August is upon us and with it, that funny feeling of How Is It Still Summer?/I’m Not Ready for Fall (thanks, retailers with your Halloween decorations and school supplies)! Are you spending every spare moment by the seaside, or dreaming about pies, sweaters and boots, and football? Either way, while your brain fights over what season it really wants to be in, jazz up the month with the best of the new series starting this month.
Cooking with Paris
August 4, 2021 (Netflix)
Do you remember TLC’s What Not to Wear? Consider this the culinary equivalent, only without anyone giving helpful advice to once and future reality star Paris Hilton, who is clearly a kitchen disaster. Plus, if you’re missing Keeping Up with the Kardashians, no worries — Kim and some other famous friends will be popping in to taste test and presumably prod Paris in a different direction.
August 6, 2021 (Apple TV+)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt puts on all the hats — writer, director, actor — in this dark comedy about a California teacher trying to make sense of his broken dreams and seemingly disastrous life. With the fabulous Debra Winger, as well as Hugo Weaving, Juno Temple, Jamie Chung, Shannon Woodward, and Logic co-starring, this one’s a no-brainer.
August 8, 2021 (Showtime)
J.J. Abrams is behind this four-part look at our obsession (no shame) with unidentified flying objects, the possibility of alien life, government cover-ups and conspiracy theories, abduction claims, and Area 51. So yeah, all the COOL stuff. Don’t even try to pretend you won’t watch.
August 9, 2021 (FX on Hulu)
Taika Waititi and Native American director Sterlin Harjo (Four Sheets to the Wind, This May Be the Last Time) team up for what looks to be a brilliant comedy about a group of Indigenous teens trying to leave their Oklahoma reservation for California after one of their friends dies. Starring Devery Jacobs, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Lane Factor, and Paulina Alexis, and with actual acting god Zahn McClarnon and sardonic Macon Blair popping in, this is just the breath of fresh fun we need.
Untold Vol. 1
August 10, 2021 (Netflix)
If great sports stories are your thing — Christy Martin, Caitlyn Jenner, “Malice at the Palace” Mardy Fish — go behind the scenes with this docuseries digging into some of the best stories never told. Directed by Chapman and Maclain Way (Wild Wild Country, The Battered Bastards of Baseball), Laura Brownson, Floyd Ross, and Crystal Moselle, each of five deep dives tells a riveting and emotional tale.
August 11, 2021 (Disney+)
This 10-episode animated series is officially included in the MCU’s Phase Four, leading me to believe its different takes on major events (what if Loki wielded Mjolnir instead of Thor, or Peggy Carter took the super serum instead of Steve Rogers?) may actually occur somewhere in an alternate (simultaneous?) timeline, as explored in Loki and WandaVision. And who knows how these takes might fit into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? We could drive ourselves crazy with suppositions or we can continue trying to piece together Kevin Feige’s puzzle with the clues herein. Many roles are being voiced by their corresponding live-action actors, meaning everyone from Hayley Atwell and Mark Ruffalo to Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan will show up here, along with Westworld’s Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher, an extraterrestrial who keeps an eye on the multiverse, and sometimes intervenes. Look, just get yourself in front of a screen on Wednesdays and we’ll compare notes afterwards.
Brand New Cherry Flavor
August 13, 2021 (Netflix)
From Channel Zero’s Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion comes a new horror show about dark sorcery and revenge — always a great combo. Based on the Todd Grimson novel, this 8-part miniseries follows a young filmmaker’s journey to get back at the producer who betrayed her trust… with a little help from her magical tattoo artist. Starring Rosa Salazar (Alita: Battle Angel, American Horror Story), Catherine Keener, Eric Lange, Jeff Ward, Manny Jacinto, Hannah Levien, Leland Orser, and Patrick Fischler, this looks like a wicked fun supernatural trip.
August 15, 2021 (Starz)
Arrow’s Stephen Amell and Vikings’ Alexander Ludwig play wrestling brothers and villainous and heroic characters who also clash off the mat over (what else?) their father’s empire. Even if such sporting events don’t call your name, the family drama just might pull you in a la Friday Night Lights. Written by Marvel writer Michael Waldron and co-starring Chris Bauer, Allen Maldonado, Allison Luff, and Mary McCormack, this could be August television’s dark horse.
Nine Perfect Strangers
August 18, 2021 (Hulu)
If mysteries are your jam, check out this miniseries created by David E. Kelly and John-Henry Butterworth and based on Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty’s eighth novel. This one’s about a health and wellness resort gathering and the bizarrely-accented woman who runs it (Nicole Kidman). Of course, the titular folks will likely be the last to find out what’s actually going on while the audience may figure it out in the first five minutes, but the real fun is in the killer cast: Melissa McCarthy, Samara Weaving, Michael Shannon, Bobby Cannavale, Manny Jacinto, Luke Evans, Regina Hall, Melvin Gregg, Asher Keddie, and Tiffany Boone.
August 18, 2021 (Netflix)
Come for Sandra Oh; stay for Jay Duplass, Holland Taylor, David Morse, and Bob Balaban. Oh is incredible in everything she does, so of course we’ll watch her as the first woman chair of the “sinking” English department at a snobbish university. Written and produced by Amanda Peet (and her husband, which isn’t necessarily a bonus [/snark]), and directed by Daniel Gray Longino (Pen15, Portlandia), just get into your chair for Oh’s masterclass in comedy.
August 22, 2021 (EPIX)
I don’t know anyone who has EPIX, but I guess we all need it now thanks to Stephen King, Adrien Brody, and this trailer. Yes, please, and send someone to hold my hand? An adaptation of King’s Jerusalem’s Lot, Chapelwaite features Brody as Captain Charles Boone. After his wife dies at sea and he returns to his ancestral home with their kids, Boone discovers the dark family history he never knew. All episodes are written by the author himself, Schitt’s Creek’s Emily Hampshire co-stars, and if the Red Band trailer is any indication, this is going to be truly terrifying.
Only Murders in the Building
August 31, 2021 (Hulu)
Created, written by, and starring Steve Martin, this comedic whodunit finds Martin, Martin Short (that’s not at all confusing), and Selena Gomez as true crime obsessives involved in a… true crime when someone is killed in their apartment building. So, paranoid amateurs drawing all the wrong conclusions from every little scrap of a clue? Precisely. This is just the silliness we all need in our summer.