From true crime to reality drama, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Dirty John – Netflix
NetflixAs the adage says, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned... and Betty Broderick is a textbook example.
Played by Family Ties’ Meredith Baxter in two early-’90s TV movies, Broderick took revenge on her San Diego-lawyer husband Dan after he left her for another woman. What initially seemed like immature vandalism eventually became something much more lethal, and the true story gets a new and very detailed dramatization over the eight episodes of the second season of Dirty John—the first season of which chronicled an entirely different true-crime saga of love and murder, starring Connie Britton and Erica Bana.
Amanda Peet (Brockmire, Togetherness) and Tiera Skovbye (Riverdale) portray Betty at different ages, as she supports Dan (Christian Slater) through his medical and legal schooling and the starts of their family and his career. The union disintegrates rather rapidly once he meets Linda Kolkena (Rachel Keller, Legion), prompting Betty to strike back—a situation that ultimately results in a double homicide.
2. The Vow – Sunday, August 23, 9 p.m. & 1:05 a.m., HBO Canada | Series Premiere
HBO CanadaWhen HBO announced back in April 2019 that they were moving forward with The Vow, a documentary series about the “self-improvement group” known as NXIVM, it was hardly a surprise. Indeed, Deadline expressed in their coverage of the announcement the same thing everyone was already thinking: “It sounded like a screenplay the moment the feds unsealed the indictments.”
Oscar-nominated filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer are the duo behind the series, taking a deep look into this alleged sex cult, whose founder Keith Raniere was convicted for sex trafficking of children, conspiracy and conspiracy to commit forced labour in 2019. His alleged lieutenant, former Smallville star Allison Mack, also pled guilty to racketeering.
In a teaser trailer for the series, a key question is posed to the viewer: “If you could overcome your fears and limitations, what would you commit to?”
The answer, obviously, is an extremely disconcerting one. Noujaim and Amer interviewed several former NXIVM members/victims, with some claiming to have experienced profound transformations—one of them says in a voiceover, “This is the family I’ve been looking for my whole life”—while others say their membership was rife with horrific abuse.
3. Nice One! – Monday, August 24, Quibi (Stream) | Series Premiere
QuibiBack in October, bite-sized streaming service Quibi announced that it was bringing standup comic Ron Funches aboard to host a comedy game show with a unique spin, one which would find him pitting various comics against each other to see who can offer the best compliments to the worst subjects. That Funches should find himself hosting a show that’s all about positivity should come as no surprise to anyone who’s listened to his podcast, Gettin’ Better With Ron Funches. As he said when Nice One! was originally announced: “In today’s world, I think it’s important that we choose to look at the positives in life. That’s what I’m about and that’s what Nice One! is about.”
Mind you, it’s also about bringing the funny, and given how many funny friends Funches has, expect to laugh a lot at the positivity.
4. Reno 911! – Monday, August 24, Quibi (Stream) | Season Premiere
QuibiHard to believe it’s already been three months since we last saw Reno’s finest, but it’s true, and now it’s time for Quibi to drop another dozen new episodes, following the indefensibly incompetent police work of Lt. Dangle et al. As with season one, each episode will be a perfectly snackable 10-minutes-or-less.
5. Love Island – Monday, August 24, 8 p.m., CTV & CBS; Tuesday, August 25, Thursday, August 27 and Friday, August 28, 9 p.m., CTV & CBS | Season Premiere
CTVThis romance reality show is defying the coronavirus with a new season that places cast and crew within a quarantine “bubble” at a Las Vegas hotel. Everyone will be tested regularly throughout the season and screened daily for symptoms, while stringent cleaning and disinfecting measures will be observed, with COVID-19 compliance officers on site to monitor and enforce all health and safety protocols. Can’t you just feel the love?
6. The Haves and Have Nots – Tuesday, August 25, 8 p.m., OWN
OWNTyler Perry’s soapy drama about three families from very different economic circumstances comes roaring back with a midseason premiere that finds the Cryer, Harrington and Young clans fighting for their very existence. These new episodes, according to the network’s press release, promise “more revenge, deceit, betrayal, decadence and destruction, leaving the lives of every character forever changed.”
7. Million Dollar Beach House – Wednesday, August 26, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixHouse hunting can be tough, but house hunting on the beach? Well, let’s just say it takes a certain kind of personality to be a realtor in that type of market. Meet a few of them in this new series, as they try and seal the deal on some truly jaw-dropping listings in the Hamptons.
8. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – Wednesday, August 26, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., Slice
SliceLast season, Lisa Vanderpump and co. set the Internet ablaze with “Puppygate”—but that’s nothing compared to this year’s tea-spilling. Tune in for another new episode as the Denise Richards and Brandi Glanville drama continues, and all the other ladies get their two cents in about the never-ending gossip.
9. Women in Film Presents: Make It Work! – Wednesday, August 26, 8 p.m., The CW
The CWIt’s no secret that the film and TV industries have been hurled into chaos by this pandemic. Yet as the world begins to reopen and approach some semblance of normalcy, there’s also an opportunity to create a better sort of normal. An initiative called Hire Her Back is hoping to protect the progress that women and people of colour have made in front of and behind the camera of late—especially given all the statistics which prove that these groups are at higher risk of job loss and exposure to coronavirus. And what better way to champion the cause than with an hour-long variety show? This star-studded event (Jane Fonda! Jennifer Garner! Alfre Woodard! Beanie Feldstein!) includes music, comedy and testimonials, all while exploring the issues and solutions for getting women back to work.
10. Magic Mike XXL – Friday, August 28, 9 p.m., W Network
Facebook/Magic Mike XXLHaving left the pole behind to start his own furniture business, Magic Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) finds himself lured back into exotic dancing by his old pals at the Xquisite Strip Club, who drag him along on a road trip to Myrtle Beach for one last stripping convention, after which they all plan to retire.