What To Watch: 02/16/2021

Two titans from very different worlds hit the small screen today–one from the world of sketch comedy, the other from the movie A-list via the WWE. After spending most of his 42 years doing skits starting on Nickelodeon’s All That, SNL dean Kenan Thompson has a TV family of his own. Meanwhile Duane “The Rock” Johnson goes the Everybody Hates Chris route, narrating a show that’s plucked from his funniest childhood moments. We also have shows for those who want to hear more about Black churches or desire to choose their own animal adventures, and the -ishaverse ain’t gonna -ish itself.

NAVANI’S PICK:
Kenan [NBC, 8:30p]
Newly widowed Kenan is trying to figure out work-life balance as a single dad but luckily his brother and father-in-law come to the rescue. Or maybe cause more mayhem? Guess time will tell. I’m getting modern-day Three Men and a Baby vibes from this one and I’m here for it.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song [PBS, 9p]
This two-part, four-hour series from Dr. Henry Louis Gates “traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America,” and features interviews with Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Reverend Al Sharpton, Cornel West, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of The Episcopal Church, Pastor Shirley Caesar, and many more.

JASON’S PICK:
Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Interactive Mode [Netflix]
Netflix finds a new use for the interactive/Choose Your Own Adventure-style software that made Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend such a thrill (well, your mileage may vary, but I enjoyed both of them. This interactive experience is a safari ride of sorts that also teaches the viewer about conservation. The trailer is quite the adrenaline rush–I felt like I was my 10-year-old self playing Pitfall.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • Dwayne Johnson’s life comes to the small screen on NBC with Young Rock, following his strong and resilient pro-wrestling family, which shaped Johnson’s career in college football, pro-wrestling, and Hollywood. Produced by Johnson and Nahnatchka Khan, the series stars Johnson, Joseph Lee Anderson, Stacey Leilua, Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu, Ana Tuisila, Fasitua Amosa, and John Tu. We might just smell what they are cooking… maybe!
  • In NBC’s primary returning show of the night, everyone’s favorite tearjerker The Pearsons are separated as they celebrate huge moments, so yeah, don’t tune into this week’s This Is Us if you don’t have a box of Kleenex close at hand, but that’s probably good advice for any week of this well-written show.
  • The evolution of attitudes towards weed takes center stage on tonight’s black-ish as Dre wants to be cool when he pops in on his son smoking. Meanwhile, on its prequel, the teenaged version of his wife Bow is getting into church with her friends, and her parents are not happy. It’s all in a day’s work for mixed-ish.
  • 2020 weighs heavy in the Bordelon family’s universe as we start season 5 with the Louisiana family at the center of Queen Sugar dealing with the pandemic and rampant police brutality while also all the usual drama that has borne rifts within their sugarcane empire. It’s on OWN.
  • Speaking of empires, the Tyler Perry universe adds two new chapters with the new movie Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Farewell Play dropping on BET tonight, followed by the return of the soapy white house saga Tyler Perry’s The Oval for a second season. That’s all from Tyler Perry’s WtW write-up.
  • Is the pandemic the right time to bring back one of reality television’s most evil premises. Either way, Temptation Island will be coming back for what would seem to be a third season of the current iteration on USA.
  • On the more helpful side of pandemic programming, we have the MTV special Each and Every Day which brings nine teens together on Zoom to talk about maintaining mental health.

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