aden Young, Kathleen Munroe, K.C. Collins

Based on the L&O spinoff series, this new made-in-Canada iteration follows a pair of Toronto police detectives — Aden Young (Rectify) and Kathleen Munroe (Chicago Med) — as they solve high-profile ripped-from-the-headlines cases in Canada’s largest metropolis.

8. The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy – Friday, February 23, Prime Video | Series Premiere

The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy on Prime Video. Pictured: Dr. Sleech and Dr. Klak, aliens
Prime Video

A new series looks to challenge Rick and Morty’s reign as television’s most outrageous animated sci-fi comedy.

Per Amazon’s synopsis, The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy follows “Dr. Sleech and Dr. Klak — aliens, best friends and intergalactically renowned surgeons — as they tackle anxiety-eating parasites, illegal time loops and deep-space STIs.” 

Sleech is voiced by Everything Everywhere All At Once Oscar-nominee Stephanie Hsu, and Klak by Nope’s Keke Palmer. Meanwhile, the rest of the ensemble includes Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonne (also a producer on the series) and recent Succession Emmy-winner Kieran Culkin — with guest spots by Kieran’s brothers Rory, Shane, Christian and, yep, even Macaulay!

9. Great Performances — February 23, WTVS & KCTS

Great Performances on PBS. Pictured (left to right): Wynonna, Brad Paisley, Jelly Roll

When country music legend George Jones died in 2013, the singer nicknamed “Possum” left behind a rich legacy of classic songs that ran the gamut from brittle heartbreak to celebratory carousing, with his influence still felt in the new generations of Nashville artists who emerged in his wake. The Great Performances special George Jones: Still Playin’ Possum documents an all-star tribute concert featuring an array of top contemporary country artists singing some of Jones’ best-loved hits. Among those taking to the stage are Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Wynonna, Jelly Roll, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Lorrie Morgan, Justin Moore, Trace Adkins, Uncle Kracker, Sara Evans, Aaron Lewis, Gretchen Williams, Janie Fricke, Sam Moore and, making a special appearance, Randy Travis. Fans can expect to hear new renditions of numerous Jones classics such as “The Grand Tour,” “Tennessee Whiskey,” “White Lightning,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and more.

10. Jenny Slate: Seasoned Professional – Friday, February 23, Prime Video

Jenny Slate: Seasoned Professional on Prime Video. Pictured: Jenny Slate on stage.
Prime Video

The Saturday Night Live alum unleashes a new special reflecting on the things we do for love — specifically, “pushing out a baby, stalking your therapist [and] trusting your partner not to destroy you.”

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