From stranded survivalists to comedians cooking, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Naked and Afraid of Sharks 2 – Sunday, August 16, 6 p.m. & Midnight, Discovery
DiscoveryDuring a previous edition of Shark Week, Discovery decided to mash up its summertime favourite with another hit series, Naked and Afraid, stranding a group of nude survivalists on an island surrounded by shark-infested waters. And now, they’re doing it again.
2. Amy Schumer Learns to Cook – Monday, August 17, 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., Food | Season Premiere
FoodComedy superstar Amy Schumer has been absolutely nailing life in the age of COVID; that continues with the season-two premiere of this quarantine cooking show, where her chef husband Chris Fischer tries, and quite often fails, to teach her his culinary tricks.
3. Glitch Techs – Monday, August 17, Netflix | Season Premiere
NetflixCreator Dan Milano’s teenaged monster hunters return for a second season of tracking down the pixelated beasties that have escaped from video games. Joining them is A Different World alum Cree Summer as new character Geri Lawson, namesake of Gerald Lawson, the man who invented game cartridges.
4. Dead Pixels -–Tuesday, 8 p.m. & 8:30 p.m., The CW | Series Premiere
The CWThey may not function all that well in reality but the gamers in Dead Pixels are titans of their virtual world. Making its North American debut on Tuesday, the half-hour U.K. comedy from writer/creator Jon Brown (Succession, Veep) follows the daily lives—real and online—of three gamer pals: Meg (Alexa Davies, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), an office worker who has no qualms about leaving a date to help defend a burning castle; Nicky (Will Merrick, Poldark), a fellow office drone and über-devoted gamer; and Usman (Sargon Yelda, Strike), a stay-at-home dad who made a plywood lid for his child’s playpen so he can game in peace.
All three have things missing in their lives and themselves that they find in varying degrees in the world of Kingdom Scrolls, an online fantasy game. Their avatars are expressions of how they see themselves—or how they want to see themselves.
5. America's Got Talent – Tuesday, August 18, 8 p.m., City & NBC
CityYou’ve got to hand it to AGT for figuring out how to adapt its format to the coronavirus pandemic, with judges positioned at socially distanced lengths from each other in an outdoor, audience-free setting, while contestants strut their stuff in video performances instead of live onstage, and receive critiques via Zoom.
6. Biohackers – Thursday, August 20, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixWhile television production is slowly resuming here in B.C., it remains to be seen what’s going to happen with all those TV series that film in coronavirus-stricken L.A. At the moment, U.S. broadcasters are already running out of scripted shows to air; as a result, many are looking to foreign markets for content that will be new to American viewers.
This can certainly be seen on The CW’s summer lineup, which largely consists of shows from other countries—including several that originated on CBC.
The silver lining is that viewers now have increased opportunities to broaden their horizons by checking out foreign series that may have otherwise flown under the radar.
With that in mind, this week brings viewers the launch of a new Netflix series hailing from Germany, Biohackers. “What if students secretly experiment with biohacking technologies that could change humanity?” reads the synopsis of what’s described as “a highly gripping story about friendship, love and revenge at a German university that is overshadowed by a revolutionary biohacking technology and its ethical implications.”
The plot of the six-episode drama centres on a rivalry between two women, a brilliant young medical student named Mia (Luna Wedler) pursuing a covert plan, and her adversary, famed bioscientist Prof. Tanja Lorenz (Jessica Schwarz). As viewers will discover, these women share a connection to a dark secret from the past.
7. Barracuda – Friday, August 21, CBC Gem (Stream)
CBC GemThis 1990s-set Aussie series takes a dark look at the burdens placed on young athletes. In episode two, Danny welcomes the distraction of meeting Taylor’s family, and yet the pressure of getting ready for the National Championship continues to weigh heavy on the star swimmer.
8. Hoops – Friday, August 21, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixIt’s interesting to watch the trailer for Netflix’s new animated comedy Hoops and see that they’re promoting it as “created by Ben Hoffman with the producers of The Last Man on Earth.” That’s certainly accurate, but considering the show features Jake Johnson voicing main character Ben Hopkins, an obscenity-spewing high school basketball coach, you’d think they would’ve talked up the fact that creator Hoffman was a writer on Johnson’s star-making series New Girl. Or that the Last Man on Earth producers in question are Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the guys behind such other amazing cartoon projects as The LEGO Movie and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. But hey, far be it from us to argue with the marketing gurus at Netflix.
At any rate, the premise of Hoops involves Ben deciding that the way to make it to the “big leagues” is to take this truly awful basketball team and turn them into superstars, but given his tendency toward being selfish, shameless and consistently failing to do the right thing even when provided with multiple chances, viewers should probably prepare to see him come up hilariously short in his quest for fame and glory.
9. Lucifer – Friday, August 21, Netflix | Season Premiere
NetflixAre Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) and Det. Chloe Decker (Lauren German) finally coupling up? The season-five posters would have us believe as much, but the newly released trailer would say Mr. Morningstar is not quite the devil we remember—at least, not to start with. Indeed, after Lucifer’s self-sacrificing decision to return to hell and stop the demons from clawing their way up to Earth, the archangel Michael (also played by Ellis) has arrived to discreetly take over his twin brother’s life and smite everything he’s built for himself with the mortals. That could well include Lucifer’s recently professed love for Det. Decker.
Ominous as that all sounds, season five also has plenty of the show’s signature goofy fun, including a film noir instalment that gives the gang an excuse to dress up in some swanky old-timey garb, and a ton of homages to classic horror, including a possible nod to The Shining. (There’s even a musical episode, though that one will debut in the second half of season five; release date still TBD.)
But this season’s biggest development by far: 24 alum Dennis Haysbert is joining the cast as Lucifer’s estranged father, the Almighty.
All told, it’s a welcome return that fans have been eagerly awaiting for well over a year. Even better news for those fans: although season five was originally supposed to be the last hurrah, Netflix has managed to strike a deal with the devil (a.k.a. extend Ellis’s contract, following some reportedly quite protracted negotiations). Now, the show has officially been greenlit for a sixth and final season. Hallelujah.
10. Muppets Now – Friday, August 21, Disney+
Disney+After pulling far too many all-nighters trying to get Muppets Now finished, Scooter realizes he only has 30 minutes left to upload the series, but he needs Animal to help keep him awake. Meanwhile, Miss Piggy welcomes celeb guests Aubrey Plaza, Linda Cardellini and Taye Diggs.