Jon Hein knows TV. In the late 1990s, he coined the phrase "Jump the Shark" when he founded the site of the same name. Since then, he's written about television everywhere from The New York Times to TV Guide. In his column for Primetimer, he shares his thoughts on what's new and good on TV and the shows on his radar for the coming week.
Who doesn't love a good documentary about a music superstar? This week sees two new profiles of two generational pop stars who climbed to the top of the mountain in their own unique ways.
Stardom at a young age. Millions of adoring fans. Dealing with their own personal demons.
One is 28 years old and from Albuquerque. The other is 81 years old and from Nutbush.
The four-part docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil premieres this Tuesday on YouTube. The pop sensation recalls her relapse and overdose in such a direct manner you feel like you're in rehab with her.
Over the years plenty of pop stars have put out documentaries giving fans unprecedented access into their private lives. But they never seem too vulnerable or out of control, which is to say you always know they had final cut. Demi Lovato takes things to a new level describing how she danced with the devil.
Lovato tackles her demons head on in a refreshingly honest way. Sexual assault, family issues, self-harm, and failing to stay sober are covered with unflinching clarity. Her first trip to rehab was as an 18 year old who had already amassed a lifetime of secrets. Mix in a Disney star background with her pop hits and you've got some must-see TV.
Lovato still has her entire career in front of her and she knows it's going to be a bumpy road. Tina Turner is looking back at a life that was anything but nice and easy.
Turner says, "look what I've done in a lifetime with this body." The HBO doc Tina premieres this Saturday at 8pm and chronicles her journey from the cotton fields to super stardom.
Tina Turner is one of the most exciting live performers to ever grace this planet. Mick Jagger stole her dance moves. She is a ball of energy whose spirit is infectious. And she had every reason in the world not to become that person.
The 1993 film What's Love Got To Do With It details Turners' rise from Nutbush and her struggles with her husband Ike. She dealt with a much different form of abuse than Lovato, and then had to go on stage and perform with the devil himself. Ike and Tina Turner are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their live performances which are best described as "intense".
Tina dealt with Ike and disappeared for a bit in the late 70's, but came back with a vengeance in the 80's. She always maintained that voice and those moves, and the world applauded her Private Dancer success. This is another profile of a female artist who had to battle so much to achieve her success. These props are long overdue.
This doc features Angela Bassett, who played Turner in her biopic, Oprah Winfrey, and countless others who tell her story and pay their respects. It's directed by Oscar and Emmy winners Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin. HBO hit it out of the park with the Bee Gees documentary, and this one is right up there with that.
The film coincides with Turner's solo Rock Hall nomination which would put her in the Cleveland shrine without Ike. She's simply the best.
(Shows Premiering That I'm Not A Fan Of But You Might Be!)
Seaspiracy (NETFLIX) - A documentary on the environmental impact of seafood. Drops Wednesday.
John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise (PEACOCK) - A docuseries on one of the more notable serial killers of our day. Drops Thursday
Cocktails & Tall Tales with Ina Garten & Melissa McCarthy (DISCOVERY +) - The Barefoot Contessa chats with the always hilarious actress. Drops Friday.
(For the sports aficionado or compulsive gambler)
NCAA Basketball Tournament (CBS, TNT, TBS, TRU TV) - Round two of the Madness ends on Monday night, then the Sweet 16 keeps you busy all weekend.
The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO) - Antoine Fuqua chronicles the moment COVID arrived in many star athletes' lives this documentary airing Wednesday night.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (DISNEY +) - We know the formula, but this time it's Lauren Graham standing up for the not so popular kids and she enlists Emilio Estevez back to the ice. Long live Coach Bombay! Premieres Friday.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
This week features parental stress, an animated superhero's son struggles, and a return to racist Boston...
Monday, March 22nd 10pm Season 2 premiere
Everyone wants kids, and then you have to raise them. And as your frustration boils over you wonder why no one ever created a show chronicling these wonderful challenging times.
Breeders was born out of Martin Freeman's parental hell. We love our kids, but there are many moments when they drive us insane. The first season of this FX dark comedy went to places you'd never thought you'd go as a parent.
Overwhelmed parental anxiety continues in the second season. You want to give your kids the freedom to make mistakes as you struggle to protect them at all costs. And let's not forget the grandparents who chime in with their two cents and lessons to be learned. If you've had kids, you've lived this show. If not, you can just laugh at all of us fools.
Friday, March 26th
Father son relationships are tough, but when dad is the world's most powerful super hero, it's all the more difficult to follow in his footsteps.
Robert Kirkman had some success with his first program involving zombies on AMC who are still walking around. This 8-episode animated show is based on another Kirkman comic, but this one is all about superheroes.
Walking Dead alum Steven Yuen voices lead character Mark Grayson, the teenage son of the world's most powerful super hero voiced by JK Simmons. The star-studded cast also features Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen, Mark Hamill and Mahershala Ali. It's a tale worth checking out. Watch trailer.
City On A Hill (SHOWTIME)
Sunday, March 28th 10pm Season 2 Premiere
Kevin Bacon returns to Boston for a second season. This time, it's Roxbury that's understandably distrustful of local law enforcement. Tensions run hot in the 90's, and sadly it reminds us how times really haven't changed all that much.
A coalition leader for a federal housing project gets undermined by some local gang activity. Kevin Bacon's FBI agent looks to exploit Boston's horrendous criminal justice system. An assistant district attorney catches on and it's war between the US and local attorneys.
Bacon gets things done in the most corrupt way possible and makes no apologies for his actions. He's an anti-hero in a blatantly racist world on a show that's all about fighting the system. It's awkward watching this one, and it should feel that way.
If you love or hate my picks, I'd love to hear from you.
Wear two masks. Get vaccinated. Stay healthy and safe.
Jon Hein is the creator of "Jump the Shark" and author of three books. Follow him @jonhein on Twitter.
TOPICS: Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, Breeders, City on a Hill, The Day Sports Stood Still, Invincible, John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, NCAA Tournament, Tina