Winter TV 2021: What to watch, try and avoid
New York Daily News (TNS)
TV production may have been wrecked in 2020, but 2021 promises a new vaccine, a new presidency and even some new shows.
Here’s a look at what new shows to watch, try and avoid as life rebuilds.
- “Mr. Mayor,” Thursday, 8 p.m., NBC: Coming off the wild success of “The Good Place,” Ted Danson will top the NBC sitcom as Neil Bremer, the newly elected mayor of Los Angeles who ran for “all the wrong reasons.” Originally supposed to be a “30 Rock” spinoff about Jack Donaghy’s political ambitions, “Mr. Mayor” will likely hinge on the chemistry of the cast, including Holly Hunter, Bobby Moynihan, Vella Lovell and Kyla Kennedy.
- “The Chase,” Friday, 9 p.m., ABC: This sales pitch is easier than a $200 square: “Jeopardy!” GOATs James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter are giving answers instead of questions this time in an American export of a British trivia show. Nothing will ever replace “Jeopardy!” — or iconic host Alex Trebek — but a timed quiz against three of the best and the brightest is a game worth chasing.
- “WandaVision,” Jan. 15, Disney+; “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” March 19, Disney+; “Loki,” May, Disney+; “What If…?” summer, Disney+: Marvel, as it is wont to do, is keeping most of its new reveals close to the vest, but the offerings really do appear to offer something for everyone, or at least every fan. “WandaVision,” starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, seems perfectly weird. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki” are your by-the-book Marvel product. No one really seems to know what “What If…?” is. The Hulk himself couldn’t stop Marvel from pumping out as many shows and movies as possible.
- “Bridge and Tunnel,” Jan. 24, 9 p.m., EPIX: Remember hope? Ed Helms is banking on it with his new show, “Bridge and Tunnel,” which he stars in, directs and produces, about a group of recent college grads who set out from Long Island to 1980 Manhattan. It promises bell-bottoms and sepia-toned fights between couples and the dreams for something more, better, bigger.
- “The Snoopy Show,” Feb. 5, Apple TV+: The Peanuts characters won’t be relegated to just Thanksgiving and Christmas anymore. For the 70th anniversary of the iconic comic strip, Apple TV+ is launching “The Snoopy Show” with Woodstock, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Franklin, Schroeder and Peppermint Patty. The episodes, each made up of three seven-minute cartoons, are intended for kids 4-11, but no one will tell if you want to embrace your childhood.
- “The Equalizer,” Feb. 7, post-Super Bowl, CBS: CBS has already put most of its winter trust in “The Equalizer,” giving it the honored post-Super Bowl time slot that practically guarantees a good audience. More importantly, though, there’s something just so delightfully exciting about Queen Latifah as a vigilante, even if it’s just a gender-swapped version of a project viewers have seen three times already.
- “Clarice,” Feb. 11, 10 p.m., CBS: Set a year after “Silence of the Lambs,” “Clarice” will pick up with the infamous FBI agent (Rebecca Breeds) back in the field hunting serial killers. Bryan Fuller’s haunting, short-lived “Hannibal” became one of quarantine’s most popular shows when it landed on Netflix this summer, and CBS may benefit from that.
- “Call Me Kat,” debuted Sunday; next episode 9 p.m. Friday: “Call Me Kat” comes complete with the cliché “39-year-old woman can’t please her mother,” but this time with a rebellious streak that sees her blow through her wedding fund to open a cat cafe. The remake of a British TV show promises a frequent direct-to-camera commentary, a trick that worked much better in “Fleabag” than in “House of Cards,” but Mayim Bialik may be the only actress who could pull this all off.
- “Call Your Mother,” Jan. 13, 9:30 p.m., ABC: Like so many shows in this category, this sitcom about an empty-nested woman who shoves her way back into her adult kids’ lives will depend on its star, in this case Kyra Sedgwick. Helicopter moms can be fun to watch, but there’s a line.
- “Resident Alien,” Jan. 27, 10 p.m., SYFY: Alan Tudyk is extremely good at playing weird characters, so an alien posing as a small town doctor while on a mission to destroy the human race seems right up his alley. If weird successfully converts into funny, SYFY could have found a hit.
- “Firefly Lane,” Feb. 3, Netflix: “Firefly Lane” features an inciting incident (a “tragedy,” per Netflix) and a premise (two childhood best friends, played by Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke, one of whom goes on to wealth and fame, the other to marriage and motherhood), but there’s no hint of a plot. Shows about nothing can be great, of course, and “Firefly Lane” may be just that: the story of two women tasked with the simple struggle of existing. It could also get boring quickly.
- “Name That Tune,” Wednesday, 9 p.m., Fox: The COVID-19 shutdown, which has made TV production either wildly expensive or virtually impossible, is likely to spur an influx of both animated and game shows. Everyone is adapting to the new reality, but Jane Krakowski yelling at you to guess a song based on one note after an entire year of your brain melting into mush on the couch you lived on just feels more depressing than anything.
- “Superman & Lois,” Feb. 23, 9 p.m., The CW: This isn’t necessarily the fault of The CW, but it’s hard to get excited about any non-Marvel superhero show this year. The latest version of DC Comics’ most famous entity joins the sprawling Arrowverse, which already includes “Arrow,” “Black Lightning,” “The Flash” and “Supergirl,” and finds its muscled man and favorite journalist relegated to mom and dad. “Sky High” and “The Incredibles” already perfected that plot twist.