From Netflix shows to documentaries to reality TV, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. The Nineties – Sunday, July 9, 6 p.m. & 9 p.m., CNN | Series Premiere
Nostalgia can be a very necessary balm when times get tough; given the current political climate in the United States, this decade-exploring series is returning at just the right moment—this time to examine the triumphs, tragedies, phenoms and fads of the 1990s. (Get ready to break out the Doc Martens and to button up those flannel shirts.)
Following up on previous CNN deep dives into the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, the new miniseries brings us back to the days of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton in the White House, an era when Grunge music spread from Seattle like an epidemic, and pop culture as a whole evolved in new and unprecedented ways.
Over the course of seven episodes, a variety of topics will be explored, from fashion choices and angsty music icons to technological triumphs and terrorist attacks. Of course, the best way to remember crazes like the Hanson brothers and their all-time earworm “MMMBop” single, Kate Winslet “flying” on the Titanic and Britney Spears hitting the scene in that schoolgirl outfit is through firsthand accounts from the celebrities themselves. That in mind, watch out for special appearances from the likes of Kelsey Grammer, Sean Hayes, Arsenio Hall, Alanis Morissette and more.
The time warp begins tonight with a two-hour premiere dedicated to one of our personal favourite topics: television. Considering this was the era that gave us The Sopranos, Seinfeld, Friends, Sex and the City, Frasier, My So-Called Life and The X-Files, we’d say it’s territory that’s plenty ripe for discussion.
2. I’m Dying Up Here – Sunday, July 9, 9 p.m., TMN1
Nick Beverly, a former staple at the club, returns to town after a lengthy absence and convinces Goldie to let him do a set. The newer comedians are impressed with Nick (played by Girls/The Office alum Jake Lacy), but it’s immediately evident from Bill’s reaction that he’s startled to see the guy and wishes he’d stayed gone.
Elsewhere, Ralph also gets a visitor he hasn’t seen in a while—a friend from his days in Vietnam—but it’s a reunion that brings back some memories Ralph would just as soon have forgotten. In his continuing struggle to make ends meet, Adam starts a new gig as a handyman, only to learn that he’s working for a facility that caters to a high-class clientele to fulfill their, uh, adult needs; Eddie, meanwhile, is convinced that there’s a place for standup at the deli where he works.
3. The Spouse House – Sunday, July 9, 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., TLC | Series Premiere
We’ve seen our fair share of Bachelor-inspired series over the years, but none of them are as eternal, long-lasting or legally binding as this new offering. Welcome to the mansion known as the Spouse House, where 14 singles have congregated from across America in order to find their future husbands and wives.
Each week, a lavish wedding will be planned, as the drinks flow and the contestants are handed rings to pop on the fingers of their intended life partners/recent acquaintances. The only catch? They’d better make sure that the person they propose to accepts their offer of everlasting bliss, because if not, it doesn’t just mean lost love—it also means game over.
They say you should never rush into marriage, but that’s not exactly an option for these wannabe lovebirds. It won’t take long for tensions to rise and hurt feelings to emerge, especially as some people prove to be slightly more in-demand than others. Whether any actual weddings go down remains to be seen, but given the—shall we say, impulsive—nature of some of these contestants, we’d be willing to bet on at least one.
4. Candy Crush – Sunday, July 9, 8 p.m., CTV; 9 p.m., CBS | Series Premiere
CBS sees ABC’s revival of classic game shows like Match Game and raises them an adaptation of everyone’s favourite phone game. Which is a long-winded way of saying Candy Crush comes to TV this week, hosted by Extra’s Mario Lopez.
Much like in the mobile app, contestants are tasked with matching candies while navigating a life-sized board of physical obstacles, winning points and progressing through more than 2,000 levels along the way. And just in case the notion of seeing Candy Crush go live-action isn’t incentive enough to watch, the premiere is also calling in some big guns to ramp up the fun factor.
Specifically, watch for a couple epic faceoffs between all-star Survivor and Big Brother contestants, who will put the “next-generation technology” featured on the show to the test.
5. Hermitage Revealed – Monday, July 10, 9 p.m. & midnight, Knowledge
Russia’s Hermitage Museum is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. Tonight, viewers can take an in-depth tour of the Hermitage’s exquisite collections and learn all about its “tumultuous history from imperial palace to state museum,” without hopping on a plane to St. Petersburg.
6. Whose Line is it Anyway – Monday, July 10, 9 p.m., The CW
Having already gone where no one has gone before on Star Trek: The Next Generation, here’s hoping that this week’s guest star, Wil Wheaton (a.k.a. boy genius Wesley Crusher), will be able to go boldly into the world of improv comedy without floundering too much.
7. Chef – Monday, July 10, 8 p.m., W Network
Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau took a break from blockbuster filmmaking to write, direct and star in this warmly reviewed foodie flick about an L.A. chef who rediscovers his zest for life and the culinary arts when he quits a fancy restaurant and starts a food truck with his ex-wife (Sofía Vergara) and young son.
8. The Fosters – Tuesday, July 11, 5 p.m., 8 p.m. & 11 p.m., ABC Spark | Season Premiere
If you thought things in the fourth-season finale of this heart-rending foster-family drama were intense... well, buckle up. The series picks up pretty much exactly where it left off, with Callie (Maia Mitchell) taking the place of a sex-slave worker and her mother Stef (Teri Polo) racing to help her before it’s too late.
Although the show’s producers have been rather tight-lipped about young Callie’s fate and what kind of toll this recent plot twist could have on her, showrunner Peter Paige promised in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that this is a “real watershed moment” for the character and it will force her to “look at her life in a way that she has never quite done.”
Meanwhile, for the students of Anchor Beach High School, the drama is ramping up as they fight to stop the school’s privatization, taking their protest in a much more aggressive direction than anyone expected.
9. Suits – Wednesday, July 12, 6 p.m. & 11 p.m., Bravo | Season Premiere
The fifth and sixth seasons of this typically breezy legal dramedy were, in a word, game-changing. (In three words, they were game-changing and freaking intense.) To sum up, Mike (Patrick J. Adams) was finally exposed as a fake lawyer and sent to jail, Harvey (Gabriel Macht) was forced to confront his considerable mommy issues, and founding partner Jessica (Gina Torres) just up and left for Chicago; tumultuous times indeed for Pearson Specter Litt.
But now that Mike is a bona fide lawyer and back at the firm, it looks as though the seventh—and very likely final—season is going to be all about bringing back that fun mentor-mentee dynamic between Harvey and Mike that hooked viewers in the first place. It all starts with this week’s premiere, which triumphantly reintroduces that reunited dream team.
10. Friends from College – Friday, July 14, Netflix | Series Premiere
When it comes to friendships, the ones forged during college often wind up being the strongest of your life. Granted, your personal experiences with post-secondary socialization may disagree; nonetheless, that’s the concept at the heart of Netflix’s Friends From College, which stars Nat Faxon (Married), Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Annie Parisse (The Following), Jae Suh Park (The Mindy Project), Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) and Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) as friends from Harvard, now entering their 40s, who—even lo these many years later—wish their lives were still as much fun as they were back in college.
“I think they’re all relatable because they’re all flawed, and they have the same fears and hopes and desires,” writer/director Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, Neighbors) told Entertainment Weekly. “I think that’s true no matter what college you went to, and that’s true no matter what age.”
That said, co-star Savage noted that the series itself isn’t an all-ages affair. “Thematically, we’re dealing with friendships and with love, and dreams deferred, betrayal and heartbreak and longing and hope and all these major themes that are pretty universal, at least for adults,” Savage explained to EW. “I mean, I wouldn’t recommend this for children.”