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‘Abbott Elementary,’ ‘Past Lives,’ ‘Puppy Bowl XX’ & more: Week’s best TV and movies

ABC’s hit comedy, “Abbott Elementary,” makes its season 3 debut this week, Charlie Kaufman’s animated movie, “Orion and the Dark,” premieres on Netflix and and Justin Hartley of “This is Us” launches his new action CBS series, “Tracker.” Then there are puppies — lots of them — on “Puppy Bowl XX,” which will simulcast on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Discovery+, TBS, TRUTV, and MAX before the big human game on Sunday, Feb. 11.

‘Abbott Elementary’

“Abbott Elementary” aired its season two finale last April and there are lingering questions that need answers. Can Janine and Gregory (series creator Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams) remain platonic after almost stepping outside the friend-zone on the field trip to the science museum? Did a summer at Harvard prompt Ava (Janelle James) to finally take her job as principal seriously? And will Mrs. Howard (Sheryl Lee Ralph) finally learn that Brian Tyree Henry’s name is not Brian Austin Green? Answers may be revealed Wednesday when school is back in session and “Abbott Elementary” debuts season three on ABC. Episodes also stream on Hulu. DETAILS

‘Super Bowl Greatest Commercials XXIII: The Ultimate Countdown’

Revisit popular Super Bowl ads from years past on “Super Bowl Greatest Commercials XXIII: The Ultimate Countdown,” on Wednesday on CBS. The show presents top commercials from over the years from brands including Budweiser, E-Trade and Coke. Hosts Boomer Esiason, the former NFL quarterback, and actor Danielle Ruah narrow down the competition to two finalists, and viewers can pick a winner by scanning a QR code on screen to vote live. The special will also stream on Paramount+. DETAILS

‘Puppy Bowl XX ‘

There’s a four-legged alternative to Super Bowl Sunday: Puppy Bowl XX. This year marks the Bowl’s 20th year and 131 adoptable pups have been drafted from shelters and rescues across the U.S. to compete. Teams Ruff and Fluff square off for the coveted “Lombarky” trophy while also encouraging people to adopt and not shop for pets. Puppy Bowl XX will simulcast on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Discovery+, TBS, TRUTV, and MAX before the big human game on Sunday, Feb. 11. DETAILS

‘Great American Rescue Bowl ‘

Great American Family also wants in on the call-to-adoption programming. Year two of the Great American Rescue Bowl will feature both dogs and cats — all who have already been adopted — to highlight the kinds of pets you can find at a shelter or rescue instead of a store or breeder. The paw-some game between teams The Adorables and The Cuddlers begin at 12 p.m. also on Sunday, Feb. 11. DETAILS

‘Tracker ‘

Justin Hartley of “This is Us” debuts his new CBS series “Tracker” in the prime spot after Super Bowl LVIII. Based on the book “The Never Game” by Jeffery Deaver, Hartley plays Colter Shaw, a guy with a skill for tracking down the missing and all he asks for in return is reward money. In an interview, Hartley says he was itching to roam around outside after years of being in kitchens and living rooms for “This Is Us.” DETAILS

‘Past Lives’

Celine Song’s “Past Lives” is an achingly tender film about making peace with the choices that shape our lives. Song’s directorial debut, which is nominated for best picture and best screenplay at the Academy Awards, is about a woman named Nora (Greta Lee) who, while married and living in New York, reconnects with a childhood friend (Teo Yoo) from Seoul. Though modest in scale, “Past Lives” gently reckons with existential quandaries that stretch across time and continents. In her review, AP’s Jocelyn Noveck called it “a gorgeous, achingly wistful feature debut.” Streaming on Paramount+ with Showtime. DETAILS

‘Orion and the Dark’

The mind of Charlie Kaufman has produced some of the most memorable films (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Synecdoch, New York”) of the last few decades. But even when Kaufman last scripted an animated film, (“Anomalisa”), you wouldn’t call the results child-friendly. But in “Orion and the Dark,” Kaufman adapts Emma Yarlett’s illustrated children’s book about a fifth grader (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) who’s afraid of the dark, among other things. He’s forced to confront his fears when visited the actual Dark (voiced by Paul Walter Hauser). In his review, AP’s Mark Kennedy said director Sean Charmatz’s film “is about fear and overcoming … but has too much junk clogging up the vision.” Streaming on Netflix. DETAILS

‘Suncoast ‘

Laura Chinn’s directorial debut “Suncoast,” which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, draws from Chinn’s own experience growing up in Florida and caring for her ill brother. With a cast including Laura Linney and Woody Harrelson, newcomer Nico Parker stars as the high-schooler Doris in this coming-of-age drama. “Suncoast” streams Feb. 9 on Hulu. DETAILS

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