Look, let's get real: a lot of media, even if it's woman-friendly, is not feminist, let alone inclusively feminist. Most media-loving ladies have had to come to terms with the give and take of enjoying a program that does some things right, but messes up on others. Even TV shows that are lauded for their feminist message will often barely include any people of color or LGBTQIA+ characters or will directly talk over the concerns of their audience when it comes to racism. It's rare for any one show to give you everything you need or even do more than the bare minimum, but some shows definitely make an effort. They may not all be actively teaching a lesson, but they are giving a voice to those who need to be heard.
Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.
Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s TV schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch it. This week, Dave Chappelle comes roaring back to the small screen with two never-before-seen comedy specials, while Fox will debut its police shooting limited series “Shots Fired.”
“Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, Monday, 8 p.m.
The ever-popular dance competition series returns for its 24th season with an all-new cast of celebrity contestants vying for the mirror ball trophy. This season’s hopefuls include record-breaking Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles, former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, “SNL” alum Chris Kattan, and original “A-Team” member Mr. T. We pity the fool who misses the first episode.
Dave Chappelle Comedy Specials, Netflix, Tuesday (CRITICS’ PICK)
These two hourlong offerings, which were filmed in 2015 and 2016, and are Chappelle’s first standup specials in more than a decade, wittily and incisively traverse various topics, but often find him returning the themes of race, bias, gender, and power. The 2016 special, which was recorded in L.A., is the more generally taut and robust of the two: “The Age of Spin” was recorded during the run of “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” on FX, and Chappelle talks about eagerly watching the series, which boldly took on many of the themes he explores in his work. His timing remains impeccable and despite the occasional clunky construction, his inspired tangents are generally a treat. And if you want to know Chappelle’s thoughts on Bill Cosby, that’s the one to watch, though both are worth a look. (Read the full review here)
“Shots Fired,” Fox, Wednesday, 8 p.m.
Fox is diving deep into some hot-button issues with this 10-part limited series, which explores the aftermath of a police shooting involving a black officer and a white college student in a small Southern town. But the ensuring investigation reveals there is more to the story than meets the eye. “All the characters are flawed,” Stephen Moyer, who plays a police lieutenant in the series, said at a recent panel discussion. “It’s about human beings making mistakes, about the fact that we all lie and the reasons we lie. They’re doing it for family or what the characters feel are the right reasons.”
“Empire,” Fox, Wednesday, 9 p.m.
Season 3 of Fox’s hit music industry drama resumes this week, with Lucious and Cookie going to war once again over the fate of the empire they both created. Taraji P. Henson told Variety in a Q&A that Lucious will continue to get in the way of Cookie’s love life, teasing, “Lucious is Cookie’s curse!” Rumer Willis will guest star in this episode as musician Tory Ash, who befriends Jamal during his stay in rehab. Interestingly, Willis’ mother, Demi Moore, is set to join the show at the end of this season in a recurring role.
“American Jihad,” Showtime, Saturday, 9 p.m.
This documentary probes the rise of home-grown jihadism, and features stories from former jihadists radicalized to commit violent acts of terrorism. Directed by Alison Ellwood, Oscar winner Alex Gibney serves as an executive producer. Gibney is known for his documentaries “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief ,” “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” and “Taxi to the Dark Side.”
2 TV shows to leave Vancouver for Los Angeles
Two hour-long television programs, which are filmed in Vancouver, are relocating to Los Angeles, lured there after qualifying for an expanded California tax credit.
Legion and Lucifer are among 11 series persuaded to relocate to California as part of an expanded tax credit program aimed at TV and film productions currently filming outside the state.
The decision means a loss of about 400 B.C. jobs, said Phil Klapwyk, business representative for Local 891 of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
While the loss of the two TV programs is disappointing, Klapwyk said he's confident those workers won't be out of work for long.
"Producers are looking for wherever they can get the best deal and the best crew and the best locations for their productions," he said.
B.C.'s generous tax credits combined with a low Canadian dollar have made the province a choice spot for Hollywood productions. In 2005-16, tax credits rose to $491 million.
A win for California
But some critics have claimed B.C. tax incentives are too generous, subsidizing Hollywood production companies. Jordan Bateman of the B.C. Taxpayers' Federation has predicted the industry here would collapse if foreign productions find cheaper locales to shoot their films and TV series.
Meanwhile, California's film commission said the TV relocations are wins for the state.
The commission's executive director, Amy Lemisch, said the Hollywood film industry was dismayed that other jurisdictions — such as B.C. — were luring productions from California. The state introduced a tax credit of its own in 2009 to reverse that trend, Lemisch said.
In 2015, it expanded the tax credit to US $330 million per year, she said.
"California had been suffering a loss of productions to other states and countries for many, many years," Lemisch said.
With 11 TV series relocating to California, Lemisch declared that the state tax credit is "definitely working."
"We're definitely seeing an increase in production in all types now — television and feature film production."