From zombies to hell and back with Gordon Ramsay, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Fear the Walking Dead – Sunday, August 12th at 6 p.m., 9:04 p.m. & 12:08 a.m., AMC
The outbreak is far from over, what with this The Walking Dead spinoff making a return for the back half of its fourth season this week. The show left us with quite the shocking mid-season finale in June, when original player Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) sacrificed herself in a blaze of glory in order to save her kids, leaving this particular group of East Los Angeles survivors without a leader. When the show returns, it promises to feature plenty of the gruesome zombies and bloody killings that the series has always showcased (unlike its predecessor, which has become more of a study on human nature and the evil that apparently lurks within all of our souls). But, thanks to an official promo that was revealed during San Diego Comic-Con, it seems like the undead aren’t the only things the survivors will have to face in these new episodes: the weather—and more notably a severe storm that even blows zombies away—will throw a wrench into everyone’s survival plans.
Redemption, reinvention and revival seem to be other key themes as the season marches ahead, and we learn a little bit more about some of the new characters played by Maggie Grace, Garret Dillahunt and Jenna Elfman. “I had been wanting to have the opportunity to do some drama, and I really wanted to dig into the struggle of humanity and just dive into the human condition,” Elfman told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year. “This is really about the nature of the human condition with regards to survival and so I did this Skype call with [franchise overseer] Scott Gimple. He walked me through the ideas, and the character, and her backstory, and it was everything that I had been wanting to dive into. So I thought, ‘That sounds really fun. Let’s do it.’ It’s been quite a journey.”
2. Teen Choice 2018 – Sunday, August 12th at 8 p.m., Global & Fox
FoxNick Cannon may have stepped away from hosting duties on the summer favourite America’s Got Talent, but that doesn’t mean his days as an official master of ceremonies are over. The former Mr. Mariah Carey will welcome viewers to this year’s annual shindig, which celebrates the best of music, television, sports, digital, dance and film, as voted by teens from across America. The guy can’t be expected to oversee such a massive task all by himself though not when there are so many performers to announce, presenters to welcome, and surfboards to dole out. That’s why Fox has enlisted the help of Venezuelan-American YouTube sensation Lele Pons, whose own brand of humour should mesh well with Cannon’s. Meanwhile, Khalid is expected to deliver what the network is calling “a special medley of hit songs,” and Grammy winner Meghan Trainor (“All About That Bass”) will perform her latest single “Let You Be Right,” adding some live musical entertainment to the mix.
In terms of the TV world, it looks like Vancouver-shot Archie comics reimagining Riverdale is poised to take home some heavy hardware, thanks to 12 nominations that include Choice TV Drama, Choice TV Drama Actor (Cole Sprouse and K.J. Apa), and Choice TV Drama Actress (Camila Mendes and Lili Reinhart). Meanwhile, Netflix’s Stranger Things is also expected to make headlines after basically sweeping the show last year with its first season. As always, a plethora of millennial-friendly faces are set to take the stage at the Forum in Los Angeles, including former Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale, Dance Moms personality Maddie Ziegler and actress Chloë Grace Moretz. One person not to expect? Bella Thorne, who recently tweeted she’s boycotting the show because: “it’s rigged,” “it’s just f****d up” and “it f***s with kids’ heads.” Alrighty then!
3. Insecure – Sunday, August 12th at 9:30 p.m. & 2:30 a.m., HBO Canada | Season Premiere
HBOViewers who followed the second season of Insecure know that the season finale found Issa’s relationship with Lawrence (Jay Ellis) at an end, which means that when the series kicks off its third season this week, she’s going to be in a position of putting her life back together and rebuilding as a single woman. The first step: crashing on Daniel’s (Y’lan Noel) couch while she works her butt off to earn as much cash as possible. Given their history together, which is both long (they’ve known each other since they were kids) and occasionally sordid (they’ve had a fling or two), there’s destined to be some awkwardness to this arrangement, but here’s hoping that the depth of their friendship keeps them from driving each other completely insane. This could prove difficult, since Daniel is trying to kick his music career up a notch even as Issa is wondering if her place within We Got Ya’ll is everything it should be. Now, we know what you’re wondering: if Lawrence is out of Issa’s life, does that mean we won’t be seeing him this season? It does. And Issa is cool with that. Well, the real Issa is, at least.
“We want to stay as true to life as possible,” star/creator Issa Rae told Vulture. “They had a great conversation at the end of season two and it was just about like, hey, she’s moving on with Daniel, sometimes we have those conversations. You never see the exes again. And it’s OK! You gotta explore life without Lawrence.”
4. No Passport Required – Tuesday, August 14th at 5 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., WTVS; 9 p.m., KCTS
PBSChef Marcus Samuelsson prepares the final entry of his freshman series with this week’s finale, proving once again that a whole world of flavours exists in our own backyards. To cap off the season, he heads to America’s capitol, where he not only dines and dishes, but also dances with the large Ethiopian community there. Considering the chef was born in the East African country, the episode promises to be just as much a celebration of his own heritage as it is the community at large.
“Food for me has always been one of the things where you can get people to the table with different points of view. When you understand the food and where it comes from, you can start having great conversations,” the chef said recently. “The connectivity to the Ethiopian community here in D.C. feels like a homecoming. It’s a big part of my life. My wife is Ethiopian, a lot of our friends are here... It will always be part of who we are as the Samuelsson family. I crave it. I don’t think I’ve ever been to D.C. and not had Ethiopian food.”
5. Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back – Wednesday, August 15th at 9 p.m., Fox
FoxIt’s hard to replicate success, yet chef, judge and all-around TV juggernaut Gordon Ramsay seems to have concocted the winning recipe when it comes to crafting hit culinary series that really resonate with audiences. Not only do Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef and MasterChef Junior continue to be huge winners for Ramsay, but now this latest series has scored a second-season renewal as well.
The host with the most wraps the first-season run this week by attempting to pull one final restaurant from the brink of going under with his own unique brand of tough love, hilarious disguises, a super-expensive mobile kitchen and, of course, choice swear words. Maybe once this is over, Ramsay will finally take a bit of a breather? Oh, who are we kidding—this guy obviously never stops.
6. Unsportsmanlike Comedy With Rob Gronkowski – Wednesday, August 15th at 9:55 p.m., TMN1
Crave TVThings haven’t been all that hilarious for Ron Gronkowski in 2018—not only did his New England Patriots lose the Super Bowl, his house was robbed while he was away at the game—but at least he’s had a few laughs.
Although he’s best known for his efforts as the Patriots’ tight end, he proved to be a pretty funny guy at a roast for former Boston Red Sox first baseman David Ortiz, resulting in Gronk—as he’s popularly known—getting a chance to host a comedy special. Indeed, he manages to score more than a few giggles and guffaws, including some at the expense of his own QB, Tom Brady. And not to worry: you’ll also be treated to jokes by actual comics like John Caparulo, Lenny Clarke, Jay Larson and Juston McKinney.
7. World of Dance – Wednesday, August 15th at 9 p.m., CTV2 & NBC
NBCThe competition is heating up on the show that brings elite dancers from all over the world to tap, pop, lock, hip-hop, breakdance—you name it—in front of superstar Jennifer Lopez and her team of judges. With just a few more weeks to go in season two before a dancer—or team of dancers—walk away with a life-altering $1 million grand prize.
8. Born this Way – Wednesday, August 15th at 5 p.m. & 6 p.m. (repeating at 9:03 p.m. & 10:03 p.m.), A&E
A&EGet ready to be inspired, because the series that follows a group of young men and women born with Down syndrome returns for a fourth season this week. Over the course of eight new episodes, this Emmy nominee will definitely pull at the heartstrings, not to mention hopefully shift viewer perceptions of people who are “born this way.”
9. The Blues – Thursday, August 16th at 9 p.m. & Midnight, Knowledge
Knowledge NetworkThe history of the blues goes back a long way, past the plantations of the American South—where it was sung for solace by slaves toiling in the fields—to Africa, where its roots get lost in ancient forests and savannah. In an instalment of this celebrated docuseries entitled The Road to Memphis, we get a look at a man who did more to promote the brand than perhaps any other, the legendary B.B. King, whose musical odyssey is traced as he makes his way through Memphis, paying tribute to the city and its music. In addition, viewers will be treated to performances by blues greats like Fats Domino, Ike Turner, Howlin’ Wolf and more.
10. Disenchantment – Friday, August 17th, Netflix
NetflixOnce upon a time, in an enchanted forest, lived a 19-year-old princess, betrothed to a handsome young prince she had never met, their union intended to be a glorious alliance between kingdoms. As these two kids gather before friends and family at the altar, we ask ourselves, is this the beginning of a quirky-yet-beautiful love story, a tale of “Happily Ever After,” against all odds?
While it is a story about strangers going on an exciting journey together, Matt Groening’s foray into the world of the streaming service is hardly a marriage study. These are the adventures of Princess Bean (voiced by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson), the clever little wedding-ruining demon that sits on her shoulder (comedian Eric Andre) and Elfo the Elf (Oscar-winning writer/actor Nat Faxon), who leaves the comfort of his happy, happy home to discover what awaits him beyond the great wall.
After 30 years of creating primetime television for Fox, Groening embraced the opportunity to try something new. “Netflix was as supportive as you could imagine. If anything, they encouraged us to be even more ambitious,” he says.
He also thought outside the network box when it came to the writing, implementing a much more serialized story structure. “It was incredibly inspiring to realize, ‘Oh my gosh, we can have a cliffhanger! We don’t have to figure out how to get them out of the plague pit until Monday!’” he laughs. “So we threw our characters into dire circumstances and then figured it out [later].”