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What to Watch This Week: March 9 to 15

From Lindsay Lohan’s latest rom-com to the TV debut of Taylor Swift’s record-breaking concert film, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. Abbott Elementary – Sunday, March 10, Global & ABC | Season Premiere

Abbott Elementary on Global & ABC. Pictured: Jannelle James as Ava Coleman.

ABC uses Oscar night to promote its top sitcom, airing a new episode following the ceremony. Titled “Willard R. Abbott,” the ep will presumably delve into the history of the school’s namesake. Another new instalment airs this week in the show’s usual Wednesday timeslot.

2. Queens– Sunday, March 10, Nat Geo Wild | Series Premiere

Queens on Nat Geo Wild. Pictured: Fierce lioness roaring at lion.
National Geographic for Disney/Millie Marsden

Boasting an all-female team of producers, this six-episode National Geographic nature series follows various powerful sisterhoods within the animal kingdom (or, in this case, queendom) where females rule. Narrated by Angela Bassett, Queens reveals unique feminine behaviours in six distinct animal communities: hyenas, elephants, ring-tailed lemurs, insects, primates and orcas. Despite major differences within each society — bees, wasps and ants, for example, are slaves to a single dictatorial queen, while elephants choose the oldest and wisest matriarch — there’s at least one thing that each queen has in common: family comes first. 

Queens is a wild departure from anything you’ve ever experienced with natural history storytelling,” says the series’ executive producer, Vanessa Berlowitz, of the mammoth undertaking, in which camera crews spent in excess of 300 days filming each of the six episodes. “We’re accustomed to a narrative where the male animal voice often outshines that of the misperceived ‘gentler’ sex. In Queens, females drive the story: the most accomplished women in the industry get behind the camera to turn things on their heads, revealing surprising insights into how females rise to power, often relying on cooperation and wisdom over brute strength to get ahead.”

3. Lakefront Empire – Monday, March 11, HGTV | Series Premiere

Lakefront Empire on HGTV. Pictured: Realtors at the Lake of the Ozarks.
HGTV Canada

TV fans have become well-acquainted with the Lake of the Ozarks, thanks to a certain Netflix crime thriller that bears the Missouri reservoir’s name. The stars of this new HGTV real estate series presumably get up to less murder and money laundering than Marty Byrde — though one of them has, indeed, been to prison.

That would be Peggy Albers, a native of the Ozarks, who was convicted of drug trafficking in her 30s and served 15 years before getting out and finding her calling as a wheeler and dealer of million-dollar properties. Far from hiding her checkered past, Peggy uses it as a selling point, bonding with clients over her redemption story as she pitches them on luxury homes situated across more miles of shoreline than the California coast. What exactly does “luxury” entail? Per an HGTV release, these picturesque hideaways feature “mega-custom pools and hot tubs and decked-out docks complete with boat slips, wet bars and double-decker water slides.” As Peggy puts it: “I don’t think people realize we have a Midwest coast. In the Lake of the Ozarks, the market has exploded. There was over a billion dollars in sales last year.” But beyond just wealthy out-of-towners, Peggy and her rival agents cater to locals who are working with a more modest budget, offering them an affordable slice of the good life.

The eclectic cast also includes, among others, siblings Jonas and Justin Farrell, who are carrying on the family realty business their parents started decades ago, and Gerardo Cornejo, who emigrated from El Salvador at the age of seven and landed in Southern California before finding his true home in the Ozarks. “I grew up on the Pacific Ocean, but I love the Lake,” Cornejo said in a promo for “This Midwest body of water is amazing. The views, the sunsets, the history behind the Lake. There really is no place like it.”

4. Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War – Tuesday, March 12, Netflix | Series Premiere

Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War on Netflix. Pictured: Tank, smoke, protesters

Described as “the definitive documentary series on the Cold War,” this nine-part program traces the Cold War’s long, fraught history — starting with the development of the atomic bomb and the dramatic proliferation of nuclear weapons that took place during the decades that followed, then moving past the collapse of the Soviet Union to the rise of Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. With more than 100 interviews conducted in seven countries throughout the world, Turning Point reveals deeply personal stories that show how much the Cold War transformed lives and drove world history.

5. Fixer to Fabulous: Italiano  – Wednesday, March 13, HGTV | Season Premiere

Fixter to Fabulous: Italiano. Pictured: Jenny and Dave Marrs in window of Tuscan home.
 HGTV Canada

Jenny and Dave Marrs take a break from sprucing up properties in small-town Arkansas, travelling to Italy’s Tuscan countryside for this six-part spinoff, in which the couple will help their friends revitalize a 200-year-old villa.

6. Grey’s Anatomy – Thursday, March 14, CTV & ABC | Series Premiere

Grey's Anatomy on CTV & ABC. Pictured: Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey.

The immortal medical drama returns for an abbreviated 20th season. It’ll be the first without series lead Ellen Pompeo, who took a bow last year — but per reports, Dr. Grey will still appear in two of the season’s 10 episodes.  

7. The Girls on the Bus – Thursday, March 14, Crave1 | Series Premiere

The Girls on the Bus on Crave1. Pictured: Christina Elmore and Melissa Benoist.

Inspired by the real-life experiences of journalist Amy Chozick, Supergirl’s Melissa Benoist plays a wide-eyed young writer who bonds with three fellow journalists (Carla Gugino, Christina Elmore and Natasha Behnam) while on the campaign trail of one wild presidential election.

8. Manhunt – Friday, March 15, Apple TV+ | Series Premiere

Manhunt on Apple TV+. Pictured: Hamish Linklater as Abraham Lincoln.
Apple TV+

In what is likely not a coincidence, the same day one high-profile historical miniseries drops its series finale on Apple TV+, another debuts its series premiere. Moreover, Anthony Boyle, who stars as U.S. navigator Harry Crosby on Masters of the Air, also plays a key role in Manhunt — specifically, that of John Wilkes Booth, the man who gunned down President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in April 1865.

Adapting James L. Swanson’s award-winning book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, creator Monica Beletsky (previously a writer on Friday Night Lights and Parenthood) weaves the dual tales of Booth and the man leading the hunt: Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton (The Crown’s Tobias Menzies). 

Fleeing the nation’s capital on horseback with a badly broken leg, Booth initially takes shelter with those who share his white supremacist agenda, before making his way from Washington, D.C., towards the Deep South, where he expects to be welcomed as a hero. But as the days pass and the U.S. Cavalry closes in, the assassin comes to realize he hasn’t struck a blow that will reignite the Confederacy — he’s turned Lincoln into an unimpeachable martyr, and doomed himself to death and infamy. 

Meanwhile, Stanton and his colleagues resolve to bring the killer to justice, while also struggling to hold together a fragile nation that was just days removed from surviving the crucible of the Civil War when the most famous actor in America decided to murder the president.

On a more personal level, Stanton wrestles with his own grief at the loss of a man who was not just his commander-in-chief, but his close friend — a dynamic that’s explored via flashbacks to his intimate conversations with Lincoln, as played by Midnight Mass’s Hamish Linklater.

9. Irish Wish – Friday, March 15, Netflix

Irish Wish on Netflix. Pictured: Lindsay Lohan as Maddie Kelly.

After establishing herself as a child superstar in the late ’90s and early 2000s with such hits as The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan fell into a tailspin of questionable career choices and substance abuse that took the New York-born wunderkind from box-office queen to tabloid cover girl.

Thankfully, the now-37-year-old has rebounded (or, at least, stabilized) both personally and professionally. The past decade has seen Lohan make her West End debut in a revival of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, while dabbling in entrepreneurship, launching various fashion lines and resorts. Recently, she’s also gotten back into screen work, partnering with Netflix to star in and produce a series of romantic comedies. It began in 2022 with Falling for Christmas, and continues this Friday with Irish Wish. Directed by Falling for Christmas’s Janeen Damian and penned by Langley’s own Kirsten Hansen (Chesapeake Shores), the film casts Lohan as Maddie, a shy book editor who carries a torch for the author she’s been ghost-writing. But when the guy gets engaged to her best friend, Maddie must swallow her heartache and travel to Ireland to serve as maid of honour. Just before the nuptials, our hero makes a wish for true love and wakes up in an alt reality where she’s the one about to marry her dreamboat. Yet soon, it becomes clear that her happy ending lies with another suitor.

As Lohan told Netflix’s Tudum: “Maddie’s [one of the only] characters that I’ve played [who’s] a woman on her own making her way in the world. We shaped her in a way that she was a bit more insecure in the beginning, and then she grows throughout the movie, and by the end, she really comes into her own.” 

“It’s important to put yourself first and know your worth,” the actress continued. “If you know you deserve better, go for it and get it.”

10. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version) – Friday, March 15, Disney+

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor's Version) on Disney+. Pictured: Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has been the highest-grossing concert tour ever, the first in history to surpass US$1 billion — and counting, considering Swift will still be on the road throughout 2024.

Last year, Swift enlisted director Sam Wrench to film three L.A. shows for a concert film, with a budget of under $25 million. When she met with Hollywood studios about distributing the movie, she was told that the earliest they could get it into theatres would be 2024. Swift, however, wanted to move far faster; instead, she partnered with AMC Theatres (the world’s largest cinema chain) to show the film exclusively in its multiplexes. Not only did that allow Swift to release the movie when she wanted, cutting the studios out of the equation also meant she personally raked in an unprecedented 57 per cent of ticket sales right off the top. The studios that turned her down surely regretted it when The Eras Tour became the most successful concert film of all time, earning more than US$260 million at the box office.

Having beaten Hollywood at its own game, that film is now available for Swifties to stream on Disney+, which shelled out a staggering US$75 million for the worldwide streaming rights to Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version). Much like her rerecorded “Taylor’s Version” albums, Swift is adding some bonus performances in the streaming flick that didn’t appear in the theatrical release. These include the song “Cardigan,” as well as four acoustic numbers.

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