Entertainment

Stay Tuned: Netflix scores with ‘Russian Doll’

Melissa Crawley More Content Now
Posted: Jan. 29, 2019 8:11 am Updated: Jan. 31, 2019 1:48 pm

Netflix drops a solid new dramedy, Super Bowl Sunday gives the New England Patriots another shot at the title, and CBS hopes you’ll stick around after the big game for a global talent competition.

Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Streaming video platform company Roku is launching premium subscriptions on the Roku Channel. Roku users will be able to sign up for Showtime, Starz or Epix.

The family of the late Michael Jackson released a statement condemning the two-part HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland.” The film alleges that the singer molested young boys. A statement from Jackson’s estate called the documentary a “tabloid character assassination.”

“GMA Day,” ABC’s afternoon version of its popular “Good Morning America” show is being renamed “Strahan and Sara” in a rebranding effort that highlights its hosts Michael Strahan and Sara Haines.

Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
“Russian Doll,” which hits Netflix on Feb. 1, is an eight-episode dramedy about a woman named Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) who keeps dying and repeating the night of her 36th birthday. The “Groundhog Day” reliving-the-same-timeline plot device may be familiar but the show’s mystery - Did Nadia die? Is she crazy? - is made all the more intriguing by Lyonne’s solid performance, the show’s authentic humor and its interest in what Nadia learns about herself.

It’s “Super Bowl LIII” this weekend (CBS, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. PT) so get ready to cheer on the Los Angeles Rams or the New England Patriots. Or just settle in, break out some snacks and enjoy the commercials. Alternatively, you can check out felines playing football on Hallmark Channel’s rescue pet adoption event. The first ever “Cat Bowl” is Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and “Kitten Bowl VI” is Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. ET/PT.

After the big game, CBS is premiering a new global talent competition called “The World’s Best.” Hosted by James Corden, the show features acts from across the world. Judges Drew Barrymore, RuPaul Charles and Faith Hill render their verdicts, but acts will also have to break through “the wall of the world,” which features fifty global experts from every field of entertainment.

Set in the early 1970s, “American Soul” (BET, Feb. 5, 9 p.m. ET/PT) follows a young Don Cornelius as he struggles to realize his dream of launching the first nationally syndicated music show with an African American focus. Battles with record labels to book top talent and infighting among dancers for the spotlight are set against the backdrop of a racially charged Los Angeles. Kelly Rowland guest stars as Gladys Knight along with singer and actress Michelle Williams as Diana Ross and Bobby Brown as Rufus Thomas.

Report Card: A look at ratings winners and losers
Winners: NBC’s decision to save “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” looks to be a good one. The premiere of the Andy Samberg-led comedy delivered the highest rating of any of the network’s Thursday night comedies this season.

Losers: Fox’s live production of “Rent” delivered the lowest ratings so far for a live broadcast musical but it’s not all bad news. It was also one of the highest-rated programs of the night in the key adults 18-49 demo.

Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at staytuned@outlook.com.

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