From Netflix shows to movies to reality TV, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. The History of Comedy – Sunday, July 16, 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., CNN
After spending a few months off the schedule, CNN brings back the laughter with an episode of the docu-series titled “One Nation,” which delves into racial humour over the years and explores how shared experiences can inspire comedy that crosses cultural barriers.
2. It’s Complicated – Monday, July 17, 8 p.m., W Network
Lightning strikes twice for a former couple (Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin) who embark on a torrid affair a decade after their divorce. This time, their romance is complicated by the fact that they’re both in relationships with other people. The critically acclaimed comedy also stars Steve Martin.
3. The Real Housewives of Orange County – Monday, July 17, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., Slice
The original Housewives are back for season 12. The latest instalment of the wine-fuelled franchise kicked off last week and as we saw in the premiere, things have settled down slightly since the insane blowouts featured last year.
For Vicki, it appears as though things are finally starting to look up. She’s in a solid place with boy-toy Steve as things grow more serious, her business is on track to expand and her daughter and grandbabies are back in town. Unfortunately, it seems as though the animosity between Vicki and her former bestie Tamra hasn’t exactly subsided though, nor should it have following last year’s dust-up, which culminated in an ugly, insult-strewn garden party and the apparent end of a decade-long friendship. With the ladies choosing sides and battle lines being drawn, you can bet we’ll be tuning in every stop along the way.
For Shannon, things become more internalized following that awful bus ride last season, and so she focuses on her own health and keeping her marriage alive. Meghan is also on the family track as a new mother, as she struggles to balance a lack of sleep and post-partum hormones with Jimmy, who turns out to be something of an overbearing father. And that brings us to the ever-controversial Kelly. Although her marital situation still seems quite complicated, she’s also trying to redeem herself this season by being less abrasive towards the other women. (Now, let’s see if they’ll buy it.)
Rounding out the cast is newcomer Peggy Sulahian, a mother of three currently prepping to undergo reconstructive surgery following a double mastectomy, while former Housewife Lydia McLaughlin is back in full force.
4. Ari Shaffir: Double Negative: Collection – Tuesday, July 18, Netflix
Early last month, it began to trickle out that This Is Not Happening, the comedy storytelling show created and hosted by Ari Shaffir, was going to be getting a new host: Daily Show alum Roy Wood, Jr.
Weep not for Shaffir, however: given that he’s got two new standup specials arriving this week, it seems to be a safe bet that he’ll land on his feet and then some. As for the contents of the two specials, Shaffir giddly tweeted out the details in a letter. “The first side, Children, is all about kids and breeding,” he said, clarifying parenthetically: “Hint: not a fan.” As for the second side, Adulthood, Shaffir explained that it’s “all about a life you necessarily cannot have if you get married and have kids.”
5. Stuart Little – Wednesday, July 19, 10 a.m., Family
When the Littles go to an orphanage to adopt a new family member, they choose a charming young mouse named Stuart (voiced by Michael J. Fox). Unfortunately, this doesn’t go over too well with the family cat Snowball (Nathan Lane), in this animated adaptation of the E.B. White classic.
6. Claws – Wednesday, july 19, 7 p.m. & Midnight, Bravo
It’s always dangerous to use the word “dramedy” to describe a new series. Is it really 50 per cent drama and 50 per cent comedy? Or is it leaning just slightly to one side of the drama/comedy equation? In the case of Claws, it’s definitely dark, but it’s far too funny to avoid utilizing the word “comedy” to describe it, that’s for sure.
The series, which debuted last week, is produced by actress Rashida Jones (The Office, I Love You, Man) and takes place in a nail salon in Central Florida, but if you don’t think you can find high drama in a nail salon, you’re not going to the right places.
At the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon, the resident manicurists are, each in their own way, serious forces to be reckoned with. Desna (Reno 911!’s Niecy Nash) owns the shop, and her staff includes best friend Jennifer (Justified’s Jenn Lyon), Desna’s driver Quiet Ann (Scrubs alum Judy Reyes), an ex-con named Polly (The Good Wife’s Carrie Preston) and Virginia (The Nice Guys’ Karrueche Tran), who can only just barely be bothered to fulfill her responsibilities as an employee. There’s also Roller (The Strain’s Jack Kesy), who’s trying to launder money through the salon, the unscrupulous Bryce (Friday Night Lights’ Kevin Rankin), Jennifer’s newly sober husband, and don’t forget Uncle Daddy (Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris), a crime boss who’s both Catholic and bisexual, a pairing which seems destined to cause more than a little family strife.
“So often times when I get [a script], it’s the sidekick to someone, or you know, there’s a guy leading the charge,” Nash told Vox. “But this was, like, five badass women leading the charge of this story, and I thought, ‘Yeah.’ I wanted to be a part of it right away.”
7. Snowfall – Wednesday, July 19, 7 p.m., 8 p.m. & 10 p.m., FX Canada
The ’80s drug drama continues as young Franklin goes on a dangerous mission to retrieve stolen property; but first, he has to find some backup. Elsewhere, Teddy must deal with an unexpected visitor at the worst possible time, and Gustavo, Lucia and Pedro search for a fall guy.
8. Ozark – Friday, July 21 Netflix | Series Premiere
Jason Bateman has a fruitful relationship with Netflix thanks to the recent revival of Arrested Development. So it makes sense that his latest passion project should land on the streaming service as well. This 10-episode thriller stars Bateman in the leading role of Marty Byrde, a Chicago-based financial planner who has a few illicit associations in his home city. Things seem to be going particularly well for Marty, his wife Wendy (three-time Oscar nominee Laura Linney) and their two children, until it all falls apart. Suddenly, Marty finds himself the target of a disgruntled drug lord and is forced to uproot his loved ones from their comfortable suburban lives and hightail it for the “last resort” that is Missouri Oaks.
But although this peaceful slice of the Ozarks seems like a brilliant place for a second chance, soon enough, the Byrdes discover that it’s just as—if not more—dangerous than the big city they left behind. With secrets surfacing and Marty compelled to put his number-crunching skills to work as a money launderer, the Byrde family will need to learn to trust each other (and virtually no one else) if they’re going to survive the array of crooked country folk looking to make a buck off their misfortune.
Not only will Bateman appear in front of the camera for this dark thriller, but he’s also taking up residence behind the lens as well, directing half of season one’s episodes. Given how dark things are primed to get, it’ll probably come as a relief to see him reprise the role of Michael Bluth on Arrested Development when the fifth season comes to Netflix in 2018.
9. Raven’s Home – Friday, July 21, 7:30 p.m., Disney Channel
After a successful four-season run on the Disney Channel in the mid-2000s, Raven-Symoné wrapped up That’s So Raven, a sitcom about a teenage girl who has psychic visions of future events. But after their recent success with Boy Meets World evolving decades later into Girl Meets World, someone at the network decided to see if lightning might strike twice.
Enter Raven’s Home, which checks in on Raven 10 years after the end of the original series. Fans of that show will be pleased to see the return of Raven’s best friend, Chelsea (again played by Anneliese van der Pol), but now Raven is the divorced mother of twins—Booker (Issac Ryan Brown) and Nia (Navia Ziraili Robinson)—and Chelsea, also divorced, has a son of her own in Levi (Jason Maybaum).
Since we know you’re wondering: yes, Raven’s psychic ability did pass from mother to child, but only one of the twins inherited it: Booker. Fortunately, Raven’s still got her own abilities, so perhaps she can teach Booker how to best utilize this skill. Then again, Raven was constantly getting into scrapes as a result of using her powers, so maybe they should both go see a specialist… but oh heck, what fun would that be?
10. Last Chance U – Friday, July 21, Netflix
To some, sports are just a pastime or a way to get some exercise. But for others, playing the game is their only way to make a life for themselves and their families, which is why they push through all of the odds, injuries and naysayers to become the best. It’s those stakes that make this series, originally inspired by an article in GQ magazine, so intriguing.
Season two returns to East Mississippi Community College, the last refuge for footballers who’ve been kicked out of more prestigious programs. As viewers will recall, unlike most community colleges, EMCC actually has a pretty good track record for getting kids to the NFL (or at least, back to the big football schools), but fire-breathing coach Buddy Stephens always has his hands full curbing the behavioural issues that landed many of his players at East Mississippi in the first place. This year, that includes Florida State’s cast-off quarterback De’Andre Johnson, who assaulted a woman at a bar in Tallahassee.
The pressure looks to rise even higher than before thanks to the popularity of the first season, as there are plenty of tourists making the trip out to East Mississippi for their chance to catch the action firsthand. No doubt, turning your life around isn’t quite so easy when you’ve got a live audience hanging on your every fumble.