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 schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Gunpowder” debuts on HBO and “Major Crimes” airs its 100th episode.
“Gunpowder,” HBO, Monday, 10 p.m. (CRITICS’ PICK)
As one would expect from an HBO miniseries — one originally commissioned by the BBC — the production values are outstanding (creating period-perfect hats and authentic reproductions of armor may well be major growth industries for the U.K., based on a casual perusal of the last few years of television output). Though character development is not necessarily the limited series’ strongest selling point, there are excellent supporting performances throughout, especially from Sian Webber and Liv Tyler as steel-spined noblewomen and Peter Mullan as Father Henry Garnet, the leading priest in England. In the end, one of “Gunpowder’s” chief virtues, aside from its fine cast and handsome look, is its relative brevity (the three installments are presented on three successive nights). In an age in which thin stories are often stretched on the rack to produce 10 or 13 hours, “Gunpowder” lives fast, dies young, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. (Read the full review here)
“Ellen’s Game of Games,” NBC, Monday, 10 p.m.
Ellen DeGeneres serves as host and executive producer of this hourlong comedy game show, which will have a special preview this week before its timeslot premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The show includes supersized versions of the most popular games from DeGeneres’ daytime talk show. Contestants will have to maneuver massive obstacles, answer questions under time pressure, and face gigantic plunges into the unknown, all in a quest to win a big cash prize.
“Major Crimes,” TNT, Tuesday, 9 p.m.
The beloved TNT drama, currently in its sixth and final season, will air its 100th episode this week. In the episode, while working two seemingly connected murders, the division suddenly uncovers a series of sexual assaults against servers from Tackles. As a new theory about the killer gathers steam, however, an unexpected twist throws Major Crimes off course and Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) off balance.
“Peaky Blinders,” Netflix, Thursday
Season 4 of the British period crime drama drops on Netflix this week. In the fourth season, Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) must reassemble his family after he had them all arrested at the end of Season 3. With the Shelbys now out of prison but scattered, they learn that they have all been marked for death and have to reunite if they hope to survive.
“The Last Post,” Amazon, Friday
From “The Night Of” creator Peter Moffat, the series is set during the social and political unrest of the mid-sixties in Aden, Yemen, and centers on the lives of a unit of Royal Military Police officers and their families. It stars Jessica Raine, Jessie Buckley, Jeremy Neumark Jones, Amanda Drew, Ben Miles, and Stephen Campbell Moore.