Traditional TV releases might be a bit sparser as the production shutdown caused by the coronavirus drags on, but there is still plenty to watch to keep your mind off the anxiety-inducing events of the real world. The best shows and movies on TV this week feature a little something for everybody, whether you're a fan of supernatural dramas, sports documentaries, or hard-to-define imports.
This week, we're recommending the return of cult favorite Wynonna Earp after two years off the air, a new HBO Sports documentary about the mental health challenges faced by Olympic athletes, and an Australian/British dramedy about starting over.
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Season 4 premiere Sunday at 10/9c on Syfy
After an unplanned, extended hiatus due to insufficient funding, Syfy's Wynonna Earp is back for Season 4 two years after we last saw our favorite hard-drinking heroine. The return of the fan-favorite series finds Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) teaming up with Nicole (Kat Barrell) to find a new way into the Garden of Eden to rescue Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), who is trapped there with Doc (Tim Rozon) after being dragged through the portal in the final moments of Season 3. A perfect blend of comedy, heart, and ridiculously goofy fun, the show is as entertaining as it's ever been as it begins a new chapter in the narrative now that the Earp curse has been broken and Bulshar has been defeated.
Last Chance U: Laney
Tuesday on Netflix
Arguably TV's best ongoing sports docuseries, Last Chance U returns for its fifth and final* season this week and follows a new junior college football team, the Eagles of Laney College in Oakland, California. They're coming off a national championship win in 2018, and they have a hard road ahead of them to defend their title. Coach John Beam must fight to rally the team amidst countless setbacks, including injuries, stress, and personal demons. It's an immersive, powerful, and well-made docuseries. (*The series will shift to junior college basketball when it returns in 2021.) –Liam Mathews
The Weight of Gold
Wednesday at 9/8c on HBO
Anyone who's ever lost themselves in the excitement and fervor of the Olympics should be sure to tune in for The Weight of Gold, a powerful new HBO Sports documentary about the mental health challenges athletes face on the road to, and then after, the Olympic Games. The film is narrated by five-time Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who has been open in the past about his own mental health struggles on the path to becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time. But in addition to Phelps, the film also features eye-opening interviews with Apolo Anton Ohno, Sasha Cohen, Bode Miller, Shaun White, Jeremy Bloom, and Lolo Jones, among others, and reveals the sacrifices one makes while chasing gold and the struggles that can occur in the aftermath of competing on the biggest stage in the world, whether they walk away a winner or go home empty-handed.
Thursday on HBO Max
Sarah Kendall created, wrote, produced, and starred in Frayed, an 80's-set dramedy about Simone (Kendall), a wealthy housewife in London who is forced to return to her plain, suburban hometown in Australia after the sudden death of her husband in a sexually compromising situation leaves her with no money and nowhere else to go. And just when it seems things can't get any worse, the lies spun by Simone, whose real name is revealed to be Samantha, for the last 20 years all begin to quickly unravel, much to the surprise of her two children, who realize they have no idea who their mother is. After a series premiere that relies heavily on jokes to set up its premise, the show tones things down a bit and becomes more of a drama with some black comedy thrown in.
The Umbrella Academy
Season 2 available Friday on Netflix
The second season of Netflix's adaptation of the Umbrella Academy comics picks up in the aftermath of Season 1's massive cliffhanger, in which the Hargreeves siblings accidentally caused the very apocalypse they had wanted to prevent when they shattered the moon, raining asteroids down on Earth. They escaped to the past in order to rewrite history, and that is where the new season finds them. Specifically, they've traveled to 1960s Dallas, Texas, and you know what happened there. However, various members of the family arrived at different points in the past, which should make for an interesting new story. Although the setting may be different, the dysfunctional family dynamics and killer soundtrack remain as entertaining as ever.
Season 1 available Friday on Hulu
Created by Joe Gilgun, who also stars in the series as Vinnie, and Danny Brocklehurst, Brassic is one of a handful of British series Hulu recently secured the streaming rights to and are debuting this week. The show, which has already aired a second season across the pond and been renewed for Season 3, follows Vinnie, who is bi-polar, and his working class friends as they get into all sorts of scrapes while committing minor crimes to line their pockets. Gilgun is the clear standout, which shouldn't surprise anyone who's seen his work on shows like AMC's Preacher or the British sci-fi show Misfits. But for as funny as he and the show can be — and it can be a riot at times — the series also skillfully balances that humor with a well-placed bit of heart, and it does so without ever losing sight of itself.
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