August is the calm before the storm wherein home entertainment takes a bit of a breather before the return of the network season in September/October. Last chance to catch up or binge-watch before the onslaught begins anew next month!
Let’s bitch it out…
If anyone else is feeling exhaustion as a result of #Peak TV, let’s all give a quick shout-out to the Gods of the Olympic (specifically the Summer Olympics in Rio) for whom we can thank for a reduced TV load in August. Read on for the details of new and returning scripted fare.
As always, we will be watching shows marked with an **.
The Get Down S1 (Netflix)**
- What is it? Netflix’s musical drama series is set in New York during the 1970s and traces the rise of hip-hop, punk, and disco as seen through the eyes of a group of youngsters in the South Bronx.
- Why should you care? A single name: Baz Luhrman. The movie director behind some of the most audacious, electrifying, and yes polarizing films of the last few decades (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby) has set up shop with the folks at Netflix. And he’s assembled quite the cast: Jimmy Smits, Giancarlo Esposito, and Jaden Smith star and Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, and Afrika Bambaataa serve as music consultants. This is the series to watch in August.
- # of episodes: 6
- Debuts: All episodes drop Friday, August 12 at 3am EST
Chesapeake Shores S1 (Hallmark)
- What is it? Based on the novels of the same name by New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods, the log line for this Hallmark series reads as follows: Chesapeake Shores is a multi-generational family drama centered on Abby O’Brien (Meghan Ory), a high-powered career woman, divorcee and mother to twin daughters, who makes a trip from New York City to her hometown. Her visit home brings Abby face to face with her past, including her high school sweetheart Trace (Jesse Metcalfe), her uncompromising father Mick (Treat Williams) and her esteemed grandmother Nell (Diane Ladd). Blaaaaah
- Why should you care? Ummm…you like Nicholas Sparks novels but hate the melodramatic twists? This looks like late summer comfort food for folks who appreciate romance, small town charm and a tiny amount of personal conflict. Plus the cast is chock-full of very likable people.
- # of episodes: Good question – this looks like a TV movie that has evolved into a series, but the episode count is uncertain
- Debuts: Sunday, August 14 at 9pm EST
My Last Days (The CW)
- What is it? According to The CW website: This docuseries features the stories of six real-life superheroes, who remind us that having a limited amount of time doesn’t mean we can’t make a positive impact on the world. Those featured include a 19-year-old with cystic fibrosis who founded Claire’s Place Foundation, a nonprofit providing support to the children and families affected by the disease; a 25-year-old battling stomach cancer, who continues to inspire people with her vibrant personality and zest for life; and an aspiring sociologist born with a very rare medical condition (Mucopolysaccharidosis VI), who was not expected to live past 20.
- Why should you care? If you’re a fan of Jane the Virgin, this series is the passion project of Raphael actor Justin Baldoni, who also directs. The teaser makes it look pretty emotional and the three day miniseries structure makes it a pretty light commitment.
- # of episodes: 3
- Debuts: Wednesday, August 17 at 9pm EST
Fear The Walking Dead S2B (AMC)
- What is it? The second half of AMC’s much less beloved zombie spin-off returns to warm the bench before the mother ship returns in October.
- Why should you care? Perhaps you’re part of the minority that feels like the second season of the much-less-loved series improved and you’re eager to see whether the supposed upwards trajectory continues? We don’t know anyone who watches this and the fan response seems very muted. The numbers, however, remain substantial so clearly there are fans and clearly AMC wants to cater to them.
- # of episodes: 8
- Returns: Sunday, August 21 at 9pm EST
Halt & Catch Fire S3 (AMC)
- What is it? Set in the early 80s, Halt and Catch Fire depicts a fictionalized insider’s view of the personal computer revolution. In its third season, the drama moves from Texas to the Silicon Valley.
- Why should you care? This is one of those surprise / under the radar drama programs that have a small, but very dedicated audience. Much like Manhattan, WGN America’s atomic bomb series, this pre-IBM/Apple series featuring a great cast and an intriguing premise but is firmly squared away as a second tier drama: it is compelling viewing, but not compelling enough to generate momentum or buzz. Still, it has a third season to prove itself and S2 was a much stronger, more female-dominated season so there’s reason to get excited.
- # of episodes: 10
- Returns: Tuesday, August 23 at 9pm EST (2 episodes premiere, 1 episode follows every Tuesday)
Gomorrah S1 (Sundance)**
- What is it? According to its Wikipedia page, Gomorrah is the most popular TV show in Italian history. Like the acclaimed 2008 film of the same name, this drama is based on Roberto Saviano’s best-selling book about organized crime in Naples. Its preoccupation is with organised crime and the relationships of gangsters, drug dealers, and ordinary people (making it more akin to The Wire with its focus on street-level crime and its hierarchical organisation from the pavement up to the office chair).
- Why should you care? Perhaps you missed the small fact that it’s the most popular TV show in Italian history? That tidbit alone merits a cursory look to see what the fuss is all about. Throw in the fact that a second season has already been commissioned to help seal the deal.
- # of episodes: 12
- Debuts: Wednesday, August 24 at 10pm EST
The Strain S3 (FX)
- What is it? UGH – the least exciting vampire infestation story on television continues as idiot scientists and survivors try to cope in an overrun Manhattan.
- Why should you care? We honestly don’t know. Maybe you’re a glutton for punishment? By all indications there was virtually no improvement in quality last year from The Strain‘s atrociously paced, poorly plotted and laughably acted first season. The fact that The Strain has been one of the worst shows on TV two years running suggests that Guillermo del Toro and co. have not learned anything from their first venture in horror television. Our advice: avoid this one at all costs and let’s all cross our fingers that poor Corey Stroll will be more selective when this gets cancelled and he selects his follow-up gig.
- # of episodes: 13
- Returns: Sunday, August 28 at 10pm EST
You’re The Worst S3 (FXX)**
- What is it? The best depiction on depression on TV returns for S3. In its first season, this dark comedy about a pair of assholes who meet and fall in love (despite hating how conventional that makes them seem) was an enjoyable comedy. In S2 Shit. Got. Real. Gretchen’s clinical depression reared its ugly (but often still hilarious) head, leading the show into some of the most honest and gut-wrenching TV of the year.
- Why should you care? Well, first off, we LOVE this show (last year You’re The Worst came it at #5 Best Of TV shows on the 2015 Bitch Awards). Plus the news that a certain OITNB resident will be checking in as Gretch’s therapist has us giddy with excitement. Throw in perennial trainwreck Lindsay’s impending pregnancy and S3 of You’re The Worst is the month’s other Must Watch series.
- # of episodes: Presumably 13 like S2
- Returns: Wednesday, August 31 at 10pm EST
And that’s it. Easy peasy, amirite? So tell us: which shows are you catching up on? Which new and returning August shows will you watch? Sound off below in the comments.