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What to Watch This Week: January 27 to February 2

From a CNN docuseries exploring the many lives of Martha Stewart to new British Three Little Birds, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero – Saturday, January 27, HBO Canada

Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero on HBO Canada. Pictured: Lil Nas X
HBO Canada

Having made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, this documentary takes an inside look at the life of rapper Lil Nas X, who broke through with “Old Town Road,” his country-rap collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus, before coming out as openly gay and revolutionizing the rap genre. Filmmakers Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel embedded themselves with Lil Nas X as he navigated the whirlwind of fame, creativity and growing responsibility that came with his meteoric success. The resultant film features spectacular tour footage and fascinating glimpses of his life offstage.

2. Battle on the Mountain – Sunday, January 28, HGTV | Series Premiere

Battle on the Mountain on HGTV. Pictured: The latest home-reno competition takes place in Breckenridge, Colorado.

HGTV soars to bold new heights with its latest home-reno competition — more specifically, 13,000 feet above sea level. 

Taking place in picturesque Breckenridge, Colorado, three married couples with a knack for fixer-uppery will be assigned similar mountainside homes and tasked each episode with renovating a different room. Mentoring them along the way are three of the network’s top stars: Rico León of Rico to the Rescue, Kim Wolfe of Why the Heck Did I Buy This House? and Kim Myles of Design Star: Next Gen

The goal is to add as much property value as possible to each home — as judged by an all-star panel of HGTV personalities including Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson (Married to Real Estate); Jasmine Roth (Help! I Wrecked My House) and Page Turner (Fix My Flip); and Battle on the Beach mentors Taniya Nayak, Ty Pennington and Alison Victoria

First up, in tonight’s two-part premiere, the teams focus on kitchens and dining rooms, and have their work scrutinized by Down Home Fab’s Cole and Chelsea DeBoer. Winners of the weekly challenges will score $3,000 — just a little taste of the $50,000 grand prize that awaits in a few weeks, after the living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and various outdoor spaces are completed. 

3. The Many Lives of Martha Stewart – Sunday, January 28, CNN | Series Premiere

The Many Lives of Martha Stewart on CNN. Pictured: Martha Stewart

An ambitious young female stockbroker breaking barriers on Wall Street in the 1960s; an innovative caterer working out of a farmhouse in Connecticut; a female self-made billionaire and media mogul; and an inmate at a federal prison camp — these are some of the many incarnations of Martha Stewart depicted in this four-part documentary series. Airing over the course of two weekends, The Many Lives of Martha Stewart traces Stewart’s explosive rise to success, her staggering fall from grace, and her momentous comeback to the limelight, establishing herself as one of the country’s most fabled figures. Weaving together never-before-seen images from Stewart’s past, rich archival footage (including Stewart’s numerous sit-downs on CNN’s Larry King Live) and exclusive interviews with Stewart’s former employees, colleagues, fellow inmates and more, this illuminating series pulls back the curtain to reveal the woman behind the legendary lifestyle icon.

4. Jack Whitehall: Settle Down  – Tuesday, January 30, Netflix

Jack Whitehall: Settle Down on Netflix. Pictured: Jack Whitehall

You’ve seen him on the big screen in Clifford the Big Red Dog, on the small in goofy murder mystery The Afterparty and in several Netflix specials; the latest of the latter arrives this week, as the young Brit waxes comedic on dining alone, becoming a father and, fittingly enough, dogs!

5. Choir – Thursday, February 1, Disney + | Series Premiere

Choir on Disney+. Pictured: Detroit Youth Choir

Music is at the heart of this inspirational series centring on Detroit Youth Choir leader Anthony White, following the amazing journey that began after he and the choir — made up of Detroit kids ranging in age from eight to 18 — gained national attention on America’s Got Talent.

6. Three Little Birds – Thursday, February 1, BritBox | Series Premiere

Three Little Birds on BritBox. Pictured: Saffron Coomber as Chantrelle.

Between 1948 and 1971, Britain was reshaped by what has since become known as the “Windrush Generation” — a surge of new immigrants, mostly from the Caribbean. Seeking a fresh start, what they found upon arrival was hardship and prejudice — yet many still managed to thrive, carving out a community for themselves and their loved ones which endures to this day. 

A man who grew up in that community is Sir Lenny Henry, an actor, comedian and TV presenter. He’s also a gifted writer, as evidenced by this six-part series, which Henry penned to pay homage to the struggles and the triumphs of his forebears. Loosely based on real-life stories passed down by relatives, Three Little Birds opens in 1957 as Leah Whittaker (Rochelle Neil) — fleeing an abusive marriage and looking to provide for her kids — takes a leap of faith with her half-sister Chantrelle (Saffron Coomber) as the duo hop a steamboat from Jamaica to London. Also onboard is Leah’s friend Hosanna (Yazmin Belo), who is unofficially betrothed to her pal’s older brother Aston (Javone Prince), awaiting them all in England. Each woman has a notion of what her new life will be like, and none of them is quite right. But over the course of an exhilarating, poignant, surprisingly funny saga, they’ll find their way.

As Henry told British tabloid Metro: “These stories are inspired by my mum and dad and my uncles. But it’s a fictionalized narrative drama — because my family are incredibly litigious and if I say it’s inspired by them, they’re gonna want money! So I just wanted to create a narrative that was moving and honest and truthful in terms of what it must have felt like.”

Added his leading lady Neil: “Even though it’s set in 1957, I do feel like there’s a lot that resonates even to today. Taking your own destiny by the horns and forging your own path, I think is a universal story.”

7. A Bloody Lucky Day – Thursday, February 1, Paramount+ | Series Premiere

A Bloody Lucky Day on Paramount+. Pictured: Lee Sung-min plays down-on-his-luck cab driver with mysterious passenger.

This 10-episode thriller from South Korea follows Oh Taek (Lee Sung-min), a down-on-his-luck cab driver having an uncharacteristic streak of good fortune when he agrees to drive a mysterious man to a faraway city in exchange for an exorbitant fare. But when the passenger reveals himself to be a serial killer, confessing to grisly crimes in his past and murdering others on the highway, the taxi driver must play mind games to ensure his lucky streak doesn’t come to a deadly end.

8. Farmer Wants a Wife – Thursday, February 1, Fox | Season Premiere

Farmer Wants a Wife on Fox. Hardworking farmers court big-city gals.

Season two of this U.S. version of the international format that’s led to more marriages and honest-to-goodness families than any other reality show introduces us to four new “hardworking farmers” as they court an array of big-city gals who are ready to leave the hustle-bustle of the dating world behind and put down some roots.

9. The Tiger’s Apprentice – Friday, February 2, Paramount+

The Tiger's Apprentice on Paramount+. Pictured: Chinese-American boy riding talking tiger Mr. Hu.

In this animated fantasy, a Chinese-American boy (Brandon Soo Hoo), after the death of his grandmother, is taken under the wing of an unlikely mentor — talking tiger Mr. Hu (Henry Golding) — who teaches him the ancient magic he’ll need to become the new guardian of an ancient phoenix.

10. Orion and the Dark – Friday, February 2, Netflix

Orion and the Dark on Netflix. Pictured: Orion encounters the literal embodiment of darkness.

From Being John Malkovich to Adaptation to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is a revered Hollywood auteur known for his utterly singular, profound existential dramedies. What happens when a boundary-pushing artist like that turns his focus to penning an animated children’s flick? Let’s find out, shall we!

Produced by Shrek studio DreamWorks, based on Emma Yarlett’s 2014 children’s book, Orion and The Dark casts Vancouver’s own Jacob Tremblay (Room, Good Boys) as a kid who, like many a youngster, is afraid of the dark . . . plus, just about everything else, including “bees, dogs, the ocean, cellphone waves, murderous gutter clowns . . . even falling off a cliff.” Then one night, the literal embodiment of darkness (Richard Jewell’s Paul Walter Hauser) swoops in and takes this hopelessly neurotic lad on a wild adventure to prove there’s nothing to be afraid of, hoping to inspire Orion to “stop letting fear control his life and finally embrace the joy of living.”

Other cast members include Carla Gugino as Orion’s mom, Angela Bassett as the elusive Sweet Dreams, The Mindy Project’s Ike Barinholtz as Light, What We Do in the ShadowsNatasia Demetriou as Sleep and, narrating it all, the incomparable Werner Herzog.

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