From a subversive British comedy set in the world of religious fundamentalism to the return of AGT, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Barons – Monday, May 29, The CW | Series Premiere
Do you like the idea of endless summers, impossibly blue oceans and pretty people on surfboards? You’ll get all that and more with this Australian drama when it debuts for North American audiences this week.
The show, which originally aired last year Down Under, revolves around a group of easygoing pals in the ’70s whose first and last ambition in life is to catch some waves. But when one of them decides to launch a clothing line, the narrative quickly shifts to an examination of what happens when you mix business and friendship.
The eight-episode offering is entirely fictional, but if you followed the real-world stories of the Billabong and Quicksilver surf-wear labels, you’ll find undeniable parallels. The drama alone is enough reason to watch, but the surfing is also impressive thanks to some of the cast’s real-life wave-riding skills and a team of Hang-10-ready stunt doubles.
2. Reality – Monday, May 29, HBO Canada
Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria) stars in this docudrama as Reality Winner, a 25-year-old NSA translator who was tried and convicted of leaking an intelligence report about Russian meddling in the 2016 elections to a news website, sentenced to more than five years in prison for blowing the whistle.
3. Everyone Else Burns – Monday, May 29, W Network | Series Premiere
This bitingly subversive British sitcom focuses on a fanatically religious Manchester family who have been living with the steadfast belief that the end of the world is imminent. When the apocalypse does not arrive on the predicted day, however, their plans for eternal bliss while watching the smouldering Earth burn are completely quashed. However, they remain undeterred, with patriarch David Lewis (Simon Bird) wondering why he hasn’t ascended his puritanical church’s ranks and finally become an Elder. Meanwhile, his dutiful wife Fiona (Kate O’Flynn) begins to experience the weakness of the flesh, leaving her to ponder the spiritual repercussions of deviating from her own dogmatic moral compass. Then there’s naïve 17-year-old daughter Rachel (Amy James-Kelly), who’s bound for college—although she’s concerned about how all that knowledge and learning will erode her already-shaky faith. Finally, there’s 12-year-old son Aaron (Harry Connor), whose extreme piety makes him the target of every bully in school.
4. The Rising – Monday, May 29, The CW | Series Premiere
Solving a murder is always tricky business. It becomes undeniably harder when you’re the one who was killed. That’s the entry point to this U.K. thriller, which is adapted from the Belgian series Hotel Beau Séjour.
Clara Rugaard stars as Neve Kelly, a girl who wakes up in the water and finds her way home, only to realize she’s actually dead. Scared and confused, there’s one thing that spurs her along: getting vengeance on the killer. Yet although she knows she’s been drugged and strangled, Neve doesn’t know who it was that did the dirty deed. What she does know is that it has to be someone she is familiar with, and she will stop at nothing to help those around her discover who it was.
The eight-episode series is a standalone offering, so you can expect a resolution to this mystery. You can also expect the show to become your new summer obsession... especially if you’re tired of murder mysteries that walk the same old, not-so-mysterious creative path.
“I love the initial concept of Hotel Beau Séjour, a victim of a murder comes back from the dead to solve the crime, I thought that was a really great genre twist,” showrunner Pete McTighe told National World. “The ability to fuse a genre show with the whodunit, that was exciting to me. But what I wanted to do was something completely different—to take that concept, and then build a brand-new show around it. Brand-new characters, brand-new setting, brand-new story, basically, just taking that little kind of nugget.”
5. I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson – Tuesday, May 30, Netflix | Season Premiere
The series written by and starring SNL alum Tim Robinson returns for a third season of sketches that traffic in the absurd, the uncomfortable and the absurdly uncomfortable—featuring, as ever, an array of Robinson’s famous friends.
6. America’s Got Talent – Tuesday, May 30, City & NBC | Season Premiere
The summer variety staple is back and stranger than ever. Following on the heels of the Mayyas’ season-17 triumph, a new crop of atypical talents begin taking the stage this week to try and win over host Terry Crews and judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofía Vergara and Simon Cowell.
7. Hot Wheels Ultimate Challenge – Tuesday, May 30, NBC | Series Premiere
Fans of Hot Wheels compete to transform a nostalgic car from the past into the life-sized Hot Wheels of their dreams, with help from a crew of automotive magicians dubbed the Car Pool. The results are evaluated by celebrity judges Jay Leno, Terry Crews, Sung Kang, Joel McHale, Anthony Anderson and WWE superstar Big E. “Buckle up for the ride of your life, where car-loving Hot Wheels fans will get the chance of a lifetime,” said host Rutledge Wood.
8. The Ride – Tuesday, May 30, Prime Video | Series Premiere
Anyone who may have predicted that Prime Video’s next docuseries would be an eight-episode deep-dive into the lives of rodeo bull-riders can step to the front of the line. The Ride takes a look at this dangerous sport, profiling some of the biggest stars in the Professsional Bull Riders league. “The Ride will showcase the intense action, heated competition, raw emotions and personal battles that are fuelling the sport’s brightest stars,” said Matt Newman, head of Prime Video original sports content. “We can’t wait to bring PBR fans and casual viewers closer to the Western lifestyle driving this great American sport.”
9. Deadloch – Friday, June 2, Prime Video | Series Premiere
In this comedic crime thriller from Australia, the discovery of a dead body in a sleepy seaside town finds two vastly different female detectives—fastidious senior sergeant Dulcie Collins (Kate Box) and rough-as-guts investigator Eddie Redcliffe (Madeleine Sami)—thrown together to find the killer.
10. Queen of the Universe – Friday, June 2, Paramount+ | Season Premiere
If you settled in for the return of this colourful reality battle in late March but couldn’t find it, you’ll be pleased to know the show finally debuts this week after an unexpected scheduling delay. And just in time too, because what better way to kick off a new month than with an international drag-singing competition? If you’re unfamiliar, Queen of the Universe hails from executive producer RuPaul and is hosted by five-time BAFTA-winner (and irrepressibly outrageous late-night host) Graham Norton.
The series features 10 of the world’s most talented drag queens as they battle it out for global domination. In each episode, the fabulous array of catwalkers debut a new musical performance in front of a live audience as well as the Pop Diva Panel of judges. Said panel includes new judge Mel B (of Spice Girls fame), and returning judges Michelle Visage (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty) and American drag superstar Trixie Mattel.
In addition to the U.S., these queens come from England, Australia, Mexico, Israel, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Italy and Brazil. (Alas, no Canadians this time around!) Can Brazil recreate the magic of season one, when Grag Queen’s memorable scat stylings took the top prize? Or will someone else shake, swagger and stroll their way to victory?
“If you watch Drag Race and you like it but think, ‘Why the lip-synching?’ then this is the show for you,” Norton explained during a most delightful appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers. “Some of them are incredible. It’s just joy, it’s such a fun show and it’s a fun show to be a part of.”