What To Watch: 01/05/2021

Zoey returns, choreography Emmy in hand… well Mandy Moore’s hand (hey, she’s in here twice) to get the read on people through the popular songs running through their brain (oh would she have a trip with ours). Meanwhile, one of America’s loudest thespians sits still for a few moments to teach us some French language history {as in the “pardon”able kind of French} and a bunch of amateur filmmakers answer PBS’ bell to sing the praises (and question the flaws) of this land we… something something something.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist [NBC, 8p]
Emmy-in-its-first-season (and the only tolerable-musical-on-TV) Zoey is back tonight, and if we’re to follow the NBC previews, our heroin is torn between two guys (it really out to by Skyler Astin).

BRAD’S PICK:
History of Swear Words [Netflix]
National treasure {Question Mark?} Nicolas Cage is your guide to the sussing out the history of swear words. This new Netflix series (from the Funny or Die folk, and very similar in style to its other creation Drunk History) can already be chalked up as a good thing about 2021.

JASON’S PICK:
American Portrait [PBS, 9p]
This docu-series is a pastiche of stories attempting to tell the Great American Story, which has certainly been done before. The twist here is that the whole affair is crowdsourced. PBS asked amateur and professional filmmakers for their input, given prompts like “The American Dream Means To Me…”

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • Gordon Ramsay’s American Road Trip takes the Brit who aggressively shouts at grown men and gently cajoles children, in both cases in the name of high cuisine, and sets him out on the U.S. highways and just look above to see how it’s soothed the savage in the beast. It’s on Fox.
  • For a more bitter take on the battle of the sweets (and savories), we’ve got the lastest season of Chopped: Grudge Match on Food Network.
  • On the other end of the spectrum we have Netflix’s international series that celebrates the passion in the bakers who are–to put it kindly–less seasoned in the skills department. What Nailed It! Mexico lacks in terms of Nicole Byer and Jacques Torres, it makes up for in terms of Omar Chaparro and Anna Ruiz (who are also a lot of fun, if no one can ever match the flirty ridiculous chemistry of comedian Byer and chocolatier Torres).
  • We’re five seasons into the second southernmost setting of the ten different series featuring wine-throwing women scheming and plotting and throwing wild soirees. The Real Housewives of Dallas returns tonight on Bravo.
  • For dreams and drama of the scripted variety, NBC’s tentpole This Is Us returns after a mid-fifth-season hiatus with the triplets playing their own post-Christmas ghosts: Katie dwelling on her past, Randall’s stuck in his viral (internet viral) present, and Kevin fretting about his future.
  • There’s no new Lifetime or Hallmark movie, so we’ll end this feature over on the History Channel, where as often is the case with one-time genre station, the topic is a bit far from the original intent, but it’s at least chronicling a kind of history. The Proof Is Out There deals with exactly what the title would make you suspect.

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