Television

Shōgun premieres February 27, 2024 on FX/Hulu (Hiroyuki Sanada / Photo FX)

Shogun

  • By Nina Sventitsky

Shogun, a spectacular 10-part series, premieres on Hulu February 27. Based on the 1975 James Clavell novel, it’s the story of two men fighting for their political and physical lives against the backdrop of the Japanese feudal system that prevailed for 700 years. Look for spectacular scenery, messy battles, samurai sword fighting, sexual intrigue, jealous lovers, and a clash of cultures. The Shogun were military leaders who ran Japan and often had more power than the emperor. The year is 1600; our Shogun, Lord Toranaga, tries to hold on to his power amid never-ending challenges from other warlords. If you remember world history from middle school, this was also the time of global exploration, when countries (and armies) sailed around the world to conquer, colonize, and claim treasures. One such explorer is Englishman John Blackthorne, shipwrecked and thrown onto Japanese shores. Toranaga and Blackthorne collide iwith each other’s paths — are they enemies or can each help the other succeed and survive? The men are assisted by translator Lady Mariko, who befriends and falls for Blackthorne. The series promises to be a love story, history lesson, video game come to life, and the action saga we crave. The cast is mainly Japanese and includes ex-martial artist and award-winning actor Hiroyuki Sanada, Cosmo Jarvis, Anna Sawai, and Nestor Carbonell (The Morning Show). Adult themes and some violence. 

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Abbott Elementary returns February 7, 2024 on ABC (Season 3 cast / Photo ABC)

Abbott Elementary

  • By Ken Werther

Okay, everyone! School is back in session! It’s been eight long months since Quinta Brunson’s Emmy Award-winning Abbott Elementary aired its Season Two finale. With the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes in the past, Season Three arrives on Wednesday, February 7 at 9pm with a special one-hour episode. The Philadelphia-set mockumentary’s sophomore season gave us everything from a Gritty cameo to wonderful holiday episodes to a magical first kiss. So … what will the new season have in store for Janine (Brunson), Gregory (Tyler James Williams), Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph), Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter), Jacob (Chris Perfetti), Ava (Janelle James), and Mr. Johnson (William Stanford Davis)? Will Janine and Gregory regret their decision to remain just friends? Who will guest star?

It begins with Ava suddenly running a tight ship, and the teachers are not loving it. She reveals that she spent her summer at Harvard, where she “learned what it truly takes to do the job of a principal.” With Ava trading out her unorthodox antics for a stricter leadership style, Jacob declares, “She must be stopped!” Melissa and Barbara enlist who they believe will be the principal’s Achilles heel … her crush, Gregory. “We cannot stand any more of the ‘new’ Ava and you are a very powerful tool,” Barbara tells him. He flexes his muscles in Ava’s doorway and seductively says, “All these rules are so … hard.” How do we think that will go? See you at Abbott!

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Tracker premieres February 11, 2024 on CBS (Justin Hartley / Photo CBS)

TRACKER

  • By KENNE HOFFMAN

Jeffery Deaver’s best-selling Colter Shaw Series “The Never Game” serves as the inspiration for CBS’s upcoming original series Tracker. Deaver is an international best-selling author whose novels have been sold in 150 countries and in twenty-five languages. Tracker is the first installment based upon the books in the series.

The son of a survivalist family, Colter Shaw (Justin Hartley, This is Us, Smallville) is an expert tracker. He makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and locate missing persons for private citizens, but do not call Colter Shaw a private eye, or a freelance investigator, or even a soldier of fortune, though his job includes elements of all three. The son of a survivalist who died under suspicious circumstances, Shaw has returned to the Bay Area in the hope of claiming the $10,000 being offered for the return of college student Sophie. Shaw, who has the cool-headed but irritating habit of calculating the numerical odds on every possibility, thinks there is a 60 percent chance that Sophie’s dead. Even though he accepts rewards for rescues, not recoveries, he begins sorting through evidence, and sets out to solve the mystery.

Tracker will premiere on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, following the Super Bowl. The post-Super Bowl slot is a supreme vote of confidence by CBS for Hartley and Tracker.

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Expats now on Prime (Nicole Kidman / Photo Prime)

EXPATS

  • By RICH ANDREW

Creator Lila Wang (The Farewell) has delivered a gut-wrenching drama based on the bestseller by Janice Y.K. Lee. The series stars the incomparableNicole Kidman (Faraway Downs) as Margaret Woo, an expatriate living in Hong Kong and mother of two. Margaret appears detached from her life as she plans her husband’s birthday party. What should be a happy occasion turns sour when Margaret panics upon spotting Mercy, one of the waiters, who flees before Margaret can accost her. It turns out they had met a year ago, and Margaret became impressed with how good Mercy was with her three kids, especially her youngest Gus. Feeling displaced by their current nanny whom Gus clings to, Margaret decides to make a change, so she invites Mercy to dinner with her kids to test her out. She leaves Mercy alone with Gus amid the busy marketplace, but when she returns, Gus is nowhere to be found — Mercy having let go of his hand for a split second to send a text. And thus begins their harrowing journey into regret and shame. With outstanding performances by fellow cast mates Brian Tee (Chicago Med), Ji-young Yoo (Freaky Tales), Sarayu Blue (Velma), Jack Huston (Mayfair Witches), Ruby Ruiz (Deceit), Tiana Gowen (True Love Blooms), and Bodhi del Rosario (Interrupting Chicken), Expats packs an emotional punch.

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