The White Lotus (Sunday, HBO 9:00pm) — Mike White’s new series skewers the ultra-wealthy in what turns out to be a brilliant satire on how obscene wealth rots everything that it touches. It’s like The Love Boat or Fantasy Island had a lovechild with Agatha Christie. This week, its season finale time with Rachel and Shane going through an extremely rough patch (especially as newlyweds, but hey, are you surprised?), and vacation-murder time wearing down for all, until next cast/next season time.
Heels (Sunday, Starz 9:00pm) — Does the world need a series about a small-town wrestling circuit? Well, maybe not, but how about a show about a small-town wrestling circuit that’s written and created by Michael Waldron, creator of Loki and writer of Rick and Morty and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Family legacy is front and center in this Georgia setting as brothers (Alexander Ludwig and Stephen Amell) who do the good-guy/bad guy thing, and “heel” refers to the latter role, which is harder to shake off outside the ring than it appears. There ain’t no drama like wrestling drama.
These streaming picks make great appetizers:
CODA (Apple TV movie) — This Sundance-awarded film (of four awards, including the Directing Award, the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize) from Vendome Pictures touches down on your streaming devices. The story follows a teenager named Ruby, who happens to be the only member of a deaf family who’s able to hear. She’s not only involved with all of the usual teenage concerns but also interpreting duties for her parents and the family business. When she joins her school’s choir, things get rough after she blossoms and finds herself with a difficult choice: keep meeting all of those family obligations, or strike out on her own venture.
Modern Love: Season 2 (Amazon Prime series) — Who doesn’t want to watch
Jon Snow Kit Harington romance Lucy Boynton? It’s the return of the popular anthology series that found inspiration in the famed New York Times column. Relationships and connections shall happen, as well as betrayals and revelations, and the cast is chock full of talent you already know and love, including Tobias Menzies, Minnie Driver, Garrett Hedlund. All rules of love shall be henceforth broken in locales including Dublin and the whole of New York, including that Big Apple. Did I mention? Jon Snow getting randy again is not to be missed.
Beckett (Netflix film) — John David Washington stars as an American tourist, Beckett, who finds himself targeted by authorities following a tragic accident in Greece. Cue the international conspiracy-and-thriller vibes while Beckett desperately tries to clear his name amid political unrest throughout the country. Can he reach the American embassy in time, and will it make sense? Who knows, but this movie’s sure to be less confusing than Washington’s most recent release, Tenet.
Here’s some more regularly scheduled programming:
UFO (Sunday, Showtime 9:00pm) — Timing might not be everything, but it sure means a lot. Earlier this summer, the U.S. government’s so-called comprehensive report on Unidentified Flying Objects revealed, uh, nothing. Enter J.J. Abrams with this four-part docuseries that examines the cultural touchpoints of alien sightings and promises to examine possible motives on those parties who might be “shielding the truth,” and yep, this is coming from Abrams of Cloverfield and Super 8, so enjoy, Fox Mulder.
Wellington Paranormal (Sunday, CW 9:00pm) — What We Do In The Shadows fans rejoice because you’re receiving a spinoff mockumentary series with the same comedy-horror tone from creators and executive producers Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. This week, zombies and terrifying clowns get followed up by trouble near the water.
100 Foot Wave (Sunday, HBO 10:00pm) — This six-part sports-documentary series follows the decade-long journey of Garrett McNamara, the pioneering and iconic surfer who dreamed of conquering (as the title indicates) a 100-foot wave, which did more than push his sport to literally higher heights while also elevating a small fishing village. This week, athletes from around he world arrive for the tournament.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (Sunday, HBO 11:00pm) — John Oliver, yes!
Here are more streaming picks for the weekend:
Reservation Dogs: (FX on Hulu) — Taika Waititi’s FX on Hulu followup to What We Do in the Shadows brings us a comedy series that’s co-written by Native American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo. Yes, the lead quartet in this show rocks suits that look strikingly similar to the characters of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, yet they’re four Indigenous teens who want to commit crime and simply can’t pull it off. The show was shot in and near Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and these teens hope to make it all the way to California. The cast and crew come from indigenous communities, from where Harjo and Waititi are aiming their storytelling styles as well.
Brand New Cherry Flavor (Netflix limited series) — Every so often (Warrior Nun, hint hint) a pulpy-looking Netflix series looks as though it may not last long due to its niche quality, but it’s still worth some time to peruse. And who knows? This pulpy series could find a devoted fanbase, too. There’s sex, magic, revenge, and felines on hand for an early 1990s filmmaker character, who’s attempting to make it big in Hollywood, but things get very spooky. Halloween arrives early this year here, and since time means nothing anymore, go for it.
Star Trek: Lower Decks: Season 2 (Paramount series) — This animated series from Rick and Morty writer (and Solar Opposites creator) Mike McMahan takes things to the year 2380 (after the original Star Trek beginning in 2265), where the U.S.S. Cerritos aren’t the heroes that you’re expecting. These are junior officers who are not pleased at their lack of power while confronting bizarre alien anomalies like enormous bugs. This violent show’s got a PG-13-like feel, so keep that in mind.
The Hype: Season 1 (HBO Max series) — Streetwear professionals finally get a proper reality-competition show that aims to create a collision of streetwear, culture, and business. Cardi B’s judging, along with Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Ferg, Dapper Dan, and Bobby Hundreds. All involved aim to mentor the contestants while imparting their specialized visions toward the visionary contestants. From fashion to music to art to lifestyle and everywhere in between, the creativity here should be off the hook, and maybe some of that coolness will rub off on us.
Ted Lasso: Season 2 (Apple TV series) — First thing’s first: Everyone who’s caught a glimpse of this Bill Lawrence co-created and developed series loves it. That’s a notable feat, considering that star Jason Sudeikis first portrayed the title character way back in 2013 for NBC Sports’ promos for Premier League coverage. Fast forward to the fresh hell that was 2020, and the show surfaced as one of the year’s lone bright spots. Ted Lasso is somehow both relentlessly and charmingly cheery, although there’s always the spectre of Led Tasso to consider.
The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max) — David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad confined itself to a PG-13 rating, but no one expected James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad to stay with PG-13, and in fact, this R-rated (and quite good) extravaganza is releasing simultaneously on streaming and in theaters. Enjoy the “horribly beautiful” assortment of supervillains as they undertake their latest Task Force X mission, and the cast is an enormous, eclectic, and electric. Not only do we have the returning Margot Robbie (as Harley Quinn), Joel Kinnaman (as Rick Flag), Viola Davis (as Amanda Waller), and Jai Courtney (as Boomerang), but John Cena, Idris Elba, Pete Davidson, and more joined the cast. Also: Sylvester Stallone as King Shark. Sold!