This week’s roundup features the broadcast premieres for docs on A&E and HBO, and the debut of two new series on BBC1 and Investigation Discovery.
Animation and the real world blend together in the television premiere of Life, Animated, recently shortlisted for an Academy Award for best Feature Length Documentary.
Growing up with autism, Owen Suskind was unable to communicate with the world until his family found a way for him to express himself through Disney animated films. This doc blends animation with real world interviews to express Suskind’s journey through childhood, using films such as The Little Mermaid and The Lion King to literally illustrate his thoughts and feelings. Directed by Oscar-winner Roger Ross Williams and produced by A&E IndieFilms & Motto Pictures, this feature length documentary makes its television debut Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.
Elsewhere, BBC1 is asking young men across Britain to warm up their vocal chords for its newest talent show, Let It Shine (pictured).
Gary Barlow is the head judge of this new talent show looking for young men with musical dreams. Each contestant is selected by a panel of judges in the first four shows, and are then placed into groups of five where they’ll perform as a band with their own style and look. The audience at home will vote for their favorite band, with the winner being dubbed simply ‘The Band’ and then going on to tour the UK performing in a new musical featuring the songs of Barlow’s own famed English pop group Take That. This eight-episode series is produced by BBC Studios Entertainment with judges Barlow, Dannii Minogue, and Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet, guests judges Amber Riley and Lulu, and hosts Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc. The series debuts Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. on BBC1.
Investigation Discovery heads back to the 1990′s “Trial of the Century” with Is O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence.
The trial of former football star O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman captured the attention of the U.S., and this new series takes a look back at the details that support the final, controversial ‘innocent’ verdict. Narrated by Martin Sheen, this six-part series follows a group of experts looking at both new evidence and old to challenge those less convinced of O.J.’s innocence. Produced by All3Media-owned Objective Media Group America, the series premieres on Investigation Discovery Jan. 15 at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT, with back to back episodes.
Finally, HBO Films heads into the darkness of the internet’s boogeyman in Beware the Slenderman.
When a 12-year-old girl was stabbed 19 times by two other 12-year-old girls to appease the Slenderman, an urban legend originating on the internet, the story grabbed headlines throughout 2014. Delving into the crime, and the legend that inspired it, this doc looks into how internet culture intersects with mental health, leading two young girls to commit a violent crime. Directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, the film premiered in 2016 at the SXSW Film Festival. It’s set to make its broadcast debut Jan. 23, 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.