What to Watch This Week | January 9–15
CableTV.com’s superlative viewing recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this week.
In our first episode of 2023, TV Tan Podcast (hosted by myself and Tommy Milagro) covers a whole lotta ground after taking most of December off. We talk about the must-see shows that premiered over the holidays (like HBO’s This Place Rules and Peacock’s Paul T. Goldman), as well as some why-did-we-watch-that? dreck (like Netflix’s Paradise P.D. and Prime Video’s The People We Hate at the Wedding). Available wherever you get your podcasts, etc.
This week’s What to Watch recs include the return of the Golden Globes, the premieres of The Last of Us and Velma, the visceral Netflix action of Vikings: Valhalla and Sky Rojo, the sophomore seasons of Hunters and Mayor of Kingstown, and the 2023 College Football National Championship. It’s TV time!
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What’s premiering this week
Special premiere, Tuesday, January 10, 8 p.m. ET: After much behind-the-scenes drama and a year off TV, the Golden Globe Awards are back on NBC (and Peacock). First-time host Jerrod Carmichael will preside over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s awards for movies and television, which includes nominations for Avatar: The Way of Water, Better Call Saul, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Bear, and, inexplicably, Top Gun: Maverick. Ricky Gervais was probably not invited.
College Football National Championship | ESPN | Sports, football
Coverage begins Monday, January 9, 7:30 p.m. ET: Live from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, it’s the 2023 College Football National Championship. Defending champions Georgia Bulldogs will take on the TCU Horned Frogs in an ultra-rare rhyming showdown that will air live on ESPN, ESPN Radio, and ESPN Deportes.
What to watch on Netflix this week
Vikings: Valhalla | Netflix | Action, drama
Season 2 premiere, Thursday, January 12: Vikings sequel Valhalla, which picks up 100 years after the original HISTORY series, continues Norseman Leif Eriksson’s (Sam Corlett) bloody swath through Europe. In Season 2, Leif, sister Frida (Frida Gustavsson), and Harald (Leo Suter) are on the run from bounty hunters in Scandinavia after the fall of Kattegat, and you can absolutely count on many a shirtless dude throwdown. All eight episodes stream on January 12.
Sky Rojo | Netflix | Comedy, drama
Season 3 premiere, Friday, January 13: Spanish import Sky Rojo features a different trio on the run: three prostitutes (Verónica Sánchez, Lali Espósito, and Yany Prado) escaping their abusive pimp. Sky Rojo packs maximum Tarantino-lite action and humor into its 25-minute episodes, and the end of last season saw the women finally out of danger—but are they? Not yet, but since the series is wrapping with Season 3, they may still get a happy ending (pun not entirely intended).
What to watch on HBO Max this week
Velma | HBO Max | Animation, comedy
Series premiere, Thursday, January 12: Velma, the high-school origin story of Velma Dinkley, the iconic brains behind the Scooby-Doo gang, has the adults-only look and feel of HBO Max sister Harley Quinn but with a less abrasive attitude (Velma is voiced by Mindy Kaling, after all). There’s also no Scooby, but Velma does feature teen versions of Fred (Glenn Howerton), Daphne (Constance Wu), and Shaggy (Sam Richardson), as well as an overt feminist bent. Jinkies!
Series premiere, Sunday, January 15: Finally out from under his Mandalorian helmet, Pedro Pascal stars in the post-apocalyptic The Last of Us, based on the PlayStation video game. Instead of Grogu, this time Pascal is transporting a teen girl (Bella Ramsey) across the fungal-pandemic-ravaged America of 2033 (too soon?). This $100 million production will expand beyond the game’s original story, but there are still plenty of mutated monsters to splatter with impunity.
What to watch on Hulu this week
Koala Man | Hulu | Animation, comedy
Series premiere, Monday, January 9: Show creator Michael Cusack (YOLO: Crystal Fantasy, Smiling Friends) also voices Koala Man, the tale of a middle-aged dad fighting crime in his small Australian town armed with only his wits (such as they are) and a koala mask. It’s low-rent, but at least Koala Man is more fun—and several hours shorter—than The Batman. Other voices include Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), Sarah Snook (Succession), and Hugh Jackman (Viva Laughlin).
The Drop | Hulu | Comedy
Movie premiere, Friday, January 13: Destination weddings are bad enough, but can you imagine one produced by the Duplass brothers? The duo’s dark comedy brand is all over The Drop, about a tropical island getaway wedding that turns into pure hell for the attendees when someone accidentally fumbles a baby (that’s The Drop). Anna Konkle (PEN15), Jermaine Fowler (Coming 2 America), Aparna Nancherla (Search Party), and Robin Thede (A Black Lady Sketch Show) star.
W2W wildcards of the week
Hunters | Prime Video | Drama
Season 2 premiere, Friday, January 13: The pulp-fictionalized Hunters, about a 1970s pickup team of Nazi hunters, debuted two years ago, so you might not remember it. You may recall this: it stars Al Pacino, a guy who doesn’t do much TV. The second and final season of Hunters also resumes two years later, in 1979, with the disbanded crew getting back together to take down their white whale: the newly discovered Adolf Hitler himself, alive and (not for long) well.
Mayor of Kingstown | Paramount+ | Drama
Season 2 premiere, Sunday, January 15: Yellowstone showrunner Taylor Sheridan is building a small empire at Paramount+, and one of the first bricks was 2021 crime drama Mayor of Kingstown. The first season introduced “Mayor” Mike McLusky (Jeremy Renner), an old-school fixer who (mostly) keeps things copacetic between the Russian mob, Aryans, and Crips in crime-ridden Kingstown. Mayor of Kingstown is a hard-boiled drama with Scorsese aspirations, and Renner is perfect here.