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One of Netflix’s biggest series returns this week when Bridgerton debuts its second season. The long-awaited return of Atlanta, the heavily hyped video game adaptation of Halo — and, oh yeah, the Oscars — are also debuting between March 23 and 29. The volume of premieres isn’t especially high, but the number of high-profile shows (also including the adaptation of Pachinko on Apple TV+) is.
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
Bridgerton was an out-of-the-gate hit for Netflix in its first season, which landed at the end of 2020. Both the company’s own metrics and external ratings showed it was one of the streamer’s most watched series to date, with its mix of steamy love scenes, upper-class intrigue and a touch of mystery fueling big ratings for the Shondaland show.
Season two arrives Friday and will focus on Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and his search for a suitable love match. The show is following the template of its source material, Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels, but that means season one breakout Regé-Jean Page is no longer part of the show. The series “feels a bit older and wiser” in season two, writes THR critic Angie Han, and a bit less horny. “Its leads are more level-headed this time … and their concerns slightly more relatable, leading to a romance that runs deeper and steadier. But it’s hard not to miss, from time to time, the transcendent giddiness of that first season.”
Also on streaming …
The long-in-the-works adaptation of Halo (Thursday, Paramount+) stars Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief. Ava DuVernay takes viewers inside several iconic movies in the docuseries One Perfect Shot (Thursday, HBO Max). HBO Max also has season two of British rom-com Starstruck on Thursday. Apple TV+’s Pachinko, based on Min Jin Lee’s generations-spanning novel, is “emotionally epic and tells a gripping yarn,” writes THR critic Daniel Fienberg. Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls (Friday, Amazon) searches for backup dancers to join the singer on tour. Elle Fanning stars in true-crime adaptation The Girl From Plainville (Tuesday, Hulu).
On broadcast …
Oscars: After a scaled-down, subdued (and historically low rated) show last year, the Academy Awards will look more like what viewers are used to seeing — although honors in some categories will be pre-taped and edited into the live broadcast. Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall will share hosting duties for the 94th annual awards (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT Sunday, ABC), and The Power of the Dog and Dune have the most nominations.
Also: The NCAA men’s basketball tournament continues with the Sweet 16 round (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT Thursday and Friday, CBS and TBS), with Elite Eight games on Saturday and Sunday. Season two of musical game show Name That Tune premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday on Fox.
On cable …
Returning: The last episode of Atlanta debuted three years and 10 months ago. A combination of the pandemic, creator-star Donald Glover’s busy schedule and FX’s “deliver it when it’s ready” philosophy caused the extra-long delay, which ends when season three premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday. The season is set in Europe where Earn (Glover), Alfred/Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), Van (Zazie Beetz) and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) in Europe for a Paper Boi tour. The two episodes previewed for critics are “are an insufficient sample size upon which to adequately review a season of Atlanta,” writes THR’s Daniel Fienberg, “but they’re more than sufficient to make one giddy at having Atlanta back.”
Also: The women’s NCAA tournament also has its Sweet 16 games (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT Friday and Saturday, ESPN and ESPN2), with the Elite Eight following on Sunday and Monday.
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