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What to Watch This Week: March 30 to April 5

From Lisa Vanderpump’s latest reality show to a Colin Farrell whodunit, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. Spermworld – Saturday, March 30, Disney+

Spermworld on Disney+. Pictured: Against the landscape of roadside motels, this documentary follows intimate encounters between off-brand sperm donors and recipients.

Bringing new life into the world isn’t just a biological imperative, but over the past few decades has become a major industry unto itself. It’s not just sperm banks and IVF clinics that are cashing in on the baby-making business, and this eye-opening documentary delves into an unregulated online marketplace, a new wild west of conception where money-hungry sperm donors sell their wares directly to hopeful parents, cutting out the middlemen — while raising plenty of ethical questions along the way. “Against the landscape of roadside motels, abandoned shopping malls and suburban bathrooms across the country, Spermworld follows intimate encounters between off-brand sperm donors and recipients as they exchange more than just genetic material,” reads the synopsis of this film, based on a New York Times investigation. “In 2020, I received an email from journalist Nellie Bowles containing her ideas for a story about the online, unregulated sperm universe,” says director Lance Oppenheim. “As I read her notes, I started seeing her words in images. The tone of a movie began to emerge — strangers meeting to produce life in lonely places: strip malls at night, empty parking lots. I wanted to make a film that touched on modern loneliness and the quest to solve that feeling through the Internet, altruism and reproduction.”

2. Bryan’s All In – Sunday, March 31, HGTV | Series Premiere

Bryan’s All in on HGTV. Pictured: Brian Baeumler

The latest TV venture of Canadian home-reno icon Bryan Baeumler (of Disaster DIY and House of Bryan fame) finds the handyman hitting the road, lending his expertise to struggling entrepreneurs as they try to launch or revive their business. 

Following two special “preview” episodes this past fall, the series returns with eight new instalments, starting tonight as Bryan heads to Arnprior, Ontario, to help a bowling alley keep the balls rolling and the lights on. The owners must complete a long list of renovations and turn a profit within the year. Given that the alley itself is a local landmark, there is far more at stake than just the proprietors’ livelihood. 

In the coming weeks, Bryan will also help spruce up a fishing resort, a craft brewery and a maple syrup operation.

3. Lovers and Liars – Monday, April 1, KTLA | Series Premiere

Lovers and Liars on KTLA. Pictured: Nikki Glaser.
The CW

Part trashy dating battle, part profound character study, the pop-culture sensation known as FBoy Island looks to expand its zeitgeist-throttling reach with a spinoff. And naturally, they’ve chosen to follow in the gender-swapping footsteps of The Bachelor

Where FBoy Island had three women dating their way through a field of men evenly split between shameless philanderers and nice guys, Lovers and Liars (originally titled FGirl Island before a last-minute rebrand by The CW) follows three men who head to a tropical island looking for “real connection” and must choose from an array of women, only half of whom are there for those ever-elusive “right reasons.”

As with the parent show, beyond just happily-ever-after, there’s $100,000 on the line, which means ample incentive to lie your way to a payday. That said, the line between hero and villain will be blurred, as some contestants who were only in it for the cash start to catch a case of feelings, and some “good girls” go bad.

Once again, the emotional rollercoaster is hosted by comedian Nikki Glaser, who lends her wit and wisdom to another array of hapless romantics whose quest for love landed them on reality TV. 

As the synopsis aptly, enticingly sums up: “The competition is fierce, and the strategy is pure art.”

4. Vanderpump Villa – Monday, April 1, Disney+ | Series Premiere

Vanderpump Villa on Disney+. Pictured: Isa Vanderpump

Gazing out across Bravo’s vast and sprawling Real Housewives universe, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Housewife who took better advantage of her reality-TV infamy than Lisa Vanderpump. A mainstay of the franchise’s Beverly Hills branch from 2010-2019, in 2013 this savvy hospitality magnate launched a wildly popular spinoff known as Vanderpump Rules, tracking her efforts to oversee a club/bar/dining empire while wrangling an unruly team of servers, hosts, bartenders and chefs — each of whom are chasing side-hustle dreams of their own. That particular show is still going strong (thank you very much, #Scandoval), but now comes another TV project that, once again, is equal parts glamorous and scandalous. 

With Hulu/Disney+’s Vanderpump Villa, we open in France, where Lisa has recruited an elite staff to work on her latest venture: Château Rosabelle — an exclusive pop-up getaway that seeks to offer its wealthy guests “luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime, Vanderpump-curated experiences,” even as the employees themselves struggle with the “rivalries, romances and raucous misadventures” that result from being stuck together 24/7.

Amidst lavish parties, outlandish excursions and even a surprise marriage proposal, guests and staff alike offer viewers a weekly dose of raw human dramedy set against a truly stunning backdrop. As ever, it falls to Vanderpump to keep a lid on all the petty feuds and showmances, and the series’ trailer finds our erstwhile Housewife addressing her new staff: “I have personally selected each of you from some of the best restaurants, bars and kitchens. I know you know how to serve — but this is France, so let’s talk expectations.” 

Alas, she is soon enough forced to go full drill sergeant and remind them: “This is not Château S*** Show!”

5. American Horror Story – Wednesday, April 3, FX Canada

American Horror Story on FX Canada. Pictured: Kim Kardashian and Emma Roberts.

Emma Roberts and Kim Kardashian are back for part two of season 12. FX’s twisted anthology series went on hiatus in October due to strike-related delays. But now, the tale of one young actress’s demonic pregnancy complications is set to deliver its final four episodes. 

6. Walker – Wednesday, April 3, KTLA | Season Premiere

Walker on KTLA. Pictured: Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker.
The CW

An old serial killer and a new romance are on the horizon for studly Texas Ranger Cordell Walker. Season three ended with a kiss between Cordell and Geri, as well as a call alerting him to the possible re-emergence of the Jackal. It all kicks off tonight with a Walker family birthday party that gets a tad heated.

7. Star Trek: Discovery – Thursday, April 4, CTV Sci-Fi | Season Premiere

Star Trek: Discovery on CTV Sci-Fi. Pictured: David Ajala, Sonequa Martin-Green, Wilson Cruz

The Trek TV series that launched the franchise’s modern-day small-screen universe way back in 2017 returns for a fifth and final season. Debuting this Thursday with two new episodes, Captain Michael Burnham leads her crew on one last voyage across space and time to unravel an epic mystery, at the heart of which lies an “ancient power” that could obliterate the galaxy if it falls into the wrong hands. 

On that note, sci-fi vets Eve Harlow (The 100) and Elias Toufexis (The Expanse) join the cast as Moll and L’ak — season five’s ostensible Big Bads — who are also on the hunt for this hidden power. Speaking with Screen Rant, showrunner Michelle Paradise said that these two have a real “Bonnie and Clyde dynamic . . . I think people will unexpectedly find themselves maybe even rooting for them, even though they’re up against our heroes.” 

8. Sugar – Friday, April 5, Apple TV+ | Series Premiere

Sugar on Apple TV+. Pictured: Colin Farrell as John Sugar.
Apple TV+

Colin Farrell follows his Oscar-nominated turn in The Banshees of Inisherin with a return to the small screen. The Irish actor, who previously dabbled in TV on True Detective and, most recently, The North Water, now leads Apple’s new private eye drama. 

Set in the modern day but steeped in the stylistic and thematic tropes of classic noir, the eight-part limited series casts Farrell as John Sugar, an L.A. sleuth who is enlisted after the granddaughter of a legendary Hollywood producer goes missing. As he searches for the girl, Sugar uncovers some long-buried secrets about this powerful family. 

A story that both honours and interrogates the old films like The Maltese Falcon and The Third Man that inspired it, this offbeat gumshoe yarn comes from Mark Protosevich, writer of I Am Legend and Thor.

Meanwhile, Farrell’s co-stars/suspects include the A-list likes of Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Why Women Kill), Nate Corddry (For All Mankind) and the great James Cromwell, returning to noir decades after his iconic performance in L.A. Confidential.

9. Scoop – Friday, April 5, Netflix

Scoop on Netflix. Pictured: Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew.

Inspired by Prince Andrew’s disastrous interview with BBC’s Newsnight about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, this “fictional dramatization” offers an inside look at how the show’s female journalists (played by Gillian Anderson, Keeley Hawes and Billie Piper) landed the bombshell interview with Andrew (Rufus Sewell).

10. Mary & George – Friday, April 5, Starz1 | Series Premiere

Mary & George on Starz1. Pictured: Julianne Moore as the Countess of Buckingham, Nicholas Galitzine as her son, George.

Meet Mary Villiers, a.k.a. the Countess of Buckingham. Played by Julianne Moore, the countess is an avaricious social climber who has groomed and molded her son, George (Nicholas Galitzine), to focus on just one life goal: to seduce King James I (Tony Curran) and become his lover — all in order to bring herself unprecedented wealth, influence and power. That’s the crux of this audacious historical drama, set in Jacobean England, which boasts brutal betrayal, murders (both attempted and successful), a poisoning (by prune, no less) and the occasional orgy. 

“She seemed to be voracious for life and for her experiences and also, strangely, was never satisfied with anything, which is not necessarily a great quality but it’s an interesting quality,” Moore said of the real-life figure she’s portraying. “So there was something about her that was excruciating because she was so needy, so acquisitive and so ambitious in a way that feels harmful. But it was interesting for me and it was compelling.”

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