The Week Ahead: One, Two, Three Shades of Grey

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Every Monday, for your planning purposes, we will lay out the week ahead in entertainment. (All times refer to EDT.)

It’s 150 Shades of Grey Now

The first book in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, a series of NSFW novels by British author E.L. James, saw wide release in paperback only a few shorts weeks ago. But, already, this Tuesday will mark the release dates for the second and third installments, Fifty Shades Darker (a.k.a. black?) and Fifty Shades Freed (not a color). The story of how the bondage-heavy, female-friendly erotic books got such an unusual publication schedule is part of their mystique (as Belinda Luscombe described in TIME). Originally meant to be Twilight fan fiction and then published by a small Australian house, the books were almost impossible to find until now. But word of mouth and ease of e-book download helped the series become a phenomenon despite the odds; a movie is already in the works. And for any reader who first picked up the book this month, the quick wait for a climax will be welcome for a change.

(MORE: ‘Fifty Shades’ of Frenzy)

This week adds up to a good one, so it’s time to get out your calculator:


The loneliest number gets a little bit less so on Friday, when The Lucky One comes out in theaters. The latest addition to the Nicholas Sparks-inspired movie genre stars Zac Efron as a U.S. Marine. No matter how you feel about the leading man, it’s bound to be cute: the action takes place at a kennel.


That’s “one-oh-one,” as in the introductory class, not “one hundred and one,” as in dalmatians. Definitely not dalmatians. Animal Planet will premiere the fourth season of Cats 101 on Saturday at 8:00 pm.


Hat-wearing, wordplay-loving singer-songwriter Jason Mraz will release his latest album, Love is a Four-Letter Word, on Tuesday. Sadly, the album will be available on CD and digital download — but not on 45, 78 or 8-track.


In other musical numerical news, pop-rock group Train will also release an album on Tuesday, entitled California 37. (But don’t get confused: the real-life California State Route 37 is for cars, not locomotives.)


And don’t forget to pick up your copy of the TIME 100, on newsstands Friday.