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From reality romance to the queen of soul, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week
National GeographicThis eight-episode series (kicking off with two back-to-back episodes) is part of National Geographic’s month-long “Sharkfest” programming. The program looks at how scientists are utilizing cutting-edge technology to investigate startling new theories about the world’s most dramatic shark attacks. Why are sharks drawn to shipwrecks? Are sharks now entering urban environments? Are pregnant sharks more likely to kill? Can humans outsmart sharks? Why do sharks prefer to attack men over women? New footage, survivor accounts and hands-on testing point to some stunning conclusions.
FoxAt time of press, Bo Bichette, Alejandro Kirk and Vlady Guerrero, Jr. were some of the Blue Jays in contention to earn a spot at this annual match between the best of the best in the American and National Leagues. At stake beyond bragging rights? A whole bunch of cash for members of the winning roster.
CraveFill up those water bottles and bust out your best bathing suits because the Islanders are back. And, if the first three seasons have taught us anything, things are about to get both hot and heated. This time around, the show is being broadcast exclusively on streaming services (it moved from CBS to Peacock in the United States), and the shift means we can all expect even raunchier content to make the final edits. “You’re going to get extra steam,” host Arielle Vandenberg previously explained to Variety. “If there’s something we couldn’t show on the broadcast, it [would be] on [streaming]. So there’s lots of fun, new, exciting things to check out as well.”
For all you Love Island virgins, the show is based on a smash-hit U.K. format and follows a group of singles as they look for romance while living together in a villa. There’s more than love on the line, however: there’s also a $100,000 prize. In order to claim it, contestants couple up in hopes of winning over each other and the audience, the latter of which will vote on the top couple each week. Those who don’t find a mate are at risk of being cast off the island in disgrace.
That’s all to say: choosing your partner wisely is the most important aspect of the game, especially since in the end, the winning couple will have to decide whether to share their money or try and steal the entire haul for themselves. The stakes couldn’t be higher and the bathing suits couldn’t be skimpier. Add in those new, “naughtier games and sexier challenges” the show has promised us in a press release, and this is gearing up to be one of the hottest summers on record—at least in TV land.
A&EThe final episode of the first season of A&E’s docuseries about the history of rap music focuses on Uncle Luke (a.k.a. Luther Campbell), who charted a major hit as leader of 2 Live Crew with the more-than-a-little lewd album As Nasty as They Wanna Be. Not only was the record a major hit by attaining double platinum status, the LP also gained the distinction of becoming the first in history to be deemed legally obscene by the state of Florida, charges Campbell fought in court as the good-time rapper found himself thrust into the unlikely role of defender of America’s First Amendment rights.
FX CanadaJeff Bridges’ very first TV series has given the Oscar-winning actor one of his most memorable roles in Dan Chase, a former CIA operative in the early stages of Alzheimer’s who’s been living off the grid when he’s targeted by assassins and forced to go on the run as his past finally catches up with him. With the first season wrapping this week, viewers who’ve been enjoying the action- and intrigue-packed series can rest assured that The Old Man will be back, with FX recently announcing a second season has been ordered.
“We couldn’t be more excited to begin the next chapter of this journey. Our partners at FX and 20th Television showed us such unwavering patience, faith and support in getting season one completed, we can think of no other way to repay that support than to go deliver a season two that raises the bar yet again,” said exec producers Jonathan E. Steinberg, Warren Littlefield and Dan Shotz in a joint statement, adding that they “are incredibly grateful for the response the show has received, and can’t wait to get back to work.”
NetflixIf you can’t get enough of Heartstopper, Pose or Pose’s Billy Porter, then you definitely won’t want to miss this coming-of-age movie. The film is Porter’s directorial debut, and it’s clear the Emmy winner put a lot of care into telling this story of young love. The story revolves around a trans girl named Kelsa (newcomer Eva Reign) who is navigating her last year in high school, as well as her feelings for a boy named Khal (Abubakr Ali), who himself is trying to build up the courage to ask her out.
Considering the work Porter has done in real life to defy gender and identity norms, he seems like the perfect choice, especially coming off his latest onscreen project, Cinderella, in which he played the Fabulous Godmother (a.k.a. Fab G.) to Camila Cabello’s titular princess. Porter doesn’t appear onscreen for this one, mind you; in an interview with Variety, he explained he’s not “Barbra Streisand” and that he wanted to be able to put all of his focus on the directing portion for his first rodeo. Especially for a story like this, that meant a lot to him. “This is an aspirational story. It’s almost like a fairytale,” he added. “We know that. It’s a look at what we can be. That’s what we as artists get to do—look at what we can be and what we should be.”
The movie is equally personal for Reign, who has spoken openly about the lack of support she received from her peers growing up. “I have not been back to my high school since I graduated,” she told the publication. “I was like, ‘Peace. I’m out. You know, it’s been real, but I’m a little tired.’ ”
NetflixWho knew a little Canadian series about the art of glass blowing would blow so many viewers away? (Pun intended.) Yet here we are on the cusp of season three, with a new batch of contestants ready to show off their skills. These men and women are undoubtedly experts at shoving hot glass into fire and blowing it into breathtaking pieces of art, but can they do it all under a tight timeline and without shattering the materials (and their dreams)? With a cash prize of $60,000 and a residency at the Corning Museum of Glass up for grabs, the pressure is most definitely on, but here’s hoping returning host Nick Uhas and chief judge Katherine Gray can guide them through it all.
BritBoxThis British crime drama, set in Victorian England, follows Detective Inspector Eli Rabbit (Matt Berry of What We Do in the Shadows), an oft-inebriated cynic who’s seen it all, and his hapless new partner Wilbur Strauss (Freddie Fox, Slow Horses). While investigating a local murder, the lewd but insightful adoptive daughter (Susan Wokoma, Crazyhead) of the chief of police joins them, becoming the country’s first female officer. Together, the trio must fight crime while rubbing shoulders with street gangs, crooked politicians, Bulgarian princes, spiritualists, music hall stars and even the Elephant Man.
Crave 1Dreamgirls Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson got another chance to show off her pipes on the silver screen in 2021 with this biopic of the late, great Aretha Franklin—from singing in her father’s church as a girl through the rollercoaster of showbiz to earning the immortal title: Queen of Soul.
CBSIf renovation series where contractors come in and secretly change a deserving person’s living space tend to hit you right in the feels, then make a date with your couch for the second-season debut of this heartwarmer. Once again, various celebrities show gratitude to someone from their past by presiding over a fancy home reno. This year, that list includes Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghosts), Tony-winner Annaleigh Ashford, NBA star Devin Booker, reality personality Kandi Burruss, Olympic gold medallist ice skater Nathan Chen, Super Bowl champ Aaron Donald, actor Billy Gardell (Bob Hearts Abishola), singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson, NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal and Masked Singer panellist Nicole Scherzinger.
In each episode, these celebs are joined by returning host Nischelle Turner and interior designer Sabrina Soto (Trading Spaces). This year, Rob “Boston Rob” Mariano (Survivor) joins as a home contractor, further boosting the overall star power.
“The deep connection between our celebrities and the people who helped them on their path to stardom comes through so genuinely,” promises a press release. “The emotional journey and amazing home transformations combine to make this show a truly heartwarming hour of family co-viewing.”