Good Monday morning! I hope you had a fantastic weekend, whether you were celebrating Passover, Good Friday and Easter, 4/20, and/or just the fact that it was the weekend.
As a quick refresher, for those who are new here—or for those who celebrate 4/20 every day—I start each week with this, a look at reality TV premieres that are coming up.
Since I can’t cover every reality show—I mean, just look at them all!—this preview points you toward shows you may not have heard of, or have been looking forward to. I also highlight documentaries, which usually just air once.
The last thing I do for reality blurred most weeks is to send out my hand-crafted newsletter, which reflects on the week, linking to stories I wrote here and elsewhere, and highlights things I’ve watched and/or read. If you’re not yet a subscriber, you should change that right now:
Okay, on to this week’s reality TV!
If Live PD isn’t enough live real-life excitement, A&E is launching a new show tonight: Live Rescue (A&E, Mondays at 9), which follows first responders. How will it treat victims who those first responders are helping, people who didn’t ask to be on TV? I guess we’ll find out.
Jeremy Wade returned to Animal Planet last night, two years after the cancellation of River Monsters, with a new show. Jeremy Wade’s Dark Waters (Animal Planet, Sundays at 9) sounds similar, though it perhaps leans more toward the paranormal and fictional, as he’ll “investigate reports that include, among others, entire fish species suddenly disappearing; unexplained sightings of mythical beasts; once thriving rivers now empty; and genetic oddities that may have produced the biggest monsters yet,” according to the network.
Ten Americans and Canadians trek across the Canadian wilderness in a canoe and on foot, following a historic trade route, on The Brigade: Race to the Hudson (Outdoor Channel, Mondays at 8).
Those who make it the 750-mile route will split $500,000. What I’ve seen of the show so far intrigues me, especially since they’re traveling with maps but without GPS. Here’s a preview:
Also this week,Top Gear (BBC America, Thursdays at 9) returns for Matt LeBlanc’s last season.
Netflix is expanding its food porn shows to include Street Food (Netflix, April 26), and Travel Channel is premiering another ghost show, Portals to Hell (Travel Channel, Fridays at 10), which stars Jack Osborune and Katrina Weidman.
Next weekend, United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell (CNN, Sundays at 10) returns for more of the comedian’s visits with people across the U.S., and it will be preceded by a new show, on which CNN personality Van Jones connects victims of crimes with their offenders. It’s called The Redemption Project with Van Jones (CNN, Sundays at 9).
Poaching, war journalism, a moon landing, and Baltimore
Here are four feature documentaries that will air on TV this week.
For Earth Day, there’s The Last Animals (National Geographic, Monday, April 22, at noon), a documentary that “follows the park rangers, conservationists, scientists and activists battling poachers and criminal networks to protect [rhinos and elephants] from extinction,” according to NatGeo.
Under the Wire (Starz, Monday, April 22, at 9) tells the story of Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin’s death in Syria, as told by photographer Paul Conroy, who was injured in the attack that killer her.
Rookie Moonshot: Budget Mission to the Moon (National Geographic Channel, Thursday, April 25, at 9) follows an Israeli organization as it attempts to land a spacecraft on the moon.
Three years of filming in Baltimore—with police, community leaders, and citizens—has resulted in Charm City (PBS, Monday, April 22, at 10), an Independent Lens film that illustrates how they all “grapple with the consequences of violence and try to reclaim their city’s future.”
Watch its trailer: