SMALL SCREEN – Kyle Wells

The talk show shuffle

This month I want to talk about a few new shows coming up, and it’s admittedly going to be a bit of a potpourri. Hopefully there will be something for everyone.

First off, for those of you still lamenting the loss of your beloved Breaking Bad, the premiere of Better Call Saul on Feb. 8 on AMC may provide some solace. Even though it’s being touted as a drama, this spinoff, focusing on lawyer Saul played by Bob Odenkirk, will no doubt lean towards humour a little more than its parent show did, but maybe that’s just what the doctor ordered to get you out of your meth-cooking funk.

Those as sad as I was to see The Colbert Report go will rejoice in the fact that Last Week Tonight with John Oliver returns to HBO on Feb. 5. Oliver, another The Daily Show alum, is quite a different creature from Colbert, but, like many it seems, I enjoy his dry English humour and his commitment to longer pieces with some genuinely impressive investigative journalism.

Also literally filling the Colbert gap will be The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, another comedy news program from a Daily Show correspondent. Honestly, I’ve been watching more Colbert than Jon Stewart these last few years, but Wilmore has been a standout on the program and here’s hoping he follows in the footsteps of Colbert and Oliver by producing another outstanding show.

There’s a couple of reasons The Slap, an NBC miniseries premiering Feb. 12, intrigues me, but the main one is the people involved in it. On the acting side we have Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman, Brian Cox and Thandie Newton, all impressive actors, and behind the camera we find Lisa Cholodenko, no slouch herself as the director of movies Laurel Canyon and The Kids Are All Right.

A remake of an Australian program, The Slap is about, well, a slap, inappropriately given at a birthday party that sets off a “chain of events that will uncover long buried secrets.” It sounds a little strange, so I’m sold.

I’m also sold on Night Will Fall, a Holocaust documentary airing on HBO Jan. 26. This sounds as though it’s going to be a tough watch, but perhaps an important one, with this premiere of a new documentary about the making of a British documentary about the liberation of the concentration camps at the end of the Second World War.

So there you go; an hour-long drama, a couple of comedies, one miniseries and a documentary. Take your pick.

 

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