Entertainment Television

The Oscars, 'The Voice,' 'MasterChef Canada' and 'Taken' top this week’s TV must-sees

By Bill Harris, Special to Postmedia Network

Clive Standen in "Taken." (Handout)

Clive Standen in "Taken." (Handout)

Bill Harris' TV must-sees for the week of Feb. 26

1. Academy Awards

Live

Okay, does this finally mark the end of awards season? I think I was a fresh-faced teenager back when it began. But one thing we all know for sure? As much attention as actors get, they always deserve more. Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 89th edition of the Oscars from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. In other words, La La Land.

When: Sunday, Feb. 26 on ABC, CTV

2. The Voice

Season-12 debut

I smile every time I see that new ad with Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Carson Daly acting as if they're in an old-style sitcom. I'd actually rather watch the sitcom than a singing competition. Nonetheless, of all the singing shows, this is the survivor. Until American Idol comes back, that is.

When: Monday, Feb. 27 and Tuesday, Feb. 28 on NBC, CTV

3. MasterChef Canada

Season-4 debut

A surprisingly resilient TV genre over the past dozen years has been Canadian versions of well-known U.S. reality-competition series, and this franchise is no exception. Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile return as judges. Hey, everybody has to eat. But not everyone has the expertise and creativity to eat well.

When: Thursday, March 2 on CTV

4. Taken

Debut

This follows the origin story of former Green Beret Bryan Mills (Clive Standen, a.k.a. Rollo on Vikings) as he deals with a personal tragedy. In 30 years, this character is destined to become the Bryan Mills character in the Taken films, who was played by Liam Neeson. Freaky, man. In related news, my brain hurts.

When: Monday, Feb. 27 on NBC, Global

5. When We Rise

Debut

All four parts of this mini-series are airing in the same week. The story follows the real-life personal and political struggles of a group of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer the most recent leg of the U.S. Civil Rights movement. Starring Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel Griffiths and Michael K. Williams.

When: Monday, Feb. 27, Wednesday, March 1, Thursday, March 2, and Friday, March 3 on ABC

6. Cold Case Files

Return

This is a reboot of the former series, this time with Danny Glover narrating. Each episode features a single case that has been left unsolved, brought to life through dramatizations and first-person recollections. Notably, some new strategies to help with these cases will be highlighted, too, involving advanced technology and social media.

When: Monday, Feb. 27 on A&E

7. The Stanley Dynamic

Season-2 debut

This is the innovative sitcom that focuses on a typical family with a cartoonish twist: One of their teenaged twin sons is animated. And that doesn't merely mean he's high-strung. In the new season, brothers Luke (voice of Taylor Abrahamse) and Larry (Charles Vandervaart) navigate their sophomore year of high school.

When: Monday, Feb. 27 on YTV

8. Dad and the Dandelions

Debut

Airing as part of The Nature of Things, filmmaker and activist Andrew Nisker takes a hard look at what's required to keep golf courses green. The starting point is Nisker's dad, a health nut and avid golfer who ended up battling cancer. The question: Would golfers accept a few more brown patches if they knew it was way safer?

When: Thursday, March 2 on CBC

9. The Water Brothers

Season-4 debut

This is the final season for pro-water crusaders Tyler and Alex Mifflin. But what if people are thirsty for more? You see what I did there? Anyway, Tyler and Alex travel to the Amazon, where there is more water in the air above the river than there is in the river. Can that be right? We're going to need some towels.

When: Friday, March 3 on TVO (and subsequently at tvo.org)

10. The History of Comedy

New episode

This instalment is titled Spark of Madness, and no, it's not Wolf Blitzer agonizing over the first six weeks of Donald Trump's presidency. Rather, it's an examination of why so many brilliant comedians suffer bouts of mental illness, often in conjunction with drug or alcohol abuse. And by the way, hang in there, Wolf.

When: Thursday, March 2 on CNN

Twitter: @billharris_tv

bharris@postmedia.com