From gritty reality to international manhunts, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. United Shades of America – Sunday, July 19, 7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m., CNN | Season Premiere
CNNSocially conscious comedian W. Kamau Bell has shone the spotlight on race in America since the debut of this CNN series in 2016, and given the state of race relations at the moment, United Shades of America is more relevant than ever. In an interview with America’s National Public Radio earlier this summer, Bell admitted “there’s no break” from the systemic racism that’s inspired ongoing protests throughout the world that show no sign of abating. “You know, Black people of all jobs get asked to explain racism to white people, whether that’s in their job description or not,” he said. “Well, it happens to be my job description. So, I accept the fact that one of my jobs is to explain racism to white people.”
While the current season of his show finished taping before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bell tells viewers that when they watch, “it’s going to feel very much like we knew this was coming, but I assure you, we did not.”
2. The Chi – Sunday, July 19, 8 p.m. Crave1
CraveIt’s another hard-knock week in Chicago, when Ronnie’s painful memories threaten his progress and a surprise visit undermines Trig’s custody battle. Meanwhile, Jada meets Tomas’s family, Emmett turns a predicament to his advantage and Kevin lands in a fight-or-flight situation.
3. Die Hart – Monday, July 20, Quibi (Stream) | Series Premiere
QuibiIn the latest from short-form streaming service Quibi, Kevin Hart plays a fictionalized version of himself who’s tired of being the comedic sidekick. He gets his wish when a famous director offers him the lead role in an action movie—but there’s a catch: he must first train at the world’s greatest action star school, run by a lunatic (played by John Travolta). To achieve his dream and land the role of a lifetime, Hart must face his fears and survive a series of hilarious, over-the-top action sequences.
4. Intervention – Monday, July 20, 7 p.m. & 11 p.m., A&E | Season Premiere
A&EThe long-running series that offers a raw, unflinching and sometimes controversial look at addiction and the relationships that suffer as a result of it, returns for another season. Tune in as friends and family try to help those who’ve hit rock bottom piece their shattered lives back together.
5. Hoarders – Monday, July 20, 5 p.m. & 9 p.m., A&E | Season Premiere
A&ETV’s most cringe-inducing and awkwardly enthralling reality show returns with new episodes, focusing on a team of organization experts and cleaners who attempt to help people whose sad addiction to hoarding has overtaken their lives. As is usually the case, expect to see shocking scenes of filth and clutter that defy explanation, while the desperate hoarders keep clinging to the junk and detritus that fill their homes to the rafters.
6. In Amazon We Trust – Tuesday, July 21, 9 p.m. & Midnight, Knowledge
KnowledgeAmazon is, without question, among the most powerful companies in all the world. Valued at $1 trillion, it’s become an utterly ubiquitous part of millions of lives, and the toast of the business world. But might there be a danger in allowing a corporate entity to become this powerful? That’s what a new docu-special explores, taking a look at Amazon’s inner workings and prevailing ideologies, while also contemplating if embracing them as profoundly as we have—to the point that the company dictates our “individual behaviour, labour force and culture”—could ultimately backfire in a big way.
7. Love on the Spectrum – Wednesday, July 22, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixThere’s no question that TV dating shows are still quite popular with viewers, given the ongoing success of The Bachelor and its umpteen spinoffs, to say nothing of such Netflix series as Too Hot to Handle and Love Is Blind.
Netflix is forging ahead in its quest to dominate the genre with a new show, debuting this week, that puts a fresh spin on the concept by following the romantic journeys of several singles who have one characteristic in common: they’re all on the autism spectrum.
Unlike those other shows, Love on the Spectrum doesn’t have a competition element attached, taking more of a docuseries approach by following its subjects as they navigate the unpredictable world of dating and relationships seeking their respective soulmates.
Though television has increasingly started to feature autistic characters in scripted series—Netflix’s Atypical and ABC’s The Good Doctor spring to mind—Love on the Spectrum breaks new ground in showcasing the experiences of real people with special needs as they look for love in a world that doesn’t always make sense to them.
8. Signs – Wednesday, July 22, Netflix | Season Premiere
NetflixIf you’ve run out of bone-chilling crime dramas to binge... well, who are we kidding? If there’s one sort of show that television and streaming services have an inexhaustible supply of, it’s bone-chilling, bloodcurdling crime dramas. But nonetheless, here’s another! The Polish-made series takes place in a little town tucked away in the Owl Mountains, where one haunted cop is tasked to solve the gruesome murder of a student—a case which might well have ties to another, yet-unsolved murder from his past. He’s determined to get to the bottom of it all, but finds the community unwilling to provide much in the way of support, a suspect list that’s suspiciously long and, as he digs deeper, a possible conspiracy afoot.
The eight-episode first season debuted in Poland in 2018, with a follow-up hitting airwaves there earlier this year. So if by the end of this first season you feel like you need a little more Commissioner Michal Trela (Andrzej Konopka) in your life, know that another instalment is near-certain to arrive on Netflix eventually.
9. My Pregnant Husband – Thursday, July 23, 7 p.m. & 11 p.m., TLC
TLCThe basic-cable network known for using shock value to bring important social issues and marginalized stories to a larger audience is at it again, this time by highlighting the experience of transgender men as they embark upon the journey of pregnancy.
The special, which could well become a full-blown series somewhere down the line, profiles various couples as they attempt to expand their family while facing a society that isn’t used to seeing a “pregnant husband.” Those husbands include a man whose neighbours didn’t know he was trans, and a guy who was nearly arrested after police officers mistook his baby bump for stolen goods.
The challenges these folks must brave as they create life are certainly unique, but at its core, this program tells a universal story of love, family and perseverance.
10. The Kissing Booth 2 – Friday, July 24, Netflix
NetflixThere’s no fling like a summer fling... especially when a kissing booth is involved. So hopefully you’ve been saving up those loonies and toonies for a turn. The much-anticipated sequel to the 2018 flick that quickly became one of Netflix’s most-watched originals ever is at last upon us.
Back in play are real-life exes Joey King and Jacob Elordi as teen couple Elle Evans and Noah Flynn, and all eyes are on the actors to see if they can push aside their real-life drama to spark it up again onscreen. Also returning are Joel Courtney as Elle’s bestie/Noah’s brother Lee Flynn, Meganne Young as Lee’s girlfriend Rachel, Bianca Bosch as Olivia and former teen idol Molly Ringwald as Ms. Flynn.
The romance resumes following that dreamy summer chronicled in the first movie, with Noah now off at Harvard and Elle back at high school trying to navigate a long-distance relationship. While at first the pair seems utterly devoted to each other, expect things to get messy in a hurry. To that end, joining this sequel are Taylor Perez as an intriguing new classmate of Elle’s and Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Chloe, a picture-perfect college girl who befriends Noah.