It’s August, which means it’s even hotter than July and you need TV now more than ever! The planet is hot, but you watching TV in your underwear with a fan pointed directly at your swimsuit parts is even hotter! Have at it!
Manhunt: Unabomber (Discovery), Aug. 1
Essentially, this is American Crime Story: Unabomber. It’s an eight-episode scripted series about the manhunt to find Ted Kaczynski and will probably be interesting, if only to see Jane Lynch play Janet Reno. Apparently she’s very good! That Jane Lynch! Who’da thunk that Best in Show’s poodle-loving lunatic would one day play a former attorney general?! (Everyone raises their hands.)
The Sinner (USA), Aug. 2
Jessica Biel stars as a Pretty White Mom who snaps and stabs a stranger in the neck when she’s on a beach vacay with her husband and young son. The detective on the case, While You Were Sleeping’s own Bill Pullman, is tasked with figuring out what makes this Pretty White Mom tick, and since she’s a Pretty White Mom, an entire series gets devoted to it. (Also, who wants to bet that she’s actually a Good Person and that the man she killed totally had it coming for some reason probably pertaining to sexual assault. My bet is that it’s an episode of SVU dragged out into a series, which doesn’t sound half bad now that I type it out.)
The Guest Book (TBS), Aug. 3
I have very little clue what this show is about because the trailers are so cryptic, but my best guess is that it’s a big dumb comedy series about a (non-creepy) cabin in the woods where weirdo guests (played by a slew of celebs) have ~wacky~ adventures. And I think each episode might be an independent tale, the only thread being the cabin and perhaps a few locals from the town? That said, I like the looks of it, because dumb funny stuff is great, and the cast is tops: Margo Martindale, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jenna Fischer, Danny Pudi, Kate Micucci, Lauren Lapkus, Michaela Watkins, Jaime Pressly, and Stockard Channing. If that list doesn’t make you tingle all over, then you’re probably a corpse who can read and I’m sorry you’re dead that sucks unless heaven is for real and then I can’t wait.
What Would Diplo Do? (Viceland), Aug. 3
It’s the first scripted comedy series from Viceland and it stars James Van Der Beek as a fictionalized version of Diplo. You’re either incredibly turned on or you already burned your house to the ground. Both are correct responses.
Swedish Dicks (Pop), Aug. 9
It’s a comedy series about a former stuntman and a Swedish DJ who team up to launch a detective agency. Hmm. I like that Margaret Cho and Keanu Reeves are in it, so that’s good. I don’t know. I am just kinda done with white men starring in things, you know? You had a nice run — time to retire to pasture. I’ll bring you some oats and misogyny to chew on while you’re out there. You’re gonna love it!
Atypical (Netflix), Aug. 11
Jennifer Jason Leigh is the mom of an autistic teenager in this comedy from two producers of The Goldbergs. It looks like a “comedy” in the vein of, like, Casual? Like, it’s a bunch of people talking at each other and maybe there will be a character-based joke every three minutes. Call me old-fashioned, but I like my comedies with laughs! So sue me! (Disclaimer: It might be great and I’m just a dumb ham sandwich who doesn’t understand anything.)
Marvel’s The Defenders (Netflix), Aug. 18
All your favorite Marvel/Netflix superheroes (Jessica Jones and Luke Cage) and also the other ones are forced to get together to battle a new supervillain, and it feels like we’re all just going through the motions at this point. Considering how much certain shows flopped, I don’t see the point in dragging those characters back for a family reunion that nobody particularly wants to go to and doesn’t even have matching T-shirts! I wish Netflix had instead spent the money on buying me a bunch of sandwiches, because that feels just as necessary as this series, but also more delicious.
Disjointed (Netflix), Aug. 25
Kathy Bates stars as the owner of an L.A. cannabis dispensary in this new comedy from former Daily Show head writer David Javerbaum and Chuck Lorre, the creator of every popular TV show ever (true whether you like it or not!). I’m all in. I mean, it’s Kathy Bates and marijuana. I’m pretty sure that’s what God herself masturbates to.
The Tick (Amazon), Aug. 25
How many The Tick shows have there been? Like, fifty? Anyway, here’s another one, starring Guardians of the Galaxy’s Peter Serafinowicz as the giant blue-suited idiot hero and Griffin Newman as his beleaguered brainiac sidekick, Arthur. It will probably be good dumb fun and we could all use a little of that after a stressful day of calling our reps and begging them not to kill us. Maybe the Tick and Arthur can tackle Single Payer next?
Not Without Us (PBS World), Aug. 29
Climate change. It’s happening, we’re all fucked, and the only way to slightly maybe unfuck ourselves is thinking and talking about it constantly. To that end, this documentary follows frontline activists as they fight to make us all give a damn, as well as face the fact that even things like the 2015 Paris climate agreement, that symbol of progress, don’t do nearly enough to mitigate and reverse damage. Of course, it feels a bit quaint to be discussing the flaws of the accord when Melania’s husband has withdrawn from it and is hell-bent on sending this planet to the shitter just because Obama hurt his wittle feewings once. Anyway! Not Without Us is also available to view on other channels before August 29, so check your local listings!
Arkansas Traveler (YouTube, Vimeo), available now
An indie Western web series from Deadwood’s Sean Bridgers, this Civil War-era tale stars the ever-wonderful Garret Dillahunt and Angela Bettis alongside Bridgers, and it’s got tons of gun slinging and whiskey drinking, as you might expect from a production with serious Deadwood roots. I have a feeling this will appeal to fans of the departed HBO series and it’s flying a bit under the radar, so consider this a PSA to watch it ASAP.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 2, 2017