Stay Tuned column: Romance, murder and intrigue in lavish period drama ‘The Luminaries’

Melissa Crawley
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Eva Green plays a scheming fortune teller in "The Luminaries."

This week it’s an animated family comedy in Alaska, a psychological study in North Korea and lush escapism in 19th century New Zealand.

Dispatches: Weekly TV news

Chiwetel Ejiofor will star in “The Man Who Fell To Earth” on Paramount+. Based on a 1963 novel by Walter Tevis, the series will feature Ejiofor as an alien who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution.

Renee Zellweger will make her broadcast TV series debut in six-episode show “The Thing About Pam,” which is based on one of “Dateline’s” (NBC) most popular true-crime stories.

Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar

Six-part documentary series “Hip Hop Uncovered” (Feb. 12, FX, 10 p.m. ET), explores the criminalization of and fascination with one of music’s most dominant genres. It tells the story of how American street culture helped to shape hip hop culture and looks at the power brokers operating behind the scenes.

Feb. 12 film premieres include, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” (Feb. 12, Netflix), “Into the Dark: Tentacles” (Hulu), “Judas and the Black Messiah” (HBO Max), and “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” (Amazon Prime).

From the writers of “Bob’s Burgers” comes a new animated comedy, “The Great North” (Feb. 14, Fox, 8:30 p.m. ET). The series follows the adventures of the Alaskan-based Tobin family and features the voices of Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate and Will Forte.

In “The Luminaries” (Feb. 14, Starz), it’s 1865 and Anna Wetherell (Eve Hewson) meets the dashing Emery Staines (Himesh Patel) on the final day of her voyage to New Zealand, where she has decided to start a new life. Their romantic encounter leads to a planned rendezvous but Lydia (Eva Green), a scheming fortune teller, has other ideas and Anna is soon embroiled in a complicated plot that sees her framed for murder. Adapted from Eleanor Catton’s 2013 Booker prize-winning novel.

“North Korea: Inside the Mind of a Dictator” (Feb. 15, Nat Geo, 8 p.m. ET) takes viewers into the life of the elusive Kim Jong Un. It’s followed by “The New Air Force One: Flying Fortress,” a behind-the-scenes look at those who are responsible for maintaining and flying the most important airplane in the world. The special includes archival footage and interviews with past presidents.

Larry Kudlow’s new program on Fox Business Network debuts (Feb. 16, 4 p.m. ET, repeated at 7 p.m. ET). There is no title for the show as of this writing but the program, per Fox Business, will “feature closing market analysis as well as interviews with major industry leaders.”

True-crime drama “Honour” (Feb. 16, BritBox), focuses on Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode’s (Keeley Hawes) real-life quest to find justice for Banaz Mahmod, a young London woman who is murdered by her own family for falling in love with the wrong man.

One-hour documentary special “The March on Washington: Keepers of the Dream” (Feb. 18, National Geographic, 10 p.m. ET), traces the history of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1963 March on Washington to the summer 2020.

Report Card: Ratings winners and losers

Winners: MTV renewed “Deliciousness” with Tiffani Thiessen for season two.

Losers: The current and fourth season of “Wynonna Earp” (Syfy) will be its last.

Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at staytuned@outlook.com or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.

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