Good morning, fellow reality TV and documentary fans. I can’t believe another week has passed already, while at the same time, I’m like, It’s only been a week?! This week will bring us a celebrity version of RuPaul’s Drag Race and two shows filmed by cast members.
Also, it’s Earth Day on Wednesday, and I’ve highlighted marathons and new shows below, from a repeat of the original Planet Earth to a new documentary about Jane Goodall’s work.
Speaking of the planet, if you’re a person who’s “pissed off about the climate crisis,” like I am, I highly recommend Emily Atkin’s amazing newsletter Heated. For example, it’s where I learned that some people are using this current crisis to try to save single-use plastics. Okay, on to the reality TV!
Watch TV about the planet on Earth Day
Here’s what’s coming to TV on—and around—Earth Day on four different networks.
- The original Planet Earth marathon (starts Monday, April 20, at 1 p.m.)
- Blue Planet II marathon (starts Tuesday, April 21, at 3 p.m.)
- Best of Seven Worlds, One Planet features “the most spectacular moments” from the series (Tuesday, April 21, at 8)
- Planet Earth II marathon (starts Wednesday, April 22, at 3 p.m.)
- She Walks with Apes (Wednesday, April 22, at 9) tells the stories of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birutė Galdikas, women “who embarked on lifelong journeys to live with humanity’s closest living relatives, the Great Apes.” Sandra Oh narrates.
- Dynasties marathon (starts Thursday, April 23, at 6 p.m.)
- Sir David Attenborough narrates a special that presents the overwhelming evidence about the destructive warming of our planet. Climate Change: The Facts (Wednesday, April 22, at 8), “also examines possible solutions to the crisis, including the latest innovations, technology and actions individuals can take to prevent further damage,” according to PBS.
National Geographic Channel and NatGeo WILD:
- Baby animals!! That’s what Born Wild: The Next Generation (Wednesday, April 22, at 8) is about, with “a journey to stunning, breathtaking environments around the globe such as Australia, California, Canada, Hawaii, Minnesota, Sri Lanka and Kenya to witness and celebrate the diversity and splendor of charismatic baby animals”
- Jane Goodall: The Hope (Wednesday, April 22, at 9) is a special that “takes viewers through chapters of Dr. Goodall’s journey, highlighting how she inspires future generations.”
- The Great Global Clean Up (Wednesday, April 22, at 9) follows Zac Efron and Zach King as they and other celebrities “spotlight the efforts of the next generation of individuals and organizations that have made it their mission to help clean up our planet,” according to the network.
- The director of The Cove‘s 2015 documentary Racing Extinction will be re-broadcast (Wednesday, April 22, at 7 a.m.)
- There’s a mini-marathon of Serengeti, the show that aimed to be the opposite of “big spectacle” nature programs (starts Wednesday, April 22, at 9 a.m.)
- The Story of Plastic (Wednesday, April 22, at 2 p.m.)
In non-Earth day documentaries and specials:
- The owners of a porn store in Los Angeles are the subjects of Circus of Books (Netflix, Wednesday)
- The Hottest August (PBS, Monday, April 20, at 10) was filmed in August 2017 in New York City, and “presents an up-close and personal look at New Yorkers’ growing concerns over a variety of societal changes, from rising rents to marching white nationalists,” PBS said.
- The Man Who Tried to Feed the World (PBS, Tuesday, April 21, at 8) is about an American who “made it possible for the planet to support far more people than had been thought possible, saving countless lives in the process” but also “unleashed a series of unintended consequences that tarnished his reputation and forever changed the environmental and economic balance of the world,” according to PBS.
Reality TV premieres this week
The first of what I assume will be many reality shows show by cast members, not professional film crews, premieres tonight: 90 Day Fiancé: Self-Quαrαntined (TLC, April Mondays at 9) checks in with couples from current and previous seasons of the hit show.
Later this week we’ll get Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Takeout (Food Network, Fridays at 9), on which “Guy checks in with four past Triple D chefs from across the country via video-chat”; they’ll try to walk him through making one of their signature dishes.
Meanwhile, a show about people who are isolated by choice, Life Below Zero: Port Protection, ends its season (NatGeo, Tuesday at 9), the first with its new name.
The first celebrity season of Drag Race premieres after Drag Race on Friday (VH1, April 24, Fridays at 9:30), and will bump the premiere of Untucked to 11 p.m.—meaning there will be 3.5 hours of Drag Race every Friday. (Also I am still annoyed at the celebrity spin-off’s stupid name and marketing ploy.)
The night before, Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadle go to small towns to put on one-night-only drag shows. The show is called We’re Here (HBO, Thursdays at 9).
Americans will be able to watch a UK series on which six couples compete for a lodge in Alaska on Win the Wilderness (Netflix, Wednesday).
A new series looks at crimes from the perspective of the people who were accused, so it’s called Accused: Guilty or Innocent? (A&E, Tuesdays at 10), while another series, The Killer Truth (HLN, Sundays at 10) looks at murder cases “through the five people most intimately connected to the case,” HLN says.
Travel Channel is moving from ghosts to magic with Magic Caught on Camera (Travel Channel, Sundays at 10), which sounds like it’s about ghost magicians but is really just street magic.
Finally this week, here are five shows returning with new seasons:
- The Rob Lowe hosted game show Mental Samurai (Fox, April 22 at 9, then Thursdays at 9)
- Ghost Nation (Travel Channel, Wednesdays at 9)
- Growing Up Hip Hop (WE tv, Thursdays at 9)
- My Paranormal Nightmare (Travel Channel, Saturdays at 10)
- Deadly Cults (Oxygen, Sundays at 7)