Other highlights include shows set in the ’80s and ’90s plus a reality series marred by controversy.
This week’s essential television includes a mix of old and new, familiar and fresh. There’s a team-up of superheroes, some Irish gangsters, English salesmen, computer scientists, difficult people, and scandalous contestants in the game of romance. And it’s all being led by the likes of Ray Romano, Anna Chlumsky, Ed Westwick, and Sigourney Weaver.
To help you keep track of the most important programs over the next seven days, here’s our guide to everything worth watching, whether it’s on broadcast, cable, or streaming for August 13th-19th (all times Eastern):
Get Shorty (Epix, 10pm)
Before The Big Sick, it would have been difficult to sell you on a new Ray Romano series. Even if you still have doubts, here he’s being paired with cult comedy actor Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd, Girls, and the very underrated Family Tree). The duo star in this new show based on the Elmore Leonard book of the same name, which was previously turned into a hit movie starring John Travolta. No, Romano isn’t playing “Chili” Palmer. Nor is O’Dowd. This isn’t exactly an adaptation. The series just has the same basic premise of gangster goes Hollywood, which is still a great foundation to start with.
Also on Sunday:
Teen Wolf S6E13: “After Images” (MTV, 8pm)
Twin Peaks: The Return “Part 14” (Showtime, 8pm)
Claws S1E10: “Avalanche” — Season 1 finale (TNT, 9pm)
Game of Thrones S7E5: “Eastwatch” (HBO, 9pm)
The Nineties E4: “The Information Age” (CNN, 9pm)
Power S4E8: “It’s Done” (Starz, 9pm)
Ray Donovan S5E2 (Showtime, 9pm)
Ballers S3E4: “Ride and Die” (HBO, 10pm)
I’m Dying Up Here S1E10: “Creative Indifferences” — Season 1 finale (Showtime, 10pm)
The Strain S4E5: “Belly of the Beast” (FX, 10pm)
Insecure S2E4 (HBO, 10:30pm)
Rick and Morty S3E4: “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” (Cartoon Network, 11:30pm)
MONDAYBachelor in Paradise (ABC, 8pm)
Whatever your thoughts of this sleazy but silly spin-off of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise (I think it’s mostly unbearable myself), the fourth season should be a fascinating watch, at least for the first episode or two. Production had a setback due to sexual assault allegations, and ABC is not trying to hide or ignore any of the scandal or shutdown. Host Chris Harrison has said of the new season, “It’s going to be a very different season — in some ways, not great, and in some ways, I think, very interesting and very organic.” I really respect the “not great” part and am hopeful about the “interesting” part.
Also on Monday:
Diana: In Her Own Words — doc debut (National Geographic, 9pm)
Hooten & the Lady S1E6: “Moscow” (The CW, 9pm)
Will S1E7: “What Dreams May Come” (TNT, 9pm)
Preacher S2E9: “Puzzle Piece” (AMC, 9pm)
Teen Mom 2 (MTV, 9pm)
Two Towns of Jasper (POV) — doc encore (PBS, 10pm)
TUESDAYDifficult People (Hulu)
One of the funniest shows on the small screen returned last week, and I didn’t feature it as a pick because I took it for granted. But with its immediate debut of the first three episodes of Season 3, Difficult People is on fire with people buzzing about the show’s takes on Woody Allen, Vice President Mike Pence, and more. The highlights of the new episode, “Rabbitversary,” include Billy Eichner and guest star John Cho making out and Lucy Liu showing up as a publishing exec, plus Amy Sedaris, Chris Elliott, and the usual hilarity from Julie Klausner and Andrea Martin.
Also on Tuesday:
Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo — stand-up special debut (Netflix)
Bachelor in Paradise (ABC, 8pm)
Animal Kingdom S2E11: “The Leopard” (TNT, 9pm)
The Bold Type S1E7: “Three Girls in a Tub” (Freeform, 9pm)
Manhunter: Unabomber S1E4 (Discovery, 10pm)
Terror in Little Saigon (Frontline) — doc encore (PBS, 10pm)
WEDNESDAYMr. Mercedes (Audience, 8pm)
This Stephen King-based series also made its debut last week, and I included it as one of my picks then. Why am I featuring it again? Well, besides the fact that there’s nothing else new and notable for Wednesday, I wanted to remind everyone that the second episode of Mr. Mercedes is available for free online. That means even if you don’t have DirecTV, you can be caught up as of this week. Sadly, you have to change your cable provider just to see the rest, if you don’t already have the satellite service. Or you can wait for it to become available in another form down the road. Either way, at least you’ll know you want to watch more. Brendan Gleeson can do no wrong.
Also on Wednesday:
Swedish Dicks S1E3 & S1E4 (Pop, 8pm)
Catfish: The TV Show (MTV, 9pm)
Baroness Von Sketch Show S1E3: “We’ve Lost Communication” (IFC, 10pm)
Broadchurch S3E8 — Season 3 finale (BBC America, 10pm)
I’m Sorry S1E7: “Divorce Fantasy” (truTV, 10pm)
The Sinner S1E3: “Part III” (USA, 10pm)
Snowfall S1E7: “Cracking” (FX, 10pm)
THURSDAYWhite Gold (Netflix)
Despite many listings having this BBC comedy scheduled to premiere in America last Friday (I made the mistake, as well), this is its actual debut date. Already a hit in the UK, where it dropped in May, and set for a second season next year, the show is about three double-glazing window salesmen in the 1980s. Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick partners up with Joe Thomas and James Buckley of creator Damon Beesley’s last sitcom, The Inbetweeners (also streaming on Netflix). With only six episodes of a half hour each, this will be an easily binged new addiction.
Also on Thursday
Project Runway S16E1 (Lifetime, 8pm)
Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update (NBC, 9pm)
The Mist S1E9: “The Waking Dream” (Spike, 10pm)
Queen of the South S2E11: “La Noche Oscura del Alma” (USA, 10pm)
Zoo S3E8: “Stakes on a Plane” (CBS, 10pm)
The Guest Book S1E4: “Story Four” (TBS, 10:30pm)
FRIDAYMarvel’s The Defenders (Netflix)
Here’s what all of the Netflix Marvel Cinematic Universe shows have been building towards, like a small screen Avengers. Superheroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist are united against The Hand, which involves the return of Elektra working alongside a villainous leader played by Sigourney Weaver. Other characters brought back for the crossover include The Punisher, Claire Temple, Stick, Misty Knight, and Foggy Nelson. Reviews have been moderate for the show so far, but at least we can expect a huge step up from Iron Fist even if Danny Rand is one-fourth of the group. At a length of only eight episodes rather than the usual 13 for the Netflix MCU shows, The Defenders should go down fast and easy and hopefully mostly satisfying.
Also on Friday:
What Happened to Monday — movie debut (Netflix)
Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood! — stand-up special debut (Showtime, 9pm)
Room 104 S1E4: “I Knew You Weren’t Dead” (HBO, 11:30pm)
SATURDAYHalt and Catch Fire (AMC, 9pm)
If you’re not already a fan of Halt and Catch Fire, go back and watch the first three seasons, because Season 4, its last, has a great new reason to tune in. Veep‘s Anna Chlumsky is taking a break from politics and heading to Silicon Valley (the place, not the show that typically follows Veep) for a recurring role as the Chief Ontologist of a new venture for the team. This season focuses on the rise of web search engine sites like Google and Yahoo! in the 1990s. We can be sure the storyline begins as early as 1994 given that one of its episodes is called “Tonya and Nancy,” referencing the Tony Harding/Nancy Kerrigan ice skater scandal.
Also on Saturday:
Marvel’s Spider-Man S1E1: “New Beginnings” (Disney XD, 7pm)
Wild West: America’s Great Frontier — doc miniseries debut (BBC America, 9pm)