This Week in TV: 'The Little Things,' 'Desus and Mero,' 'Firefly Lane'

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Inc.

From left: Denzel Washington and Jared Leto in 'The Little Things'

The next big release from Warner Bros. on HBO Max — the Denzel Washington-led crime thriller The Little Things — debuts Friday, simultaneously with its theatrical release. The coming week also features Netflix's adaptation of a best-selling novel, the first Saturday Night Live of 2021 and a new season of Desus and Mero.

Below is The Hollywood Reporter's rundown of premieres, returns and specials over the next seven days. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options for the coming week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.

The Big Show

Set in 1990, The Little Things (Friday, HBO Max) centers on two cops, played by Denzel Washington and Rami Malek, and their investigation of a suspect (Jared Leto) in a string of murders. Director and writer John Lee Hancock (The Highwaymen) keeps the focus on the toll the investigation takes on the two very different detectives, writes THR critic David Rooney, and the result is "a suspenseful crime thriller with a dark allure." It will be available on HBO Max for a month.

Also on streaming …

Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke star in Firefly Lane (Wednesday, Netflix), based on Kristin Hannah's best-selling novel about the decades-long friendship between two women. Dawson's Creek and Witches of East End veteran Maggie Friedman adapted the book.

Also this week: Israeli drama Possessions debuts Thursday on HBO Max. Tory Belleci (Mythbusters) and Richard Hammond (Top Gear) star in The Great Escapists (Friday, Amazon). Justin Timberlake stars in Palmer (Friday, Apple TV+), about an ex-con who begins mentoring a young boy. We Are: The Brooklyn Saints (Friday, Netflix) profiles a youth football team in New York City. Season two of Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready (Tuesday, Netflix) features a new roster of up-and-coming comedians.

On broadcast …

Returning: Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT) turns the Studio 8H lights back on for its first show of the new year (and the first of five straight episodes). Host John Krasinski and musical guest Machine Gun Kelly will both make their SNL debuts, while cast member Alex Moffat will presumably get another showcase as President Joe Biden.

Also returning: ABC's slate of primetime NBA games resumes Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT with a marquee matchup: the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Boston Celtics.

New: Based on a novel by Andrea Levy, Masterpiece miniseries The Long Song (10 p.m. Sunday, PBS) centers on a slave (Tamara Lawrance) and her loathsome mistress (Hayley Atwell) on a Caribbean sugar plantation — both of whose lives are changed by the arrival of a new overseer.

On cable …

Returning: Though still filming from their respective homes, Desus and Mero will be back together for a third season of their joyous Showtime late night series starting at 11 p.m. Sunday. Stacey Abrams will be their guest Sunday, and on Friday, they join THR's TV's Top 5 podcast to discuss the coming season.

New: HBO's docuseries The Lady and the Dale takes a dive into the life of transgender pioneer — and con artist — Elizabeth Carmichael with a focus on her claim to have created a fuel-efficient, three-wheeled car in the 1970s. The four-part series, which THR critic Inkoo Kang says is a "rollicking and twist-filled bio-doc," premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday on HBO.

Also new: Wendy Williams: The Movie (8 p.m. Saturday, Lifetime) chronicles the talk show host's life. Scandinavian series The Investigation (10 p.m. Monday, HBO) dramatizes how the detectives, prosecutors and victim's family built a case against the killer of journalist Kim Wall.

In case you missed it …

Derek DelGaudio's In & Of Itself is part magic show, part exploration of human connection, part — well, it's lots of things, which make it difficult to describe in a short blurb like this one. As THR critic John DeFore puts it, "it's a magic show in the way a Hannah Gadsby monologue is stand-up comedy: a work capable of winning over those who normally don't pay much attention to the genre, and certain to leave some in the audience much more moved than they're prepared for." It's streaming on Hulu.