Stay Tuned column: ‘The Mandalorian’ returns for a highly anticipated season 2
Zombies get a backstory, Hugh Laurie stars in a BBC miniseries and CBS debuts a new comedy. But the week and probably the year, belong to Baby Yoda.
Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Thomas Haden Church (“Wings,” “Ned & Stacey”) will star in and executive produce multi-cam comedy “The Texanist,” currently in development at Fox. Church will play Dave, an Austin-area radio show host who has to rethink his call ’em like he sees ’em style of advice.
Shaquille O’Neal is set to star in an animated kids series called “Shaq’s Garage.” The show will depict the secret adventures of O’Neal’s collection of animated cars and trucks, with O’Neal voicing the lead vehicle, Big Diesel. The series will debut in early 2022 on the new free digital Kartoon Channel.
Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
“The Mandalorian” returns for season two (Oct. 30, Disney+). The journey continues for the bounty hunter and the Child, or “Baby Yoda,” as the breakout character has been christened by fans. This installment sees the pair facing more enemies and gathering allies as they travel through a dangerous galaxy post Galactic Empire.
Showtime premieres a timely documentary which explores the controversial idea behind biohacking - people with little to no formal medical or science backgrounds take a DIY approach to genetic experiments, using themselves as lab mice to test their own drug therapies and treatments (Oct. 30, 9 p.m. ET). “Citizen Bio” examines the biohacking movement and these nontraditional scientists and researchers who are developing alternative medicines to extend human life and eliminate incurable diseases.
Celebrate Halloween with a little history. “Exhumed: A History of Zombies” (Oct. 30, PBS, 10 p.m. ET) takes viewers into the lore of zombies, examining the legends and tales that form America’s fascination with the walking dead. The monsters we create reflect our anxieties and zombie stories represent a range of fears, from overpopulation and nuclear weapons to political uprisings and pandemics.
Also on PBS, as part of “Masterpiece,” is four-part BBC miniseries, “Roadkill,” starring Hugh Laurie (Nov. 1, 9 p.m. ET). Laurie plays an ambitious conservative member of parliament who doesn’t let personal scandal stand in his way.
Bounce, the first and only multi-platform entertainment network for African Americans will debut docudrama, “Dying To Be Famous: The Ryan Singleton Mystery” (Nov. 1, 9 p.m. ET). The six-episode true crime series explores the mysterious death of Singleton, a young, aspiring model and film producer whose dreams of Hollywood stardom are tragically cut short when he is found dead in the Mojave Desert with all his organs missing.
New comedy “B Positive” premieres (Nov. 5, CBS, 8:30 p.m. ET). Inspired by creator/executive producer Marco Pennette’s story as a kidney transplant recipient, the show follows Drew, a recently divorced father who needs a kidney and finds an unexpected donor.
Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: OWN renewed Ava DuVernay’s “Cherish the Day” anthology series for season two.
Losers: The final Trump-Biden debate drew a much smaller audience than the first, dropping 10 million viewers.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.