What to Watch This Week: July 31 to August 5

From classic slashers to historical dramas, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

From classic slashers to historical dramas, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. Masterpiece: 50 Fabulous Years – Sunday, July 31, 4:30 p.m., KCTS

Masterpiece: 50 Fabulous YearsPBSFirst making its debut on American public television in 1971, Masterpiece has brought U.S. viewers an astounding wealth of beloved British programming over the years, from Upstairs, Downstairs to Downton Abbey and many more. This documentary special, hosted by Alan Cumming, celebrates those myriad series, and features interviews with Robin Ellis (who starred on the original Poldark and also appeared in the recent series), Sir Derek Jacobi, who starred in the title role of I, Claudius, and Phyllis Logan, best known to American viewers for her portrayal of Mrs. Hughes on Downton Abbey. 

2. Riverdale – Sunday, July 31, 8 p.m., The CW | Season Finale

RiverdaleThe CWThe penultimate season of this primetime soap wraps up with a finale that showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa promises will really pay off Betty’s descent into darkness. Meanwhile, Archie and his pals must band together to save their not-so-sleepy small town from the “greatest threat” it’s ever faced. 

3. Scream 2 – Sunday, July 31, 2:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m., Lifetime

Scream 2Lifetime CanadaIn 1997, less than a year after Scream hit theatres and redefined the horror genre with satirical aplomb, director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson returned with a sequel, which follows Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) to college, where she’s stalked by a copycat Ghostface killer.

4. Celebrity Beef – Tuesday, August 2, 7 p.m., E! | Series Premiere

Celebrity BeefE! CanadaWe all love a good celebrity feud, but Joel McHale is taking his obsession with such things to the next level with the debut of this series. In each episode, the former host of The Soup welcomes two “beefing” celebrities to settle things once and for all: with a cook-off. But this won’t be just any old cook-off. As the stars in question heat things up in the kitchen, McHale will throw all kinds of twists at them. Think swapping kitchen knives for gardening tools, and other such shenanigans. In the end, each contestant will present their final meal to the host, who will decide the winner, help the duo squash their beef once and for all, and dole out $10,000 to charity. 

5. All or Nothing: Arsenal – Thursday,. August 4, Prime Video | Series Premiere

All or Nothing: ArsenalPrime VideoThe third entry in the All or Nothing series looking at Premier League teams places the focus on Arsenal, one of the biggest football clubs on the planet, as they seek to battle their way back into the Champions League and return to being a top-four force again. Narrated by Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah), the eight-episode series documents all the team’s ups and downs during the 2021-2022 season, while offering exclusive interviews with Arsenal players and staff, including manager Mikel Arteta, who can be seen complaining about the club’s dismal performance in the first three games of the season. “We’re bottom of the league. Zero goals, zero points,” he gripes. Meanwhile, the team’s hardcore fans feel that it’s Arteta who’s the problem, and call for his sacking. “All or Nothing: Arsenal will take our fans behind the curtain during a crucial season as we focus our efforts on challenging for domestic success and returning to elite European competition,” reads a statement on the team’s website. “As well as capturing the highs and lows of life at the Emirates Stadium and our training centre, the All or Nothing cameras will follow our squad away from the pitch to examine the daily challenges faced by elite athletes, the work we do in our local and global communities and what connects the Arsenal family and our special club.” 

6. Conjuring Kesha – Friday, August 5, discovery+ (Stream)

Conjuring Keshadiscovery+The latest celebrity-reality series follows singer-songwriter and global pop superstar Kesha as she delves deep into the unknown.

7. Black Bird – Friday, August 5, Apple TV+ | Series Finale

Black BirdApple TV+If you had a choice between spending a decade behind bars or befriending a potential serial killer and getting him to confess his crimes to you in exchange for a lighter sentence, which would you choose?  

That was the entry point to this six-part series, which was based on the real-life saga of James Keene and developed from the man’s 2010 book, In With the Devil. But as the story comes to a close on Friday, the bigger story hails from behind the scenes, given that this ended up being Ray Liotta’s final TV role before his death in May. “We really have lost one of the greats, and he’s amazing in the show,” star Taron Egerton (who plays Keene) told IndieWire following Liotta’s death. “I loved, loved working with him.” 

Fortunately, as far as swan songs go, Black Bird is a show-stopper, having earned universal acclaim from critics. 

8. Prey – Friday, August 5, Disney+

PreyDisney+It all began with the 1987 sci-fi action flick Predator, in which a trophy-hunting extraterrestrial stalked a gang of mercenaries led by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a South American jungle. Since then, the malevolent alien has returned in numerous movies, including two Alien vs. Predator flicks and the cleverly titled sequels Predators and The Predator. Prey is the latest, and it’s more of a prequel than a sequel. Set in the Comanche Nation during the early 1700s, Prey follows the journey of a young woman named Naru (Amber Midthunder), a fierce and highly skilled warrior who has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters to have ever roamed the Great Plains. When an unknown predator threatens her tribe, she sets out on a mission to protect her people. As she stalks the creature and ultimately confronts it, she comes face to face with an alien hunter that kills for sport, armed with a technologically advanced arsenal of weaponry, culminating in a vicious and terrifying showdown between these two mighty hunters. 

9. The Sandman – Friday, August 5, Netflix | Series Premiere

The SandmanNetflixNeil Gaiman’s work has been adapted for the screen in such projects as American Gods, Coraline and Good Omens, and now his most iconic creation arrives in new Netflix series The Sandman. 

The title character is Dream, a.k.a. Morpheus, Lord of Dreams (played in the series by Tom Sturridge), a metaphysical being who’s existed since the beginning of time, the living embodiment of our dreams.  

Dream is one of the Endless, a group of siblings including Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), Destruction, twins Desire and Despair (Mason Alexander Park and Donna Preston), Delirium (also known as Delight) and Destiny, the oldest and most powerful of the Endless, with each ruling their own individual realms. 

 The series begins with Dream being captured and imprisoned by sorcerer Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance) in 1916 and then escaping in 2021, regaining control of his realm, The Dreaming, 105 years later. 

Other characters include Lucifer, ruler of Hell (Gwendoline Christie), an escaped nightmare known as the Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), Cain and Abel, a.k.a. the first predator and the first victim (played by Asim Chaudhry and Sanjeev Bhaskar), Lucienne, librarian of The Dreaming (Vivienne Acheampong), Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), Ethel Cripps (Joely Richardson), John Dee (David Thewlis), Gilbert (Stephen Fry) and a talking raven named Matthew (voiced by Patton Oswalt). 

According to Gaiman, his intent with the series is to continually subvert expectations; just when viewers think they’ve got the show figured out, it veers into something else entirely. “With Sandman, it’s all about surprising you,” the author said in an interview with Empire. “It’s all about reinventing itself. It’s all about taking you on a journey you’ve not been on before.” 

10. 13 Lives – Friday, August 5, Prime Video

13 LivesPrime VideoIt’s been four years since 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach walked into the Tham Luang cave complex in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province, only to get trapped 1,000 metres down due to rising floodwaters. In real life, a team of world-class divers, Navy SEALS and volunteers from around the world stepped in to help track down the boys and see whether they were alive. They miraculously were, but as it turned out finding the team was just the beginning of this survival story. Now, director Ron Howard is ready to bring a dramatized version of events to audiences, from a script by Oscar-nominee William Nicholson (Gladiator). 

Joel Edgerton, Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen star in the flick, which scored so high with test audiences that distributors opted to cancel the April release and hold it for awards season. But then Amazon got involved and here we are, with the film making its streaming debut a week after it hit theatres for the awards-qualifying run. No matter how you view the movie, it promises to be an intense journey as the cameras capture the Herculean 17-day rescue efforts that went into bringing these boys home. “[I had no] idea the sort of risks that were taken and the lengths they went to achieve this incredible rescue,” Howard told Deadline. “This was a victory for the Thai people and the Thai government, and as a result, they’re very, very proud of it. They should be. They never took their foot off the gas and did everything they could, as a culture, as a government, physically, emotionally, spiritually to make this rescue happen… it was about, ‘What works now?’ and ‘Let’s not hesitate. Let’s not blink.’ And it took a lot of courage on all fronts.”