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Baking, therapy, drag and the end of the world – the season's small-screen offerings are plugged into the moment
It sounds like we’ll be going out a lot more this fall than we did in 2020 – and thanks for that, science! – but we’re still going to be coming home and watching stuff, that’s just how human beings work. Here’s what we’re looking forward to this fall.
Fresh from its TIFF premiere, Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo’s eight-episode series about a gender-fluid millennial nanny – played by Baig as the first non-binary lead on Canadian television – debuts on CBC’s Gem service a full month ahead of its broadcast premiere on CBC proper. NOW’s Glenn Sumi called it “sharp, witty and literate;” in a few weeks, you’ll find out why. October 5, CBC Gem
No disrespect to The Great Canadian Baking Show – which returns for a fifth season October 17 with hosts Ann Pornel and Alan Shane Lewis, by the way – but that perfectly charming series does not team its bakers with structural engineers to create, say, “an edible skyscraper that must withstand a simulated quake.” This we have to see. October 6, Netflix
Kimora Amour (left) and Eve 6000 will rep the 416 on Canada’s Drag Race season 2.
Speaking of reality/competition shows, the Canadian Screen Award-winning celebration of focused fierceness and fabulosity roars back for another season this fall, putting 12 new queens through their paces. Judges Amanda Brugel, Brad Goreski, Brooke Lynn Hytes and Traci Melchor will be “joined every week by a celebrity guest judge,” which makes us question the very concept of celebrity. Like, Amanda Brugel is right there. October 14, Crave
Apple is treating Simon Kinberg and David Weil’s global take on an alien invasion – following characters around the world as they experience the end of everything they know – as the second coming of Lost, keeping everything as mysterious as possible. But we do know that the cast includes Golshifteh Farahani, Sam Neill and Scarborough’s own Shamier Anderson, so we’re on board. October 22, Apple TV+
Issa Rae’s HBO series comes to an end this season, reuniting the producer/star and Yvonne Orji for one last ride as Issa and Molly, Los Angeles-based best friends whose relationship threatened to unravel last season. No one’s talking about how it ends, for obvious reasons, but all of this year’s episode titles end with “okay?” so we hope that’s a good sign. October 24, HBO Canada and Crave
Another series that received a splashy launch at TIFF, Ava DuVernay’s hybrid documentary series tackles the future football activist’s high-school years, with Jaden Michael playing the young Colin. The real Kaepernick is here as co-creator, executive producer and narrator, so it’ll be interesting to see how authentic the show is to its subject’s lived experience. October 29, Netflix
Alena Smith’s modernist charmer, starring Hailee Steinfeld as aspiring poet Emily Dickinson – awkward, and deeply in love with her brother’s fiancée Sue (Ella Hunt) – returns for a third and final season of heartbreaks and epiphanies interrupted by unlikely intrusions of hip-hop. (Steinfeld’s also over on Disney+ this fall in Marvel’s Hawkeye series this fall, which is bound to cause some weird cultural whiplashery.) November 5, 2021, Apple TV+
Apple’s comedy – based on Joe Nocera’s popular podcast and directed by The Eyes Of Tammy Faye’s Michael Showalter – stars Paul Rudd as a psychiatrist who embeds himself into the life of a patient (Will Ferrell) in a reversal of what’s commonly known as What About Bob syndrome. The synthesis of these particular comic sensibilities should be interesting. November 12, Apple TV+
Alison Klayman’s documentary for HBO’s Music Box series became one of the year’s most hotly anticipated releases when subject Alanis Morissette spoke out against the finished film hours before last week’s TIFF premiere, calling it “salacious” and refusing to do any promotion for the project. So now, of course, everyone is dying to see it. November 19, Crave
Why is Peter Jackson’s documentary about the making of Let It Be – and the end of the Beatles – in the TV listings instead of the movie listings? Because somewhere along the way, his little movie metastasized into a six-hour opus, which is now being released in three parts over the American Thanksgiving weekend. Jackson was reportedly working with 55 hours of film footage and 140 hours of archival audio, so we should probably be glad he was able to get it this tight. November 25, Disney+