Saturday, January 1, 2022

Mid-season Premiere Schedule 2022


Want to know when your favorite shows are returning in 2022? Looking for the premiere date for a new show? Check out this list of premiere dates! For daily times and reminders, be sure to check out Hotchka's What To Watch feature, updated daily!

January 1:

  • Ghost Hunters (Discovery+, new docuseries revival)
  • 2022 NHL Winter Classic (TNT, live sports special)
  • Crikey! It’s the Irwins (Animal Planet/Discovery+, Season 4)
  • New York Homicide (Oxygen, new docuseries)
  • The ’80s: Top; Ten (National Geographic Channel, new docuseries)
  • The Uncommon History of Very Common Things (Crackle, Season 1B)


January 2:

  • The Equalizer (CBS, Season 2B)
  • NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, Season 13B)
  • SEAL Team (Paramount+, Season 5B)
  • Next Level Chef (Fox, new competition series)
  • The Simpsons (Fox, Season 32B)
  • The Great North (Fox, Season 2B)
  • Mountain Monsters (Discovery+, Season 6)
  • Dirty Jobs (Discovery, Season 10)
  • This Came Out of Me (Discovery, new docuseries)
  • Masterpiece: Around the World in 80 Days (PBS, new drama series)
  • Home Town (HGTV, Season 6)
  • Ugliest House in America (HGTV, new limited docuseries)
  • Guy’s Chance of a Lifetime (Food Network, new competition miniseries)
  • Alex vs. America (Food Network, new competition series)
  • Come Follow Up (BYU tv, Season 2)


January 3:

  • The Bachelor (ABC, Season 26)
  • The Neighborhood (CBS, Season 4B)
  • Bob ♥ Abishola (CBS, Season 3B)
  • NCIS (CBS, Season 19B)
  • NCIS: Hawai’i (CBS, Season 1B)
  • Kenan (NBC, Season 2)
  • Ordinary Joe (Season 1B)
  • 9-1-1 Lone Star (Fox, Season 3)
  • The Cleaning Lady (Fox, new drama series)
  • Antiques Roadshow (PBS, Season 26)
  • Doctors (BritBox, Season 23 of UK series; U.S. premiere)


January 4:

  • Abbott Elementary (ABC, new comedy series; time slot premiere)
  • Black-ish (ABC, Season 8; final season)
  • Queens (ABC, Season 1B)
  • Judge Steve Harvey (ABC, new courtroom series)
  • FBI (CBS, Season 4B)
  • FBI: International (CBS, Season1B)
  • FBI: Most Wanted (CBS, Season 3B)
  • This Is Us (NBC, Season 6; final season)
  • New Amsterdam (NBC, Season 4B)
  • Action Pack (Netflix, new children’s animated series)
  • Family Dinner (Magnolia Network/Discovery+, Season 2)
  • Murder Under the Friday Night Lights (Investigation Discovery, new docuseries),
  • Finding Your Roots (PBS, Season 8)
  • Tyler Perry’s Sistas (OWN, Season 4)
  • Speak Sis (OWN, Season 1B)
  • Chopped: Casino Royale (Food Network, new competition miniseries)
  • Itch (BYU tv, Season 2)


January 5:

  • The Goldbergs (ABC, Season 9B)
  • The Wonder Years (ABC, Season 1B)
  • The Conners (ABC, Season 4B)
  • Home Economics (ABC, Season 2B)
  • The Chase (ABC, Season 2)
  • The Amazing Race (CBS, Season 33)
  • Good Sam (CBS, new drama series)
  • Chicago Med (NBC, Season 7B)
  • Chicago Fire (NBC, Season 10B)
  • Chicago P.D. (NBC, Season 9B)
  • I Can See Your Voice (Fox, Season 2)
  • Next Level Chef (Fox, new competition series; time slot premiere)
  • Worst Cooks in America (Food Network, Season 21)
  • AEW: Dynamite (TBS, new network)
  • Married at First Sight (Lifetime, Season 14)
  • Married at First Sight: The Afterparty (Lifetime, new aftershow series)
  • Beyond Oak Island (History, Season 2)
  • American Greed (CNBC, Season 15)
  • Catfish: The TV Show (MTV, Season 8B)
  • The Wizard of Paws (BYU tv, Season 3)


January 6:

  • Women of the Movement (ABC, new drama limited series)
  • Let the World See (ABC, new limited docuseries)
  • Young Sheldon (CBS, Season 5B)
  • United States of Al (CBS, Season 2B)
  • Ghosts (CBS, Season 1B)
  • B Positive (CBS, Season 2B)
  • Bull (CBS, Season 6B)
  • The Blacklist (NBC, Season 9B)
  • Law & Order: SVU (NBC, Season 23B)
  • Law & Order: Organized Crime (NBC, Season 2B)
  • Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer (Fox, new competition series revival)
  • Jersey Shore: Family Vacation (MTV, Season 5)
  • Go-Big Show (TBS, Season 2)
  • Growing Up Hip Hop (WE tv, Season 6B)
  • BattleBots (Discovery, Season 10)
  • Elite Youth (FS1, Season 3)


January 7:

  • Undercover Boss (CBS, Season 11)
  • Magnum P.I. (CBS, Season 4B)
  • Blue Bloods (CBS, Season 12B)
  • Dateline NBC (NBC, Season 30B)
  • Penn & Teller: Fool Us (The CW, Season 8B)
  • Nancy Drew (The CW, Season 3B)
  • Search Party (HBO Max, Season 5; final season)
  • El Deafo (Apple TV+, new children’s animated series)
  • Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch (Discovery, Season 2)
  • A Discovery of Witches (Sundance Now, Season 3)
  • BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer (A&E, new documentary miniseries)
  • Love During Lockup (WE tv, new docuseries)
  • Ladies Who List: Atlanta (OWN, new unscripted series)


January 8:

  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW, Season 18B)
  • World’s Funniest Animals (The CW, Season 2B)


January 9:

  • Call Me Kat (Fox, Season 2)
  • Pivoting (Fox, Season 2)
  • Bob’s Burgers (Fox, Season 12B)
  • Family Guy (Fox, Season 19B)
  • Critics Choice Awards (The CW/TBS, live awards special)
  • Euphoria (HBO, Season 2)
  • The Righteous Gemstones (HBO, Season 2)
  • All Creatures Great and Small (PBS, Season 2)
  • Darcey & Stacey (TLC, Season 3)
  • Vienna Blood (PBS, Season 2)
  • Simply Giada (Food Network, new docuseries)
  • Vera (BritBox, Season 11 of UK series; U.S. premiere)
  • Attack on Titan (Funimation/Crunchyroll/Hulu, Season 5B; final season)
  • Family Rules (BYU tv, Season 3)


January 10:

  • Street Outlaws: Farmtruck and AZN (Discovery/Discovery+, new docuseries)
  • Street Outlaws: OKC (Discovery/Discovery+, new season)
  • Black Market with Michael K. Williams (Vice TV, Season 2)
  • Queens of Mystery (Acorn TV, Season 2)


January 11:

  • Superman & Lois (The CW, Season 2)
  • Naomi (The CW, new drama series)
  • Wipeout (TBS, Season 2)
  • The Kings of Napa (OWN, new drama series)
  • Street Outlaws: Fastest in America (Discovery/Discovery+, Season 3)


January 12:

  • The Amazing Race (CBS, Season 33; time slot premiere)
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (The CW, Season 7B)
  • Batwoman (The CW, Season 3B)
  • Leave It to Geege (Lifetime, new unscripted series)


January 13:

  • Peacemaker (HBO Max, new drama series)
  • Next Influencer (Paramount+, Season 3; new network)
  • Married to Real Estate (HGTV, new docuseries)
  • A House Divided (AllBlk, Season 4)


January 14:

  • Archive 81 (Netflix, new drama series)
  • Secrets of Sulphur Springs (Disney Channel/Disney+, Season 2)
  • 24 Hours in Police Custody (BritBox, Season 9 of UK series; U.S. premiere)


January 16:

  • Two Sentence Horror Stories (The CW, Season 3)
  • Legends of the Hidden Temple (The CW, Season 2B)


January 17:

  • 4400 (The CW, Season 1B)


January 18:

  • How I Met You Father (Hulu, new comedy series)
  • Married to Real Estate (HGTV, new docuseries; working title)
  • Father Brown (BritBox, Season 9 of UK series; U.S. premiere)


January 20:

  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS, Season 7)
  • Supernatural Academy (Peacock, new animated series)
  • La Fortuna (AMC+, new drama series)
  • Single Drunk Female (Freeform, new comedy series)
  • Total Control (Sundance Now, Season 2)
  • Men of West Hollywood (Crackle, new unscripted series)


January 21:

  • Servant (Apple TV+, Season 3)
  • Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock (Apple TV+, new children series revival)
  • As We See It (Prime Video, new drama series)
  • 8 Out of 10 (BritBox, Season 9 of UK series; U.S. premiere)


January 22:

  • The Good Dish (syndication, new daytime talk series)


January 23:

  • Billions (Showtime, Season 6)


January 24:

  • Promised Land (ABC, new drama series)
  • The Gilded Age (HBO, new drama series)
  • Snowpiercer (TNT, Season 3)
  • American Dad! (TBS, Season 17)
  • Secrets of Playboy (A&E, new docuseries)
  • Social Society (AllBlk, Season 2)


January 26:

  • Resident Alien (Syfy, Season 2)


January 27:

  • Walker (The CW, Season 2B)
  • Legacies (The CW, Season 4B)
  • Swamp People (History, Season 13)
  • Grown-ish (Freeform, Season 4B)
  • Fast Foodies (TruTV, Season 2)


January 28:

  • The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window (Netflix, new comedy limited series)
  • In from the Cold (Netflix, new drama series)
  • The Afterparty (Apple TV+, new comedy series)
  • The Legend of Vox Machina (Prime Video, new adult animated series)
  • My Killer Body with K. Michelle (Lifetime, new docuseries)


January 29:

  • Million Dollar Hustle (Lifetime, new docuseries)


January 30:

  • Monarch (Fox, new drama series)
  • We Need To Talk About Cosby (Showtime, new docuseries)


January 31:

  • 64th Grammy Awards (CBS, live awards special)
  • Hope Street (BritBox, Season 9 of UK series; U.S. premiere)


February 1:

  • The Resident (Fox, Season 5B)
  • Monarch (Fox, new drama series; time slot premiere)
  • Raising Dion (Netflix, Season 2)
  • The Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo, Season 12)


February 2:

  • Celebrity Big Brother (CBS, Season 3)
  • Pam & Tommy (Hulu, new drama limited series)


February 3:

  • My Killer Body with K. Michelle (Lifetime, time slot premiere)
  • Million Dollar Hustle (Lifetime, time slot premiere)


February 4:

  • 2022 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony (NBC, live sports special)
  • Reacher (Prime Video, new drama series)


February 5:

  • Mary Makes It Easy (Food Network, new cooking series)


February 6:

  • Power Book IV: Force (Starz, new drama series)


February 7:

  • American Experience (PBS, Season 34)


February 8:

  • Holly Hobbie (BYU tv, Season 3)


February 10:

  • Star Trek: Discovery (Paramount+, Season 4B)

February 11:

  • Inventing Anna (Netflix, new drama series)
  • Dollface (Hulu, new comedy series)


February 13:

  • Super Bowl LVI (NBC, live sports special)
  • Bel-Air (Peacock, new drama series reboot)


February 16:

  • Dr. Pimple Popper (TLC, Season 6)


February 18:

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video, Season 4)


February 20:

  • 2022 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony (NBC, live sports special)
  • The Walking Dead (AMC, Season 11B; final season)
  • Talking Dead (AMC, Season 10B; final season)
  • From (Epix, new drama series)


February 21:

  • American Song Contest (NBC, new competition series)
  • The Endgame (NBC, new drama series)
  • All American (The CW, Season 4B)


February 22:

  • Doubling Down with the Derricos (TLC, Season 3)


February 23:

  • Snowfall (FX, Season 5)


February 24:

  • Law & Order (NBC, new drama series revival)
  • America ReFramed (World Channel/PBS, Season 10)


February 25:

  • The Blacklist (NBC, Season 9B; time slot premiere)
  • Vikings: Valhalla (Netflix, new drama series)


February 27:

  • 28th SAG Awards (TBS/TNT, live awards special)
  • Super Pumped: The Battle for Ube (Showtime, new anthology series)


February 28:

  • Killing Eve (BBC America, Season 4; final season)
  • Better Things (FX, Season 5; final season)


March 3:

  • The Dropout (Hulu, new drama limited series)


March 6:

  • Riverdale (The CW, Season 6B)
  • Outlander (Starz, Season 6)
  • Shining Vale (Starz, new comedy series)
  • Unexpected (TLC, Season 5)


March 8:

  • The Thing About Pam (NBC, new drama limited series)


March 9:

  • The Flash (The CW, Season 8B)
  • Kung Fu (The CW, Season 2)


March 10:

  • The Orville: New Horizons (Hulu, Season 3; new network)


March 11:

  • Charmed (The CW, Season 4)
  • Dynasty (The CW, Season 5B)


March 15:

  • Young Rock (NBC, Season 2)
  • Mr. Mayor (NBC, Season 2)


March 16:

  • Expedition with Steve Backshall: Unpacked (PBS, Season 1 of British docuseries; U.S. premiere)


March 20:

  • Masterpiece: Sanditon (PBS, Season 2)
  • Call the Midwife (PBS, Season 11)
  • Before We Die (PBS, Season 1 of British docuseries; U.S. premiere)


March 22:

  • Bridgerton (Netflix, Season 2)


March 24:

  • Atlanta (FX, Season 3)


March 27:

  • 94th Academy Awards (ABC, live awards special)


March 31:

  • How We Roll (CBS, new comedy series)



Friday, December 31, 2021

Catch up on Cobra Kai Season 3 before diving into Season 4

© Netflix

Johnny Lawrence Is a Badass with a Heart of Gold on Cobra Kai
by Kim Krober

"Watch Cobra Kai," they said. "You'll love it!"

I've been hearing those words for the past three years, but I didn't want to pay to watch it on YouTube. I was excited when Cobra Kai moved to Netflix last year because I already use that streaming service, but I was too busy binging other shows during the pandemic to give it much thought. Besides, I was never a huge fan of The Karate Kid in my youth.

I remember catching glimpses of the franchise here and there when flipping through cable TV, but it seemed a bit boring and hokey to me. I had very little interest in sports, let alone martial arts. It felt like a guy's movie to me. Ralph Macchio's character Daniel LaRusso looked like a scrawny wimp and not even an interesting wimp like the comic book nerds I still love to this day. Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) bothered me due to his stereotypical Japanese portrayal and because he was practically a slave driver, exploiting free child labor during the "wax on, wax off" scene that everybody loves.

The bullies were very two-dimensional and almost too over-the-top in their desire to "strike first, strike hard, and show no mercy." Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) was a rich, arrogant jock who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, although he did look fierce in a skeleton suit. Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) was way out of Daniel's league, which always sorta irritated me because it felt so unrealistic for her to choose Daniel over Johnny. Mature love life decisions like these aren't usually made until college or long after, and many women never stop chasing the bad boys.
Although Ralph Macchio was always cute, I much preferred him in his role in The Outsiders, in which he and the other Greasers played badasses with hearts of gold.

I didn't have high hopes for Cobra Kai, but I thought I'd finally give it a shot last month. To my amazement, I loved the series so much that I binged the entire three seasons in a single weekend, and I can't wait for the fourth installment later this year. What they've managed to do is nothing short of genius. They've weaved heartfelt nostalgia for the original movies by reuniting fan-favorite characters in new scenarios, while also creating new characters to breathe fresh life into the franchise for younger generations. They've brought a rich backstory to the previously two-dimensional bullies, flipping everything you thought you knew about them and making you eager to learn more.

© Netflix

In the '80s, we didn't need to know what motivated cinematic bullies. Johnny Lawrence was a jerk who broke Ali's boombox and beat up Daniel with his cronies for fun and sport. John Kreese (Martin Kove) was a military veteran turned evil sensei with a seemingly personal vendetta against Mr. Miyagi. Biff Tannen threatened to beat up George McFly in Back to the Future if he didn't do his homework assignments. It seems like the Russians were always nefarious as a result of the Cold War tensions. I could go on and on. But now thanks to Cobra Kai, we have more insight into at least why Johnny and Kreese acted the way they did. Kreese's past was darker than night and Johnny didn't have a happy home life, nor was he the spoiled prick he seemed.

I loved seeing the reverse side of things from Johnny's perspective. Ironically, it turns out he is the badass character with the heart of gold that I always admired about Macchio in The Outsiders. Daniel really did come sweeping in on Johnny's home turf, disrupting his love life and practically making a mockery of his passion for karate by winning the All Valley Karate Tournament as a beginner with like a month of training. He also acted like an ass at the Halloween party, prompting the actions of the skeleton crew. In the present, Daniel continues to make a mockery of karate by using it as a cheap sales gimmick to sell used cars, while Johnny continues to hone his craft and has noble ambitions of being a sensei and passing on these defense skills to others.

Cobra Kai is the ultimate story of redemption. Out of all the series I've recently binged, Johnny has had the most satisfying character arc. At the series' start, he's a bit of a washed-up loser, drinking booze in the parking lot of a 7-11 and completely ignoring his responsibilities as a father. All Johnny cares about are fast cars, beer, heavy metal, and women. But by the end of the third season, he's tried to make up for his past mistakes by being a mentor to Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) and other kids who get bullied by teaching them how to fight back. He also spends time trying to patch things up with his son Robby (Tanner Buchanan). Inadvertently, he also tries to redeem himself with both Daniel and even Ali in a surprisingly touching mini-reunion at Christmas.

By now, Johnny realizes he was a pawn in Kreese's twisted mind games. When Kreese returns to town and inserts himself into the newly resurrected Cobra Kai dojo, he continues to mess with impressionable minds behind Johnny's back. Unfortunately, Johnny is too late on the uptake to prevent the drama and disruption this causes in the community. By the series' end, it becomes clear that Johnny and Daniel must join forces to fight the evil that is Kreese, as they all prepare their dojos for another All Valley Karate Tournament and the inevitable return of Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) from the franchise's third movie.

© Netflix

I'm excited to see how events will unfold in the next season of Cobra Kai. I love Johnny Lawrence and how much his character embodies what was so great about growing up in the '80s before the Internet, social media, cellphones, and other modern technology. It's been a welcomed blast from the past, but they also do a fantastic job with the new generation of kids and keeping my interest in their growth and obstacles. I especially like the character Hawk - Jacob Bertrand does such a brilliant job with him.

If the show's producers and writers can do this much with an unassuming movie villain like Johnny, perhaps they can do the same with other characters we love to loathe. Instead of doing all these reboots and reunions, I want to see more original backstories and creative reinterpretations that enhance these beloved legacies. In my opinion, Biff Tannen (Tom Wilson) was the king of '80s bullies. I would love to know more about what made him tick (besides living with his overbearing grandmother and perhaps a lack of a father figure) and see a character arc of his life after the BTTF trilogy. Maybe it would work, and maybe it wouldn't. Maybe you can only catch lightning in a bottle once, and they got extremely lucky that William Zabka makes Johnny such a lovable, well-rounded character. Let's face it, he's the best around and nothing's gonna ever keep him down - not even Daniel LaRusso. I hope to someday meet him at a con!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E13: One Thing Left to Do... Win

© CBS

‘Survivor’ caps off a difficult, twisty season with one of the more matched final three in years.

by Jeremy Fogelman

Previously on Survivor, the show was back and the shorter season got us here, with too many twists and a lot of stress and emotion along the way.

As the twists and turns settle and the mystical hourglass of time puts itself back together, we ponder the final question of the season: So why did Erika win? Coming into the finale it was clear that Ricard was by far the strongest threat to win, and everyone acknowledged it. After that, the only game that we knew could never win was Heather’s, despite all of the talk of Probst saying that she never gave up and her kids would be proud.

The most interesting things about Heather were in this episode, one was the reveal of her apparently long term alliance/friendship with Erika that drove so much to this point and the other was her extremely close final firemaking challenge with Deshawn, perhaps the closest one I can recall (other than the Becky/Sondra one which was the race to the bottom). Still, despite being the only person that couldn’t win, at least she went out on a high.

There were a few final twists in a season chock-full of them, starting with the advantage puzzle race, which had some fun misdirects until we saw Erika win -- and probably helped her win immunity. After that, there seemed to be no way that Ricard could stay in the game, and then Xander brought up his idea to maybe use his idol on Ricard... I was actually not sure if the dude would do it after all of his sometimes risky moves so far.

But no, Xander realized that he couldn’t beat Ricard either, so he took the path he thought was the best one -- even though he was ultimately entirely wrong. He mistakenly thought that he could easily beat Erika and misread how the jury saw Heather -- these were ultimately certainly game-ending mistakes. Could he have won against Heather and Deshawn if he had brought along either instead of Erika? Probably not, but perhaps he had a shot if he had done the classic “play fire for myself” instead.

As for Deshawn, he probably had a more competitive game until he threw that “truth bomb” which only served to make himself look worse and Erika look better. It also didn’t help that both Ricard and Heather, the last two sent to the jury, were clearly in the tank for Erika and that Ricard in particular was absolutely brutal in his attacks against Deshawn and Xander. I couldn’t suppress a laugh when he did the “oh, and that’s why it hurt when Deshawn betrayed everyone” line.

But I also had the same reaction when Erika, after hearing that Xander was taking her, wondered to us: “Wait, do I suck?” Clearly not, but Xander absolutely thought so -- and despite being such a fan of the game and pretty well spoken for his age, he clearly didn’t have everything thought through.

© CBS

Just look at how long it took to answer Liana’s question about social awareness and his game moves -- that delay in itself tells a lot of the story unfortunately. With these three, I was actually rooting for Erika who I thought had played the best game of the three, even if she was definitely saved by the hourglass twist. The best of the season?

Well, these days it’s known that “threats” are really the strategic and social ones, as the days of a physical threat barreling to the final tribal are in the past. So yes, that includes more visible players like Shan or Ricard, and the only way they lasted as long as they did was a combination of social and sometimes physical game.

Which ultimately means that the game really does still matter for the balanced game, and the “under the radar but actually game savvy” game is the best way to win. But as we heard from the jury, many of them tried the same one -- it was only Erika that managed to pull it off. Another great moment was the various speeches from Naseer, who is absolutely a highlight in a cast that is already uniformly stellar.

I mean not since 'Millennials vs Gen-X' or 'David vs Goliath' have we got such a well-balanced cast, and although Erika dominated the final votes (only Danny voted for Deshawn), it was perhaps the strongest final three in recent memory (and it wouldn’t be fair to count Season 40 since those were all winners).

And just like then, a cast that will be hard to pick favorites that you really need to see back -- each of those casts had like ten people and Season 41 may be even more than that. I strongly expect to see Shan back, but I could easily see plenty of others in the mix. Overall, the season was a pretty fun one, a decent trip back to Fiji -- mayhaps the twists got a little out of control, but we had a great cast and deserving winner.

Next season on Survivor 42, dangerous as ever, different sorts of challengers, new risks, crazy twists, “no food” and a relentless pace that will push them to their limits.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E12: Truth Kamikaze

© CBS

‘Survivor’ breaks the streak and heads into the final five.
by Jeremy Fogelman

As we recount the tied votes and consider surprise votes, we ask the question: Why did Danny get voted out?

If we start to look back from where things went, we can see the strategy among the Erika/Heather/Ricard/Xander majority alliance fairly simply. They split the votes between Deshawn and Danny in case either has an idol, concerned about threats from either one. Danny was an immunity threat having actually won one while Deshawn was otherwise a strategic and lesser physical threat, having done decently at the most recent reward challenge.

But Danny actually going out and looking for an idol ironically put more of a target on him, because it demonstrates that he’s thinking about his game. Although Deshawn has become a new fun presence the last few episodes, and this episode continues that trend with Deshawn insisting that he doesn’t need food but needles Jeff Probst for his letters from home (we know that loved ones can’t be there this season dude to COVID restrictions).

I’m still pondering a bit on that vote -- but perhaps part of it was Deshawn and his “truth kamikaze” problem, although it didn’t get him the vote out. Of course, naturally Ricard was the main target first, but after he won his third immunity idol, that wasn’t an option. But when we think about the final people, who has a chance to win?

Going alphabetically, Deshawn has played a complicated game, playing both well and poorly at times, but I think people mostly respect him -- hard to know if Shan has forgiven him though. I think he has a decent chance to win against most people. Erika has played another mixed game, but I feel that she might be respected even less than Deshawn as a good player -- but maybe she could win in a final three with Xander and Heather.

© CBS

Speaking of whom, Heather cannot win, she is the goat brought to the end, apologies to who seems like a nice person (her conversation with Deshawn this episode certainly seemed thoughtful). Ricard is considered such a threat to win that that concept has dominated most conversations we see -- it’s hard to see anyone beating him. Finally, Xander still has an idol and has certainly done strategic movies, but he’s never really led anything significant nor is he particularly respected by the other players -- I think he doesn’t have a great chance.

If it does come down to Erika/Heather/Xander, what I’d like to see is Erika being a way to justify a win past “I got out the bigger threats”, although I loved her little “I want to see woman win, ideally me” comment. I suppose I also feel a little bad for Heather who isn’t really an interesting character or a good player, or usually you get at least one of those by the final five. Especially because otherwise this is just a great, entertaining, supremely messy cast that has been engaging the entire season.

Of course, there’s still more twists to come this season so I’m hoping nothing goes too wrong with that, but it’s shaping up to be quite the delightful season, isn’t it? And despite the pain at losing Danny, it was still an entertaining and meaningful episode.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E11: Do or Die

© CBS

'Survivor’ offers a pointless twist and an engaging tribal council in an episode that mostly works.
by Jeremy Fogelman

On the latest Survivor episode “Do or Die”, named for its pointless twist, we consider the question: Why did Liana get voted off? Poor Liana was quite the character this season, playing hard from minute one with a combination of emotion and clarity, with a serious animosity towards Xander throughout. Ah, why does it always have to be the best moment before your vote out?

At the final tribal, after Deshawn gave a teary explanation of his vote against Shan, Liana gave a legit “for the culture” speech breaking down her perspective as a Black woman in the current climate outside and inside the game. A really great moment for her, even if it was her last -- but at least it was quite an effective, strong one. Sure, it’s no “hero music for the exit of Shan the Great” like last episode, but it was a good sign off for Liana.

Liana was very tight to Shan, but that was ultimately her downfall, as she was clearly not trusted enough by her other allies Danny and Deshawn enough to tell her last week’s plan. Which they could’ve, despite their attempts at saying they had no choice in the matter because of the “majority” against Shan. Makes no sense, because it was four against four!

So we did get Deshawn profusely telling Liana he’d never write down her name, and maybe because of his clear emotional reaction to voting out Shan he actually meant it. Danny is a trickier dude to read in that way, playing the more subtle game -- but he actually got a pretty great episode otherwise, as we got his emotional backstory and then he won immunity.

Otherwise, it came down to Erika as a swing vote and Xander with his extra vote that made it obvious. Erika clearly picked the “allies I can trust for now” over “Ricard is the big threat” from her choices, which is a debatable one for sure, but maybe the right one. Although Ricard is certainly a threat, who isn’t? Only Heather, really. As for Xander, he and Liana have been at odds for quite a while, so it does make sense to target her as that probably wouldn’t have changed any time soon.

So Liana was in the minority because of her “duo” alliance and a target because the “bigger threat” Deshawn was twisted into being safe while Danny won immunity. So among the smaller alliance, really she was the only option.

© CBS

As for the rest of the episode, I can’t say I was really such a fan of the twist that didn’t go anywhere. Deshawn ultimately got a chance to play (what Xander correctly identified) as a variant on the 'Monty Hall problem', but such randomness feels like an unfair twist -- even if Deshawn actually was safe likely because of this twist.

But otherwise I still like this cast, and even Heather gets one or two lines an episode that aren’t pointless. At this point I’m mixed on who I think is playing the best game, but it’s part of the whole “playing well makes you a target” issue with modern Survivor. Sort of a double edged sword when you sometimes get the most “average good” player winning the season. Still, it’s also a great jury so far too!

Next time on Survivor, Danny hopes to find an idol, Ricard is scared, Erika has new plans, and all Deshawn can do is fight.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E10: Baby With a Machine Gun

© CBS

‘Survivor’ gets emotional and enthralling as we get closer to the endgame.
by Jeremy Fogelman

As we dry our tears and clean up our snakeskins, we ask the perennial question: Why did Shan lose? Of course, Shan has been a dangerous person the entire game, and has certainly been a potential target for just as long. She’s built connections and plotted mightily, with a lot of charged back and forth alliance talks with Ricard and Deshawn. And all the while, those two always knew that they could never really go to the end with her. Right?

The path to Shan getting voted out was a series of steps, with only one true “mistake” I could see on her part. At first Shan and Ricard are shown explaining that although they are close, they know it’s “trust until you aren’t” for the two of them. Then Deshawn gets an idea from Erika to target Shan, and he doesn’t reveal this tidbit to Shan.

We also get one of several highly emotional moments this episode then, as Deshawn gets choked up feeling conflicted about wanting to be with the other three “for the culture” referencing the rough year that was 2020, but what about his own game? Then Ricard picks cleverly at the reward challenge, raising Danny’s paranoia at his jury management skills -- and they bring up the idea to vote out Ricard and simply not tell Shan (which is ultimately a reverse of what actually happens, since they vote out Shan and don’t tell Liana).

The episode teases us by having Heather call out Shan singing her theme song out loud, but hey, mayhaps that’s a portent of the future -- that finally Shan is no longer hidden? But the next step is that Liana (in tears) decides to tell Shan about the plan, and they decide to target Deshawn instead (although this fake plan will eventually change). At the immunity challenge, the camera made sure to notice when Shan smiled after Deshawn dropped his ball, before she immediately shifted into a fake grimace.

© CBS

But since Ricard won, the Danny/Deshawn plan was off the table, and then Shan reveals to Ricard that he was a target. Using this as ammunition, Ricard decides that now is finally the time to get his longtime ally out -- and brings up this betrayal of trust to Deshawn. It’s funny, because Ricard was the target of Deshawn, but since Ricard didn’t betray anything, it changes things -- and suddenly Deshawn is on board, if still conflicted.

Erika is entirely on board, wanting to split the votes between Shan and Liana -- and now nearly everyone has the plan, except the targets, Shan and Liana. At tribal council, both Deshawn and Danny say kinda shifty things, and I thought maybe Shan picked up on it -- but if she did, she didn’t do anything about it. That was her one mistake; I think there were signs of a betrayal, but she felt too safe and went home with an idol in her pocket.

But getting to that point though, wow, what a great episode of back and forth, everchanging strategy. The connections built between these people make things much more interesting when they have actual conflicts to worry about internally and definitely interesting when they finally turn on each other. Shan has been a frontrunner in the game for most of the show, but she has gotten some negative editing here and there -- she wasn’t a perfect player by any means, but boy, was she great at the game she played. Definitely an all-star for sure.

Next time on Survivor, Liana gets quite angry, Erika is a target and targeting, and there’s some twist.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Dancing With the Stars S30E11: Finale

© ABC

Dancing with the Stars' season 30 finale felt a little like a consolation prize
by Kim Krober

Dancing with the Stars' season 30 came to a close, as the four remaining couples battled it out for the Mirror Ball trophy. I loved the opening sequence with all the former contestants returning to strut their stuff, especially when Martin Kove pretended to knock out The Miz. It was also good to see Melanie C from The Spice Girls and country singer Jimmie Allen return to perform. Notably missing was judge Derek Hough, who revealed he was diagnosed with a breakthrough case of COVID the day after Semi-Finals. His sister - DWTS darling Julianne Hough - was on-hand to fill in his judging shoes for the night. However, this felt like a consolation prize. And really the entire finale felt a bit like a consolation prize after so many of my favorites had already been knocked out of the competition.

From the beginning of the season, it seemed the judges were rooting for pop star JoJo Siwa and her pro partner Jenna Johnson. However, The Talk's Amanda Kloots and partner Alan Bersten certainly gave them a run for their money. The biggest surprises this season were seeing NBA star Iman Shumpert and partner Daniella Karagach and celebrity fitness guru Cody Rigsby and partner Cheryl Burke also make their way to the finale. Would an underdog capture the hearts of voters and take home the trophy or would it be awarded to the same-sex couple predicted to win from the start (not that they're undeserving of the title, but it felt like most of their stronger competition was missing)?


During the first round of competition, the couples were tasked with a Fusion Dance of two seemingly unrelated dance styles. Then it was time for the ever-popular Freestyle Round, which is often what makes or breaks a champion. Let's see how your favorites fared on this final week of competition:

Fusion Dance Round
Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Viennese Waltz and Paso Doble


Amanda and Alan's fusion Viennese Waltz and Paso Doble to INXS' "Never Tear Us Apart" was a mesmerizing beginning to the show. Julianne complimented Amanda for such a beautiful journey. Bruno enjoyed the airy Viennese Waltz combined with the fiery Paso Doble, admiring their passion and intensity. Carrie Ann commended them for their quality, although she detected a bit of a stumble at the end. Len called her a total eclipse of the sun - a dancer that doesn't come around very often.
Total: 38

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Paso Doble and Cha-Cha


Cody and Cheryl's fusion Paso Doble and Cha-Cha to En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" was a fitting showcase of Cody's strengths and determination. Bruno and Carrie Ann praised Cody for making it to the finale and proving himself a worthy contender for the Mirror Ball trophy. Len said it was full of vigor and vitality, though it could have benefited from a bit more shaping. Julianne could tell his footwork had vastly improved from last week, calling him a big fish in a global pond..
Total: 36

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Tango and Cha-Cha


JoJo and Jenna's fusion Tango and Cha-Cha to Icona Pop's "I Love It" was fun and spirited, much like their other dances this season. Carrie Ann loved seeing her transform into a leader throughout the competition beyond just being a good dancer. Len said she proved it doesn't matter if it's two women or two men dancing - if it's good dancing, it's magic. Julianne admired her for showing the world anything is possible. Bruno called it nuclear fusion with perfection from every angle.
Total: 40

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Cha-Cha and Foxtrot


Iman and Daniella's fusion Cha-Cha and Foxtrot to Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" was enjoyable, showcasing Iman's positive energy and suave presence. Len said sometimes underdogs bite back, and that's what Iman did tonight. Julianne never thought he was the underdog, saying she always liked watching him integrate himself into every dance. Bruno said the eagle had risen to new heights with a complete transformation to King of the Ballroom. Carrie Ann called him special from day one.
Total: 40

Freestyle Round
Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Freestyle


Cody and Cheryl's Freestyle to a medley of "Beethoven's Fifth" and Todrick Hall's "Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels" felt as extra and special as Cody himself. I absolutely loved Cheryl's glittery rainbow skirt, and it was so colorful from start to finish! Julianne enjoyed seeing the freak flag fly and watching him express himself so freely. Bruno compared him to J. Lo in Hustler and admired him for being out loud and proud. Carrie Ann called it the most flamboyant Freestyle they've ever seen, including some moves (twerking) this ballroom has never seen. Len said it was wild, wacky, and wonderful. Cody finally earned a perfect score from the judges, and he's never looked prouder.
Total: 40

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Freestyleo


Amanda and Alan's Freestyle to Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars" was such a beautiful, exciting end to their partnership this season. I loved watching them week after week. Bruno said they watched a star be reborn before their very eyes the past 10 weeks, saying she's never shined brighter. Carrie Ann called her hope and resilience personified. Len praised her for beautiful lyrical dancing all season. Julianne enjoyed watching her open her heart and letting the universe in through dance.
Total: 40

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Freestyle


JoJo and Jenna's Freestyle to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" was the perfect celebration of their unique flavor and energy this season. Carrie Ann said it was beyond amazing, calling the future brighter and safer with positive role models such as JoJo in it. Len appreciated the elements of Salsa and other dance styles, calling them a stand-out couple the entire season. Julianne enjoyed seeing her freedom of expression, calling her an inspiration. Bruno said it was another smash hit and said he wished he'd had role models like JoJo to look up to when he was a child.
Total: 40

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Freestyle


Iman and Daniella's Freestyle to a medley of Missy Elliot's "Lose Control" and DJ Clent's "Bounce" was the most hip-hop Freestyle I've ever seen on DWTS. Len called this season a fantastic book with twists and turns along the way, saying the final surprises on the last page were minutes away. Bruno said they brought the house down with their fancy Chicago footwork. Julianne proclaimed it her favorite Freestyle in 30 seasons of performing, judging, or spectating. Carrie Ann said it was so sick it was good and applauded him for letting his dance pro partner shine in this Freestyle.
Total: 40

And the winners are...


As the finale drew to a close, it was anybody's guess as to how America's votes would affect the results. In fourth place were Amanda and Alan, in third place were Cody and Cheryl, and, in a shocking turn of events, second place were JoJo and Jenna. Iman and Daniella did the impossible and won the Mirror Ball trophy. And I'm not even mad at that - I love a good underdog upset! But seriously, I think all four remaining couples deserve a pat on the back for their progressive journeys. Until next time, Dancing with the Stars!

Do you think the right couple took home the Mirror Ball trophy this season?

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E09: Who's Who in the Zoo?

© CBS

‘Survivor’ loses two faves because at this point almost all of them are.
by Jeremy Fogelman

As the twin councils disappear from view and the voted out castaways get weighed and fed, we ask our perennial query: Why did Naseer and Evvie lose?

In both cases, it was a situation of threats and missing the danger right in front of you. Starting with the episode’s little twist, I thought it worked well -- both teams competed for immunity against each other, with two people going home and one slightly better team getting food. The start of the episode had Shan and Deshawn at odds then better then at odds again, while Deshawn was creating a new ally with Evvie.

At the same time, Naseer and Heather were at odds of a sort, although Naseer was as always, unfailingly polite. I cackled out loud when he said “Do I buy that? I do not” in response to Heather. And all the while, Xander and Erika plotted to take out the big power five while Shan kept complaining about finding Erika untrustworthy, for a reason I still don't understand. We also got a nice little moment where Ricard discusses his issues being hard of hearing while the show actually gives us the muffled sounds so we can understand how it might be for him.

But as for Naseer, he was voted out because Ricard and Shan changed their “vote out Heather” plan to vote out Naseer instead. Why did they do this? Because Erika, the target they wanted, was immune and because Ricard wanted to remove a threat and someone he probably thought was more loyal to Shan. Shan did as her ally asked and played an extra vote on Naseer, who unfortunately did not play his vote -- but although Naseer always understood the game (like knowing never to have his name as a decoy vote), there are subtleties especially with the other people he may have missed.

Naseer was absolutely one of the most fun and engaging players in years, and I’d be more than happy to see him again. His energy and competency was always fun, and it gave us one of the great moments when he had his “confused as a goat on astroturf” speech. As for our other fave, Evvie was also a threat -- winning an immunity and clearly being both a superfan and being extremely level-headed (which stands out among the hotheads this season). I also don’t really think Ricard and Shan made the right move since Naseer was so loyal to them, but hey, it’s not my game.

© CBS

Evvie likely only could’ve stayed in the game if Xander had played his idol, and why didn’t he? Did he not see it coming? I don’t think he did, or maybe he was just playing it a bit safer for his own game, even though Evvie was one of his only real potential allies. Xander still has his immunity idol but for how long? Still, he does have one thing that does help -- the conflicts that still exist with everyone else.

But despite losing two faves, it was a pretty fun episode, with good plays and bad, chaos and order, and no game breaking twists to really overcomplicate things. Alas for poor Heather, she has no chance to win, but otherwise... it may really be anyone’s game.

Next time on Survivor, Danny and Deshawn want Ricard out, Liana cries to Shan, and suddenly Shan wants to vote out Deshawn.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Dancing With the Stars S30E10: Semi-Finals

© ABC

Dancing with the Stars' Semi-Finals Night offered a shot at redemption but ended in heartbreak
by Kim Krober

The pressure was on for the six remaining couples on Dancing with the Stars as they battled for spots in next week's finale and the chance to take home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. During the first round of Semi-Finals Night, each couple had the chance for redemption by redoing a dance they previously struggled with during the competition. During the second round, each couple danced a remaining dance style. Most of these ended up being Contemporary dances, which gave the couples the opportunity to shine with many near-perfect judges' scores at a crucial point in the competition. I also enjoyed the special Sing 2-inspired performance from the pros halfway through the night.


Let's see how your favorites fared on this ninth week of competition:

Round One: Redemption Round
Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Salsa


Cody and Cheryl didn't get the chance to dance a Salsa in the ballroom due to their bout with COVID earlier in the season. Therefore, Bruno wanted to see a redemption Salsa. Bruno proclaimed the race to the finale started with a bang, complimenting them for the high energy and hip-shaking action. Carrie Ann called it the definition of redemption and loved seeing Cody really get into the movements. Len said it was an action-packed full-on Salsa, although Cody was a bit flat-footed at times. Derek said the last leg lift left him gasping, calling it a huge improvement from week two.
Total: 35

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Rumba


Melora and Artem's Rumba on week two lacked hip action and rhythm, so Len challenged them to a redemption Rumba to Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait." Len thought it was terrific with interesting choreography (along with a few colorful comments about her booty). Derek admired the pureness of their Rumba, along with its flow and articulation. Bruno loved the pitch, saying she went from sexy to cheeky to romantic. Carrie Ann praised the technique but thought some expression was lost from her hands. The lift police also detected a lift, which she said forced her to knock a point from her score.
Total: 36

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Foxtrot


Carrie Ann wanted to see Suni and Sasha redo their Foxtrot, saying Suni lacked bringing personality to the dance the first time. Their redemption Foxtrot to "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble was easily one of their best. Carrie Ann praised her for blossoming and gaining momentum at this stage of the competition. Len called it a joyful, happy dance with terrific frame, although the footwork was suspect in parts. Derek loves Suni 2.0, telling her to be proud of herself. Bruno commented that this girl can certainly trot, commending her for managing to show connection and character within the dance. I think she's grown the most this season, coming out of her shell and radiating confidence.
Total: 37

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Argentine Tango


JoJo and Jenna's Argentine Tango on week three didn't have the sizzle Len wanted to see. Their redemption Argentine Tango to Gotan Project's "Santa Maria" had more of a sultry quality to it. Len called it bloody brilliant. Derek appreciated Len's mic drop and seeing two females dance such a clean, artistic Argentine Tango together. Bruno said he needed a rewiring because all of his fuses were blown by such an outstanding performance. Carrie Ann loved the passion and powerful clarity.
Total: 40

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Tango


Derek challenged Iman and Daniella to make their Tango capitalize on Iman's size and frame to his advantage. Their redemption Tango to Martynas' "Telephone" was one of their best performances to date. I never would have predicted this guy to make the Semi-Finals at the first of the season, but he has won me over with his work ethic and for creating memorable moments. Derek praised him for debunking the myth that you can't have a beautiful frame with this big of a height difference. Bruno said it was smart, congratulating him for delivering the goods. Carrie Ann admired the frame and magic on the ballroom floor. Len called it a vast improvement from week three, saying it was brilliant.
Total: 37

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Tango


Len wanted to see Amanda and Alan redo their Tango from week one with better body contact. Their redemption Tango to "Titanium" by David Guetta and Sia was a perfect way to end the Redemption Round. Len thought it delivered with attack, aggression, and fabulous movement across the floor. Derek praised her for being the most consistent dancer in the competition with beautiful frame. Bruno called it platinum, with the clear-cut precision of a diamond. Carrie Ann told her she danced the Tango like a boss, although she would have to dock her a point for lifting her foot from the floor.
Total: 39

Round Two
Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Contemporary


Melora and Artem's Contemporary dance to "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons was among my favorites of the night. I will be so disappointed if she doesn't make it to the finale. Len liked the way the dance mirrored every nuance of the music, saying it was full of attack and purpose. Derek loves seeing and feeling her love of dance come across in every performance. Bruno praised the sense of freedom and lightness. Carrie Ann called her the most beautiful lyrical dancer, putting everything out there on the dance floor for everyone to see. I was more than a little disappointed by four 9's from the judges.
Total: 36

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Argentine Tango


Cody and Cheryl's Argentine Tango to "La Cumparsita" by Forever Tango proved why he's still around in this competition, albeit even if it lacked momentum at times. Derek loved the iconic opening image and seeing Cheryl working it overtime. Bruno called it a red-hot Argentine Tango. Carrie Ann admired the drama brought to the dance. Len complimented him for coming such a long way from week one. It was enough to garner four 9's from the judges.
Total: 36

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Contemporary


Suni and Sasha's Contemporary dance to "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles felt raw and powerful and utilized her gymnastics background well. It gave me chills. Bruno said gravity didn't apply, calling her jumps weightless. Carrie Ann called it magical, showcasing her versatility as a performer. Len could tell she danced it with feeling, calling it dramatic and passionate. Derek loved seeing her come to an inward realization and seeing her fully enjoy herself out there on the dance floor. I would concur.
Total: 38

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Contemporary


As someone else who lost a beloved grandparent within the past few months, it made JoJo and Jenna's Contemporary dance to Lewis Capaldi's "Before You Go" all the more poignant. Carrie Ann said it was an amazing demonstration of everything she represents. Len praised her for mixing artistry with athleticism, saying she dances with such maturity for someone so young. Derek was in love with her grandma and gave her a standing ovation for having the best Contemporary ever on the program. Bruno called it exquisite, comparing them to two angels and souls totally reunited.
Total: 40

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Jazz


Iman and Daniella's Jazz routine to "Dark Fantasy" by Kanye West was surprising, much like most of what he has brought to this competition. If he makes it to the finale, he will have a flavorful Freestyle. Len said it had more lifts than Uber, but they were all spectacular. Derek proclaimed him the "Bench Press King" and Daniella the "Plank Queen," praising him for hitting the lines and timing. Bruno had body envy, calling the lifts heart-stopping at times. Carrie Ann admired him for bringing something dynamic, athletic, and artistic to his dances. He received two 10's and two 9's from the judges.
Total: 38

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Contemporary


Amanda and Alan's Contemporary dance to Lenii's "Live Your Life" was dedicated to her husband Nick Cordero who passed after a lengthy COVID coma last year. It made me cry, especially when her partner Alan cried. It was such a beautiful ending to the show. Derek said she did this dance for herself, not the audience or the judges, calling it a wonderful moment. Bruno said she touched the heart of the nation and it was beyond critique. Carrie Ann saw her disappear and transcend to perfection. Len appreciated seeing two very different but fantastic dances from her tonight.
Total: 40

Elimination


After watching everyone's shot at redemption, it was difficult to come to the realization that Semi-Finals Night was going to close with another heart-wrenching double elimination. It came down to Amanda and Alan, Suni and Sasha, and Melora and Artem in the bottom three. Melora and Artem were eliminated automatically, which really made me really mad, as she was one of the best and most consistent dancers on the program. The judges were then given the unenviable task of choosing between Amanda and Alan and Suni and Sasha. Ultimately, the judges voted to save Amanda and Alan. It broke my heart for Suni and Sasha, who had also worked so hard to make it to the finale. I had a sinking feeling these two would be eliminated tonight, but it still felt a bit surreal.

Do you think the right contestant went home? Keep voting for your favorites!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Harry Potter Cast Reunites for 20th Anniversary Special on HBO Max

© Warner Bros. Pictures

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson join filmmaker Chris Columbus and other esteemed cast members across all eight Harry Potter films as they travel back to Hogwarts for the first time to celebrate the anniversary of the franchise’s first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which premiered 20 years ago today. The retrospective special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts will tell an enchanting making-of story through all-new in-depth interviews and cast conversations, inviting fans on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time. The highly-anticipated retrospective will be a capstone event of the holiday season, dropping as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, on HBO Max. The special will also debut on TBS and Cartoon Network in Spring 2022 ahead of the Warner Bros. Pictures theatrical debut of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and will roll out globally with more details to come.

Alumni of the film franchise will join the memorable tribute, including Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton, Tom Felton, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Alfred Enoch, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, and Ian Hart, among others. Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts will honor the magic behind the making of the films and the beautiful family created at Warner Bros. Studios London two decades ago. It will also celebrate the unparalleled legacy of the Harry Potter film franchise and its indelible impact on the hearts, minds, and imaginations of families and fans around the world.

“It has been an incredible journey since the debut of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone film, and witnessing how it has evolved into this remarkable interconnected universe has been magical to say the least,” said Tom Ascheim, President, Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics. “This retrospective is a tribute to everyone whose lives were touched by this cultural phenomenon—from the talented cast and crew who poured their heart and soul into this extraordinary film franchise to the passionate fans who continue to keep the Wizarding World spirit alive 20 years later.” 

“There’s magic in the air here with this incredible cast, as they all return home to the original sets of Hogwarts, where they began 20 years ago. The excitement is palpable as they prepare to take their fans on a very special and personal journey, through the making of these incredible films,” said executive producer Casey Patterson. 

Produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon at the iconic Warner Bros. Studio Tour London—The Making of Harry Potter, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is executive produced by Casey Patterson of Casey Patterson Entertainment (A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote) and Pulse Films (Beastie Boys Story).

Fans can jumpstart their Wizarding World celebration and gear up for the retrospective by checking out the 20th anniversary hub content on WizardingWorld.com. An exclusive first look at the special will debut during the premiere of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses on Nov. 28 (8:00 p.m. ET/PT) on TBS and Cartoon Network. The bracket-style quiz competition, hosted by Helen Mirren, will feature fans competing to take home the Tournament of Houses championship trophy and will feature magical cameos by Harry Potter film alumni Tom Felton, Simon Fisher-Becker, Shirley Henderson and Luke Youngblood, as well as superfans Pete Davidson and Jay Leno. The epic, four-part competition event will also begin streaming on HBO Max on Jan. 1.


Friday, November 12, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E08: Betraydar

© CBS

Survivor gives us a jam packed post-merge scramble as the endgame arrives.
by Jeremy Fogelman

As the dust of the merge settles and the rice is no longer missing, we ask our regularly scheduled question: Why did Tiffany lose and get voted out?

I will certainly miss Tiffany the Player, with her hilarious asides and Eliza Orlins level of mugging for the camera. She played hard and often decently smart, even if she ended up in a minority alliance not really of any real fault of her own. But I am also looking forward to Tiffany on the Jury, where she can be even less filtered.

The majority alliance was quite a big one this time around, with former tribesfolk Deshawn, Danny, Erika, Heather, and Naseer working together while at the same time bringing in Liana and Shan with the most recent sub-alliance with Ricard as a connected member originally through Shan. Thus we are left with Tiffany, Evvie, and Xander as the people without any real support.

Evvie started the episode as a major threat but with minimal allies, as we saw Liana and Shan plot to target the superfan. But then Evvie killed it both in the reward and immunity challenge, and suddenly we are left with Xander (with two advantages) and Tiffany (with none). Sure, you could target Heather, who is no threat, but why bother? You could target Naseer, who has an idol and is a sweetheart, but he also loves the game and definitely wants to win -- although as Shan notes, he is also loyal and a great provider.

Naseer tells us himself that he trusts Shan and Ricard, and he also trusts his former tribe too -- so why lose him just because his immunity idol? This is the subject of a break of heart between Shan and Deshawn as they argue who to send home -- and Deshawn is highly touchy and sensitive about it while Shan is conciliatory if a bit condescending. Not a great look for either, although I suspect Shan is losing it a bit due to her hunger (as she also snaps at Ricard too).

© CBS

So unfortunately this leads back to our initial question? Why did Tiffany lose? Because she couldn’t get enough of an alliance together and her former allies no longer would sacrifice for her -- because the only thing that would’ve saved Xander is he both used his extra vote to target Heather and his idol on her -- and that’s really too much to ask even of an ally.

But other than losing one of my faves, it was a pretty fun episode -- we even finally heard a confessional from the mysterious, enigmatic Heather, who... exists! Great news for her. Not great news for her game, though -- and her gambit at tribal council failed, so it’s not looking great for her either.

I also enjoyed both Jeff hiding the advantage and Xander totally missing it -- so both we at home and Jeff in the TV were frustrated by it. Honestly it’s a pretty compelling cast this season, and there are a lot of interesting back and forth situations that could be quite interesting going forward. Nobody currently looks like a “winner”, as even the savviest players have made blunders.

Definitely an open game going forward and that’s what I like to see.

Next time on Survivor, people are fighting with each other, and things are shaking up.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Dancing With the Stars S30E09: Janet Jackson Night

© ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' Janet Jackson Night was full of rhythm & heartbreak
by Kim Krober

As the eight remaining couples twirled closer to the Semi-Finals on Dancing with the Stars, this week brought a tribute to Janet Jackson and another surprising double elimination. It was an interesting first for the program to see the dance pros challenged with choreographing ballroom dances to the innovative hits of Miss Jackson, but they rose to the occasion admirably. The opening dance to "Nasty" set the tone for the evening, and I almost didn't recognize Tyra Banks in her Janet outfit!


Let's see how your favorites fared on this eighth week of competition:

Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater, Cha-Cha


Jimmie and Emma's Cha-Cha to "Escapade" was such a fun opening. I loved their sparkly gold outfits and seeing more of Jimmie's personality shine. He's been winning me over week to week. Len didn't like the heel leads, but he thought it was a nice routine overall. Derek also loved the sparkles but said it wasn't his best performance to date. Bruno appreciated the playfulness and backing vocals exhibited by Jimmie but echoed what Len said about the heel leads. Carrie Ann admitted that Jimmie always brings the fun, but said they're looking for more technical details this close to the Semi-Finals. Their casual escapades managed four 8's from the judges. Was it enough?
Total: 32

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Samba


After last week's antics, it was good to see Suni coming out and looking healthier and more glamorous than ever. Her and Sasha's Samba to "All For You" proved why she's still in this competition. Derek applauded her for her new look and confidence, saying she had a beautiful, vibrant energy and graceful magnetism. Bruno said the reboot running on high octane was brilliant, admiring her 100% authentic Samba. Carrie Ann was proud to see the real Suni, while Len called it a healthy Samba. Suni came out and rocked her first perfect score of the season!
Total: 40

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Paso Doble


Melora and Artem's Paso Doble to "If" looked polished and purposeful, despite their stress-filled rehearsal package. I'm still rooting for these two to go all the way! Bruno called her the Queen of Mean, saying it was a ferocious energy coupled with beauty and artistry. Carrie Ann complimented her for kicking the balls out of this competition despite being in her fifties. Len wanted to know where all of her aggression and attack came from because she's usually so gentle, but he called it a brilliant performance. Derek commended her for coming out and slaying the Paso. Another perfect score!
Total: 40

Olivia Jade & Val Chmerkovskiy, Argentine Tango


Olivia and Val's Argentine Tango to "Any Time, Any Place" was unexpectedly sultry (not sure why the judges disagreed). Carrie Ann said it was a beautiful, refined performance although she would've appreciated a little more heat. Len loved the chemistry and interaction but wasn't into the table part of the routine. Derek admires Olivia's authentic joy every time she dances. Bruno called it seductive with great legwork even if it lacked passion. It was enough to garner four 9's from the judges.
Total: 36

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Paso Doble


Cody and Cheryl's Paso Doble to "Black Cat" was awesome even it lacked a bit of the intensity exhibited by Melora and Artem. I like Cody far more than I ever expected and will be sad to say goodbye to him. Len called it big and bold and full of fire and ice with no-nonsense dancing. Derek could tell a switch had gone off, complimenting Cody for stepping it up with his lines and presence. Bruno said he unleashed the beast within, comparing it to Mortal Kombat. Carrie Ann said it was fantastic, praising him for bringing it all together and peaking at the right time in this competition.
Total: 38

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Jazz


Amanda and Alan's Jazz routine to "Miss You Much" was the closest thing to Janet Jackson Night that I was picturing in my head before tonight. I loved their costumes and choreography. Derek came in with a slow clap, saying she was a leading lady from start to finish, completely owning the fellas. Bruno called it her own despite the obvious nods to Janet Jackson flavor. Carrie Ann just wanted to hug Amanda. Len simply called it amazing. It was Amanda's first perfect score of the season!
Total: 40

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Cha-Cha


It couldn't get any more iconic than Iman and Daniella's Cha-Cha to "Rhythm Nation." I think Iman has shown the most growth in this competition, and he earned my votes this week. Bruno respected his take on such an iconic song and artist, although he thought the Cha-Cha content was a bit minimal. Carrie Ann appreciated the intricate choreography and his sharper precision this week. Len was captivated by the group section, but felt the Cha-Cha content was too few and far between. Derek praised him for delivering such a memorable performance. I would concur with that sentiment.
Total: 35

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Salsa


After their close call in the bottom two last week, JoJo and Jenna's Salsa to "Feedback" felt like redemption. It was mesmerizing to watch (although I'm still missing The Miz). Carrie Ann commended her for continuing to come out with "Cirque du Salsa" moves. Len called her an excellent dancer, saying she and Jenna make the Dream Team despite having some gimmicks that weren't necessary in the dance. Derek loved the beautiful opening lift and amazing highlights. Bruno called it drop-dead sexy, saying he likes that she dares to go there, pushing the limits as far as she can every week. It was almost another perfect score, except Len refused to give it up tonight.
Total: 39

Dance-Off Round

Aside from their solo dances, each couple was also tasked with learning a second dance for the Dance-Off this week. The remaining contestants were divided into four groups of two couples, with a different dance style and judge assigned to each who would award bonus points to the winners.

Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater vs. Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Salsa


Bruno Tonioli was on hand to judge the Salsa Dance-Off between Jimmie and Emma vs. Suni and Sasha to a Latin version of "Made For Now." Was the show experiencing budget cuts - I was surprised the contestants didn't change costumes for the Dance-Off. Bruno called it a tough decision because both couples gave a great performance with a different flavor. Based on a balance of technique and performance, Bruno decided to award Suni and Sasha the two coveted bonus points.
Winners: +2 to Suni & Sasha

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson vs. Olivia Jade & Val Chmerkovskiy, Rumba


Carrie Ann Inaba was the judge to impress as JoJo and Jenna went head-to-head (or was it hip-to-hip) with Olivia and Val to a Rumba set to "That's The Way Love Goes." Apparently some couples were allowed to change costumes? Carrie Ann could feel the pressure, saying she couldn't believe that was the first time either of these couples had danced the Rumba. She said the passion between JoJo and Jenna was palpable, ultimately awarding the two bonus points to them for their efforts.
Winner: +2 to JoJo & Jenna

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach vs. Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Foxtrot


Iman and Daniella faced off with Melora and Artem to a Foxtrot set to "Again," as judge Derek Hough looked on in the ballroom. Derek complimented Iman for growing and Melora for being so consistent. Ultimately, Derek decided to award the two bonus points to Melora and Artem.
Winners: +2 to Melora & Artem

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten vs. Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Cha-Cha


Len Goodman was tasked with judging between Amanda and Alan and Cody and Cheryl, as both couples danced a Cha-Cha to "Together Again." Len said he was too old to take all of this pressure, but he praised both couples for coming out and putting the Cha into the routine. He said it all hinged on one step called the New York, ultimately giving the two bonus points to Amanda and Alan.
Winners: +2 to Amanda & Alan


Elimination


Nobody enjoys the nastiness of a double elimination at this stage of the competition. With only a few weeks remaining, it's almost cruel to watch people's hopes of having a shot at the Semi-Finals crushed so completely. After combining the judges' scores and viewers' votes, the couple in last place automatically being sent home was Olivia & Val. The judges were then tasked with the difficult decision of choosing between Melora & Artem and Jimmie & Emma. All of the judges voted to save Melora & Artem, but you could tell it really broke some hearts to make this decision. I will miss Jimmie's contagious enthusiasm, but it was definitely the right elimination out of the two.

Do you think the right contestant went home? Keep voting for your favorites!