What To Watch: 01/20/2022

Part of the era of streaming is the shocking A-list casting they pull off. Octavia Spencer starts her third season as Poppy the Podcaster today. Today also grants us two new, actually promising, reality programs, a dazzling anime, the return of both a controversial liberal (or is he?) talk show host and the most famous pair of Libertarian magicians, and a ton of Netflix imports.

Truth Be Told [Apple TV+]
The third season of Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer’s adventures as Poppy Parnell (what a name!), an investigative journalist with a popular podcast, finds her tackling a topic we don’t look into enough: how non-white missing girls are ignored in the media. The show has boasted terrific season-long guest stars in Aaron Paul, Kate Hudson, and Lizzy Caplan, and this season is no exception as Gabrielle Union joins the series for season 3.

Bling Empire: New York [Netflix]
Netflix expands its, um, empire, of Asian American socialites to New York City. I’m fine with seeing the ultrawealthy in my neck of the woods, for once.

The Legend of Vox Machina [Amazon Prime]
Critical role is so popular that one of their D&D campaigns has been turned into an animated series for Amazon, and it returns tonight. The second season won’t reinvent the sword, but it will be pretty funny. Dungeons and Dragons has proven to be very adaptable to the times and is more popular than it ever was. Legend is one of the reasons why.


  • Assemble your squad! Bake Squad is unlike other baking competitions in that all four contestants from season one have remained… oh, and also it’s not really that much of a competition. And that’s… fine! The Netflix show returns for a second season today.
  • Bill Maher is complicated. The king of hot takes speaks his mind, often offending “both” sides. While many argue that’s telling the truth, we’d contend he’s more of just a jerk who likes to stir things up. Real Time with Bill Maher is back on HBO tonight.
  • If you’re in the mood for some mind freaking, good news because Criss Angel’s Magic with the Stars is back on The CW. The stars aren’t usually huge, but there are some interesting choices like comedian Michael Ian Black, rapper and clock enthusiast Flavor Flav, and football tight end Vernon Davis.
  • The Real Friends of WeHo takes the Real Housewives template but switches the wine-throwing women to fashionable gay men. Our only real problem is that the main characters are celebrities like Brad Gorecki and Todrick Hall, who are awesome; however, there’s a part of us that wishes that it focused on their husbands and boyfriends. In any case, things start getting real (well, sort of) tonight on MTV.
  • There’s no shortage of new Netflix titles from overseas. Fauda, a stark Israeli thriller, enters its fourth season of action. The Indian flick Mission Majnu will probably ruffle some feathers as it’s an Indian movie about an agent trying to uncover secret nuclear stockpiles in Pakistan (please, whatever power, don’t let a Netflix film bring on the apocalypse). French comedy Represent ponders whether a Black youth leader could become its Prez. A woman meets her grandfather who tells her she’s a part of a mystic legend in the Turkish series Shahmaran. Finally, in the Nigerian mini-series Shanty Town, a group of women forced into the sex trade try to escape the deadly local kingpin.
  • Since there’s no Lifetime, Hallmark, or Lifetime/Hallmark-style movies debuting tonight, we’ll end on the start of the latest batch of the “trick the masters” that is The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us. We’re still pretty certain that no one has bested the duo since Run-DMC did in 1986.

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