The Most Anticipated TV Premieres Actors Shouldn’t Miss This February

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Photo Source: Barbara Nitke/CBS

Television doesn’t sleep. Backstage is breaking down, month by month, the buzzy shows and performances that merit attention from awards voters and couch potatoes in the ever-growing landscape of the small screen.

It may seem like there isn’t a lot going on in the limbo weeks of February (especially in these tumultuous times); but a whopping 21 series are premiering this month on the small screen, with another six returning. Read on for your best bets to keep you warm on the couch this winter, from a sweeping period drama (“The Luminaries”) to a gritty psychological thriller (“Tell Me Your Secrets”) to a long-awaited network comedy (“Kenan”).

“The Equalizer”
With a plush post–Super Bowl premiere slot Feb. 7, it’s safe to say that buzz has been effectively built for “The Equalizer,” CBS’ reboot of its 1985 crime drama. The titular vigilante was first played by Edward Woodward, then by Denzel Washington in the 2014 film adaptation. But now it’s time for Oscar-nominated legend Queen Latifah to step into the shoes of Robyn McCall, a woman with a dark past who’s balancing crime fighting with raising a teenage daughter, played by Laya DeLeon Hayes. We’re excited to see what the versatile, formidable Latifah brings to this role, backed by a supporting cast that includes Chris Noth, Adam Goldberg, Liza Lapira, Tory Kittles, and Lorraine Toussaint.

“The Luminaries”
This 1860s-set historical drama met with plenty of acclaim when it premiered in New Zealand and the U.K. last summer, and it’s finally making its way stateside via Starz on Feb. 14. Based on a 2013 novel by Eleanor Catten, who also wrote the script, the miniseries takes place amidst the Sturm und Drang of the New Zealand gold rush. For period piece fans, “The Luminaries” looks to have all the ingredients: adventure, murder, romance, intrigue, and a formidable ensemble decked out in sumptuous costumes against a backdrop of windswept beauty. Eve Hewson (of “Bridge of Spies” and “The Knick”) leads a cast that includes Golden Globe nominee Eva Green and Himesh Patel of “Tenet,” whose star is very much on the rise.

It’s about time Kenan Thompson got his own sitcom. Even before he earned his place as the longest-running “Saturday Night Live” cast member in history (18 years and counting!), the comedian made himself a household name for ’90s kids on Nickelodeon’s “Kenan & Kel.” Now, he’s finally headlining his own primetime comedy, which premieres Feb. 16 on NBC. Executive produced by Thompson and Lorne Michaels, the series follows a morning show host and widowed father (Thompson) as he raises his two daughters with the help of his father-in-law (Don Johnson) and his brother (fellow “SNL” player Chris Redd). With David Caspe (“Happy Endings,” “Black Monday”) serving as showrunner, “Kenan” seems poised to become the next major sitcom.

“It’s a Sin”
From the original U.K. “Queer as Folk” to “Doctor Who” to “A Very English Scandal” to “Years and Years,” the Emmy-nominated Russell T. Davies has been steadily dominating TV on both sides of the pond for decades. In his new HBO Max series, premiering Feb. 18 (which aired on Britain’s Channel 4 in January to critical acclaim), Davies turns his eye to the London LGBTQ community in the 1980s. The show, which could be considered as a companion piece to “Queer as Folk,” follows a group of young friends as they explore their identities, pursue their dreams, and grapple with the horrors of the AIDS epidemic. Up-and-comers Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas, Lydia West, and Callum Scott Howells star, with appearances from TV vets including Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry.

“Tell Me Your Secrets”
Three acting heavyweights—Lily Rabe, Amy Brenneman, and Hamish Linklater—are at the center of Harriet Warner’s psychological mystery, premiering on Feb. 19. Amazon Prime Video picked up the series, which was originally developed for TNT, about a trio with shady pasts: Emma (Rabe), who’s put into witness protection following a traumatic incident, Mary (Brenneman), who’s on the hunt for her long-missing daughter, and John (Linklater), a supposedly reformed serial predator.

The credentials on display here are formidable, between Tony nominee Rabe, SAG Award nominee Linklater, and Brenneman, who’s got Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG nods to her name. Add to that creepy atmospherics and producers in common with “Big Little Lies” and “The Undoing,” and “Tell Me Your Secrets” should scratch your prestige thriller itch this winter.

See the full list of February 2021 returning and debut TV premiere dates below. 

Amazon Prime Video
Feb. 19 – “Tell Me Your Secrets” premiere
Apple TV+
Feb. 5 – “The Snoopy Show” premiere
Feb. 19 – “For All Mankind” Season 2
Feb. 7 – “The Equalizer” premiere
Feb. 11 – “Clarice” premiere
The CW
Feb 8. – “Black Lightning” Season 4
Feb. 23 – “Superman and Lois” premiere
Feb. 17 – “Good Trouble” Season 3
Feb. 24 – “Snowfall” Season 4
Feb. 1 – “The Investigation” premiere
Feb. 4 – “The Head” premiere
Feb. 18 – “It’s a Sin” premiere
Feb. 22 – “Beartown” premiere
Feb. 16 – “Young Rock” premiere
Feb. 16 – “Kenan” premiere
Feb. 3 – “Firefly Lane” premiere
Feb. 5 – “Hache” Season 2
Feb. 5 – “Invisible City” premiere
Feb. 11 – “Capitani” premiere
Feb. 15 – “The Crew” premiere
Feb. 17 – “Behind Her Eyes” premiere
Feb. 19 – “Tribes of Europa” premiere
Feb. 24 – “Ginny & Georgia” premiere
Feb. 16 – “Queen Sugar” Season 5
Feb. 25 – “Punky Brewster” premiere
Feb. 14 – “The Luminaries” premiere
Feb. 6 – “Devil May Care” premiere