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 Super Bowl week, Vanessa Hudgens takes on her first starring series role, and Drew Barrymore teams up with Timothy Olyphant for a bloody comedy.
“Switched at Birth,” Freeform, Tuesday, 9 p.m.
The fifth-and-final season kicks off with 10 episodes, which creator Lizzy Weiss promises will be filled with “pride, love, and gratitude.” Before the premiere of “Switched at Birth,” Freeform’s “The Fosters” heads into the back-half of its fourth season at 8 p.m.
“Powerless,” NBC, Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
Vanessa Hudgens graduates from “High School Musical” to leading lady. The starlet, who wowed last year on Fox’s “Grease Live” musical, holds her own in her first-ever starring broadcast TV gig with this DC Comics ensemble comedy. Variety critic Sonia Soraiya writes in her review, “For an actress who has never lead a television show, much less a comedy, she’s adjusting well to sitcom rhythms.”
“Santa Clarita Diet,” Netflix, Friday (CRITICS PICK)
In this comedy, suburban realtor Sheila (Drew Barrymore) turns into a creature of the undead with a ravenous hunger for human flesh. It’s a wacky, odd production, with a spare mythology of horror and a penchant for surprising, stomach-turning gore. Ultimately, “Santa Clarita Diet” is a treat for a very specific sense of humor — and quite possibly a little unpleasant for everyone else. What’s most enjoyable about “Santa Clarita Diet” is just how surprising each plot development is. Because it is unafraid to dabble in gore, murder, or high school drama, the show is capable of moving in a lot of different directions — but don’t sit down to watch it with an array of snacks in hand. It’s not for the weak of stomach.
Super Bowl LI, Fox, Sunday, 3:30 p.m. PT / 6:30 p.m. ET
The Patriots and Falcons go head-to-head, but whether or not you’re tuning in for either of the teams, as always, the Super Bowl will provide a healthy helping of can’t-miss-’em commercials — not to mention, Lady Gaga.
“24: Legacy,” Fox, Sunday, after the Super Bowl
Keep your TV on after the Super Bowl to catch the latest iteration of the fan-favorite series “24.” This time around, Jack Bauer is nowhere to be seen, and instead, viewers will meet a new hero, the dynamic “Straight Outta Compton” star, Corey Hawkins.