From Netflix exclusives to movies to reality TV, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy – Sunday, 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., News Network; Wednesday, 9 p.m., CBC
Last week’s Diana: In Her Own Words brought us a unique memoriam to The People’s Princess, constructed entirely out of rare audio recordings of Diana herself. This week, as the retrospectives keep on rollin’, we’re treated to a similarly intimate remembrance, with her sons, William and Harry, opening up on-camera about their memories of mom, the last conversation they had with her and how she ultimately shaped the men they have become, including their devotion to charity. One particular highlight finds their Royal Highnesses sitting together, flipping through a family photo album first put together by Diana. Throughout the hour, we’ll also hear from other loved ones, including Elton John and Diana’s brother, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer.
If you’re not all Royal-ed out after this, there’s another Diana doc, Diana—Her Story, set to air Tuesday (5 p.m. & 11 p.m., WTVS; 8 p.m., KCTS).
2. Ballers – Sunday, August 20, 9:15 p.m. & 1 a.m., HBO Canada
Spence hits a snag in his quest to convince Wayne (guest star Steve Guttenberg) to help bring the NFL to Vegas. Meanwhile, Joe falls down a virtual reality wormhole, and Julie tries to settle things between Larry and Coach Berg by having the feuding twosome break bread.
3. The Great Food Truck Race – Sunday, August 20, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., Food | Season Premiere
It seems as though the food truck craze isn’t going away anytime soon, which explains why this mouth-watering series is still going strong eight seasons in. This year, producers are switching things up a little with a Southern-style competition that sees seven teams of hopefuls racing from New Orleans to Savannah to peddle their respective cuisines. Through a series of intense challenges designed to test both the competitors’ cooking abilities and business know-how, each week (and each city) will see another truck being taken off the road, as the least savvy chefs/ entrepreneurs buckle under the pressure.
In the end, only one team will earn the $50,000 grand prize and have their dreams come true, while we viewers at home dream of getting a chance to sample their delectable culinary creations.
4. Pretty Woman – Sunday, August 20, 2 p.m., CTV
What happens when a wealthy businessman (Richard Gere) hires a charming prostitute (Julia Roberts) to pose as his girlfriend during a work trip in Beverly Hills? Sparks fly, of course. Garry Marshall directs this classic American rom-com that has women everywhere aping Roberts’ style to this day.
5. The Sinner – Monday, August 21, 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., Showcase | Series Premiere
We’ve all done things we later regret. And often, when pressed, we can’t really explain why. But usually it’s small things, like being rude to a perfectly friendly stranger or snapping at a loved one for no particular reason. Then there are more serious sins like cheating on a partner.
But this acclaimed mystery drama (which has already premiered on USA Network down south) takes the idea to a new level with the case of a woman who commits a spontaneous, brutal, very public crime, the motive of which remains a mystery even to her.
Jessica Biel plays Cora Tannetti, a young mother with a perfectly normal life . . . until she heads to the beach one day with her husband (Girls’ Christopher Abbott) and toddler, where she’s overcome by a fit of rage and kills a stranger for no discernable reason. All of a sudden her life as she knew it is gone. But perhaps she never really knew herself to begin with.
This eight-part series delves into Cora’s splintered psyche, flipping the traditional whodunit into a whydunit. Helping her uncover her past and hopefully understand the motives behind the attack is Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), a detective whose own sordid history begins to bleed into this case. Based on the book by Petra Hammesfahr, the key to Cora’s crime ultimately lies in her long-buried past, which came back to bear in a way she never could have expected.
6. Chopped Junior: Champions – Tuesday, August 22, 5 p.m., Food | Season Premiere
We had quite the run going with the Chopped franchise, what with Chopped Canada joining the U.S. version on the schedule and showcasing Canadian judges, chefs and ingredients. Sadly that homegrown version of the series was cancelled after four seasons (and several specials).
The good news is that the show lives on down south, where it continues to cook up fresh twists. Case in point: this week’s premiere of a five-part spinoff series that welcomes back some of the previous Junior winners for another chance at culinary glory. There are 16 former champs returning in total, and all of them are hungry to prove that they have what it takes to reign supreme in the pint-sized competition.
Each week, they’ll take on some of the toughest mystery baskets yet and concoct critic-approved appetizers, mains and desserts in an absurdly short, pressure-packed timeframe. Then it’s up to a rotating panel of judges, including the likes of Maneet Chauhan, Alex Guarnaschelli, Kristen Kish, Marc Murphy, Marcus Samuelsson and Dale Talde, to decide who moves on and who will find themselves on the dreaded Chopping block.
With $25,000 on the line—more than enough for any of these youngsters to jumpstart their dreams—you can bet that emotions will run high and the dishes will be more ambitious than ever, given that these kids have already run the Chopped gauntlet once before, and know what it takes to triumph.
7. Boy Band – Thursday, August 24, 8 p.m., ABC | Season FInale
The songs have been selected, the dance moves have been perfected and the viewers have chosen their crushes. Now it’s time to find out which of these young crooners have what it takes to become the next fab five in the first-season finale of the star-making series.
8. Wags: Miami – Thursday, August 24, 6 p.m. & 10 p.m., E! | Season Premiere
Thanks to the explosion of deliciously trashy franchises like Real Housewives, we all know way more than we ought to about the lifestyles of the rich and not-so-famous women who rely on cattiness and self-indulgent suburban drama to entertain themselves.
But to be fair, we’ve also gotten a fair bit of pleasure ourselves from watching all of their shenanigans unfold. Now, there’s a new franchise to keep our eyes on (while vehemently denying that we watch it to friends and family); this one narrows the focus from rich Housewives to the women who are dating or married to some of the most notorious sports stars in the world.
The second season of the Miami version unrolls this week, and it looks as though there’s plenty of drama and emotion to go around. As the women allude to in a recently released preview, their ultimate endgame is to make these men settle down and “put a ring on it”—and some of the ladies will stop at nothing to get that diamond. Whether any of them are successful remains to be seen, but at the very least, watching them try will prove abundantly amusing.
9. The Mist – Friday, August 25, Netflix | Series Premiere
When you’re a writer who manages to earn yourself the moniker of “Master of Horror,” you can bet that Hollywood is going to come a-knockin’. Which is why Stephen King is one of the world’s most-adapted authors. It’s a trend that continues this week, as King’s brutal novella about an otherworldly mist that envelopes a small Maine town arrives on Netflix, ripe for the binging.
You may recall that this particular tale of terror already made it to the big screen, courtesy director Frank Darabont back in 2007. But arguably, a serialized TV series presents the best format for King’s story of a seemingly wholesome burg slowly decimated not only by otherworldly monsters, but by the very human evil that was always hiding just beneath the surface. Indeed, the residents (including Vikings’ Alyssa Sutherland and Six Feet Under’s Frances Conroy) soon learn they have just as much to fear from each other as they do the beasts outside.
The series makes small departures from the book; namely, there are more mini-shelters rather than everyone huddling together in a grocery store, but the extra space doesn’t take away from the claustrophobic tension that made the book and the film so very memorable.
10. Disjointed – Friday, August, 25, Netflix | Series Premiere
With Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and more recently, Santa Clarita Diet, Netflix proved that it could serve as a haven for sitcom creators whose comedic sensibilities are slightly askew from the average broadcast network viewer, but that doesn’t mean that mainstream comedy creators can’t find a home there, too.
Take Chuck Lorre, for instance: he’s the king of CBS’s comedy castle, thanks to broad crowdpleasers like Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mom, yet he’s coming to Netflix with Disjointed, starring Oscar winner Kathy Bates as the owner of a Los Angeles pot dispensary.
“Kathy plays Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, a woman whose lifelong mission has been to decriminalize marijuana” Lorre told Variety last year. “She’s something of an icon in that movement. The series is about what happens when that mission is accomplished. She is faced with running a legal cannabis establishment with her son and a staff of young budtenders. Business, family and romance are difficult—they’re harder stoned.”
Dougie Baldwin, Elizabeth Alderfer and Elizabeth Ho play the aforementioned budtenders, Tone Bell will play Carter, the dispensary’s security guard, and The Night Of’s Aaron Moten takes on the role of Ruth’s son, Travis.
In a more recent interview with The Inquirer, Lorre clarified that—despite having the freedom of being on Netflix, fans of his previous series shouldn’t expect a dramatic change in tone. “We’re doing our shows to entertain and provide some laughter. [They’re] a rest from the darkness.”
Stepping into the light seems to have pleased Bates: as she told Parade in late July, “People will see a side of me they haven’t seen before.”