This Week in TV: ‘The Afterparty,’ ‘We Need to Talk About Cosby’

The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter

A star-studded murder mystery (Apple TV+’s The Afterparty ), a deep examination of a fallen star’s legacy (Showtime’s We Need to Talk About Cosby ), a documentary about Janet Jackson and the NFL’s penultimate weekend of the season will fill your screens from Jan. 26-Feb. 1.

Below is The Hollywood Reporter ‘s rundown of premieres, returns and specials over the next seven days. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options for the coming week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.

The Big Show

At a party following a 15-year high school reunion, a pop star (Dave Franco) has fallen to his death from the deck of his beachside house. Everyone’s a suspect, and everyone has a different recollection of how things played out. That’s the setup to The Afterparty (Friday, Apple TV+), a comedic murder mystery whose stacked cast also includes Tiffany Haddish (as the lead detective), Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ilana Glazer, Ike Barinholtz and Ben Schwartz.

Each episode is told from a different perspective and in a different style, whether it’s a musical, and action thriller or a rom-com. Creator and director Christopher Miller deftly works with the conventions of each genre, notes THR critic Angie Han, without getting bogged down in the formal exercise. The result is like a “class valedictorian at an all-night rager. It’s smart, with thoughtful ideas to offer those who feel like engaging with them — but it’s concerned first and foremost with having a good time .”

Also on streaming …

Lisa Ling explores Asian American culture through food in Take Out (Thursday, HBO Max). A new season of Italian thriller Gomorrah also debuts Thursday on HBO Max. Kristen Bell stars in thriller parody (deep breath) The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window (Friday, Netflix). In From the Cold (Friday, Netflix) follows a former spy (Margarita Levieva) pulled back into espionage. In re: The Legend of Vox Machina (Friday, Prime Video), if you know, you know. The Roku Channel’s first original animated series, Doomlands , premieres Friday. Season two of Raising Dion debuts Tuesday on Netflix.

On cable …

New: We Need to Talk About Cosby (10 p.m. Sunday, Showtime) signals its approach in its title. The four-part series from comedian and documentarian W. Kamau Bell (CNN’s United Shades of America ) unpacks Bill Cosby’s career and the accusations by more than 60 women of sexual assault in tandem, with academics, former collaborators and several of his accusers discussing Cosby’s rise and fall. “Bell isn’t mealy-mouthed in his harshness or in admitting to his unease when he feels inclined to offer praise or even respect,” writes THR critic Daniel Fienberg. “It’s provocative and important stuff.”

Also: Season two of Resident Alien (9 p.m. Wednesday, Syfy) leads into Astrid & Lilly Save the World (10 p.m.), in which two high schoolers accidentally open an extradimensional portal. The second half of Grown-ish’ s fourth season debuts at 10 p.m. Thursday on Freeform. Two-part documentary Janet Jackson (8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Lifetime and A&E) aims to tell the definitive story of the singer’s career (with her participation). A new season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey tees off at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Bravo.

On broadcast …

NFL: The guaranteed most watched programs on TV this week? The NFL’s two conference championship games, both on Sunday. CBS has the AFC title contest between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT, and Fox will air the NFC championship between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.

Also: The CW imports culinary competition The Great Chocolate Showdown (8 p.m. Saturday) from Canada. NBC’s Celebrating Betty White: America’s Golden Girl (10 p.m. Monday) looks back at the comedy icon’s life and career. A group of celebs try to replicate Johnny and Baby’s moves in The Real Dirty Dancing (9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox).

In case you missed it …

As We See It follows three young adults on the autism spectrum (and are played by actors — Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien and Albert Rutecki — who are on the spectrum) through their day-to-day lives, with the small wins and losses that come with them. The half-hour dramedy from Friday Night Lights and Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims isn’t shy about pushing emotional buttons, but it also “ finds a good balance between when it wants you to laugh and when it hopes you’re going to cry a little,” THR critic Daniel Fienberg writes. “It doesn’t want to be revelatory, just sincere, and in that, I think it succeeds.” All eight episodes are streaming on Prime Video.

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