Good Monday morning! Here’s your look at what’s ahead this week in reality television, unscripted specials, and documentaries you might want to check out.
Did I miss something? Is something coming up you can’t wait to see? Let me know!
Three documentaries to see this week
- Colin Hanks directed a documentary about the Paris terrorist attack that killed 89 people at a concert alone. Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) debuts tonight (HBO, Monday, Feb. 13 at 10).
- Tonight’s Independent Lens documentary is Accidental Courtesy (PBS, Feb. 13 at 10), which follows African-American musician Daryl Davis, who has, according to PBS, a “peculiar passion—meeting and befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan in an attempt to change their minds and forge racial conciliation.”
- The 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas is the subject of Tower (PBS, Feb. 14 at 10), which tells the victims stories through interviews and animated recreations of the events of that day.
Get to the chopper and off my TV
The New Celebrity Apprentice ends its first Trump-less season (NBC, Monday at 10) and hopefully its last Schwarzenegger season, because was it boring. Doubled-up episodes didn’t help, nor did Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger, who’s even more stiff than his uncle.
But what really failed was imagination on the part of the producers and/or network. The show should have been reinvented. Instead, it was the exact same show down to the musical cues, but it lacked a strong cast. I include its star in that—Schwarzenegger had all the gross sexism and none of the entertainment of Trump.
There were a few bright spots, particularly Carson Kressley’s color commentary and American Ninja Warrior‘s Matt Iseman’s enthusiasm and work ethic paying off and landing him a spot in the finale next to Boy George. Beyond that, ugh.
Origami is amazing—the ancient but still spectacular art of turning paper into gorgeous three-dimensional art by folding it. But designers are using origami to help understand and create, from architecture to space exploration. That origami has become “a scientific tool,” as this preview says, is the subject of NOVA’s The Origami Revolution (PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 9 p.m.).
It’s been 11 years since Planet Earth, and this weekend comes the return of the spectacularly shot, epically produced nature documentary series that led to follow-ups and knock-offs. At least, it’s the return to the United States; it’s already aired in the UK.
The seven-part Planet Earth II airs on BBC America, but its debut will simultaneously air on AMC and Sundance (Feb. 18 at 9 p.m.).
Good news for purists: David Attenborough’s narration has not been replaced by an American actor.
Also this week
- CNN’s The History of Comedy continues (CNN, Feb. 16, Thursdays at 10) with an episode about female comics.
- Chef’s Table returns for its third season (Netflix, Feb. 17). The six chefs profiled this season, according to Netflix: Jeong Kwan (South Korea), Tim Raue (Germany), Ivan Orkin (New York), Vladimir Mukhin (Russia), Nancy Silverton (California), and Virgilio Martinez (Peru).
- Oxygen debuts the latest season of its women-behaving-badly series Bad Girls Club and debuts a new series, Battle of the Ex-Besties (Feb. 14, Tuesdays at 9). But with the network’s change to new focus, these shows are on their way out.
- The great competition series Mythbusters: The Search, which I’m really enjoying, has its contestants attempt an experiment that wasn’t ever successful on the original series: having a hero’s car blind the car behind it.
- 60 Days In (A&E, Thursday at 8 p.m.) airs a special with highlights from its first two seasons.
All reality and documentary series that return and/or debut this week
- Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party (VH1, Feb. 13, Mondays at 9)
- The Big Interview with Dan Rather (AXS, Feb. 14, Tuesdays at 8)
- QB1: Beyond the Lights (go90, Feb. 15)
- Murder Chose Me (ID, Feb. 15, Wednesdays at 10)
- Hacking the Wild (Science, Feb. 15, Wednesdays at 10)
- Chef’s Table (Netflix, Feb. 17)
- Planet Earth II (BBC America, Feb. 18, Saturdays at 9)
- The Zoo (Animal Planet, Feb. 18, Saturdays at 10)
- For Peete’s Sake (OWN, Feb. 18, Saturdays at 10)
- Long Island Medium (TLC, Feb. 19, Sundays at 8)