‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Swedens the pot with a second season on Netflix, debuting Thursday

‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Swedens the pot with a second season on Netflix, debuting Thursday
photo courtesy of Netflix

Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 11:

Chasing Waves — What it once did for Jamaican bobsledding, Disney now tries to do for a Japanese surfing, with a docuseries that profiles some of that nation's top practitioners of the sport. The hardest part was telling Doug E. Doug that board shorts don't work with a kimono. (Disney+)

Gina Yei — The dreams of the young are the theme of an original series about a Puerto Rican girl who wins a songwriting scholarship to the prestigious Caribbean Music Institute. The lyrical challenge she sets for herself: no coming around at 12, no dying to meet you. (Disney+)

Noise — A mother searching for her lost daughter takes up the struggles of Mexican women who are fighting a culture of brutal repression. Or as Jordan Peterson calls them, "big fibbers." (Netflix)

Sexify — In Season 1, our Polish heroines created an app to unlock the mysteries of female sexuality. In Season 2, they're struggling to satisfy their investors. Fellas, I hope I'm not giving anything away when I say THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR. (Netflix)

click to enlarge ‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Swedens the pot with a second season on Netflix, debuting Thursday
photo courtesy of Netflix

Premieres Thursday, Jan. 12:

The Climb — Jason Momoa co-presents a competition series that follows amateur rock climbers up some of the world's steepest ascents. His motivational pep talk: "You wanna talk about uphill climbs? Try keeping a job at Warner Bros. after James Gunn comes in." (HBO Max)

How I Caught My Killer — A nine-episode docuseries looks into homicide cases that were solved because the victim left behind some sort of incriminating evidence. See, ladies? When you tell the police "My husband is going to kill me," they really will listen eventually. (Hulu)

Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight — In Season 2, Po and the gang leave China for the first time, exploring exotic locales like India and Central America. What's weird is that the Chinese food is suddenly much better. (Netflix)

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House — Director Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters) adapts the manga adventures of two girls who move into a home for apprentice geishas, only for one of them to learn that she prefers cooking instead. Gee, the last time I went to Kobé, all they brought me was a hot towel. (Netflix)

The Makery — Twenty-five 15-minute episodes teach preschoolers to express themselves creatively, in areas ranging from visual art to baking. Then when they hit elementary school, we'll teach them to go on YouTube and savage what everybody else has done. (Peacock)

The Traitors — Alan Cumming hosts a show in which past cast members from programs like Big Brother and The Real Housewives compete with normies to win a quarter of a million dollars — if the quislings in their midst don't steal the money instead. Gosh, where would a Real Housewife go for lessons in grand larceny? (Peacock)

Velma — Mindy Kaling voices the title character in her already-controversial Scooby-Doo prequel series, which shows what Scoob's future pals were up to before they became Mystery Incorporated. Apparently, they had a lot of adolescent crushes on one another, because Kaling is all about challenging herself artistically. (HBO Max)

Vikings: Valhalla — Season 2 finds Leif, Freydis and Harald on the run in Scandinavia, being forced to adapt to living as fugitives outside their familiar haunts. Creator Jeb Stuart says he wanted to take the characters out of their comfort zones, but think what he meant to say is it was time to Sweden the pot. (Netflix)

Premieres Friday, Jan. 13:

Break Point — The team behind Formula 1: Drive to Survive presents a group portrait of the most promising young players in tennis, with commentary from the likes of John McEnroe contextualizing their significance to the sport. Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova wants to know where they get their crank. (Netflix)

Dog Gone — True events inspired this story of a father and son who renew their relationship while searching for a lost pet along the Appalachian Trail. Which reminds me of the time my father and I learned a lot about each other while looking for something on Orange Blossom Trail. But that's more of a story for family. (Netflix)

The Drop — Director/co-writer Sarah Adina Smith apparently thought she was being super-edgy by fashioning a dark comedy around the idea of a married woman accidentally dropping someone else's baby. You really want to get our attention, Sarah? Have her yeet that fucker! (Hulu)

Hunters — Udo Kier and Jennifer Jason Leigh join the cast of the Nazi-tracking thriller series for its second season, which also happens to be its last. I guess looking for Nazis just isn't very exciting anymore, now that Elon's made it so easy. (Prime Video)

I Don't Like Driving (No Me Gusta Conducir) — Comedy ensues when a 40-something college professor has to learn to drive. And if you think it's weird the Spaniards found that setup worthy of an entire series, just wait until he inevitably hooks up with Uber. (HBO Max)

Servant — The fourth and final season promises to reconcile the thorny relationships between nanny Leanne, spouses Sean and Dorothy, and fought-over "miracle baby" Jericho. Fortunately, since the show is an M. Night Shyamalan joint, you know the payoff isn't going to disappoint anybody whatsoever. (Apple TV+)

Sky Rojo: Season 3 — Also coming to an end is this Spanish-language heist series, which promises a final showdown between pimp Romeo and the three hookers who ripped him off for 4 million euros. FUN FACT: The denouement of this show is one of those things we couldn't know until Joel Greenberg got sentenced. (Netflix)

The Test — Who knew you could get a second season out of a docuseries about something as outwardly dull as Australian cricket? That's something I'm definitely going to discuss with my buddies while we pretend to be interested in the next Orlando City match. (Prime Video)

Premieres Sunday, Jan. 15:

Mayor of Kingstown — Season 2 finds Jeremy Renner's prison go-between, Mike McClusky, dealing with the fallout of that nasty riot that exploded at the end of Season 1. Sample dialogue that shows the program's originality and verisimilitude will continue unabated: "Let's not quibble and argue about who shanked who." (Get well soon, Jeremy. If you ever want to move somewhere with no snow, we'll pick you up at the airport.) (Paramount+)


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