NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½/ (Sunday, HBO 9:00pm) — Spike Lee’s four-part documentary love letter to his city will bring things full circle for the 20th anniversary of the day that the Twin Towers fell at the hands of terrorists. Expect his quintessential New York voice to weave a vibrant tapestry from over 200 interviews from residents, first respondents, journalists, and politicians. The end result is a provocative series that not only takes the ongoing pandemic into account but also the Black Lives Matter movement, all to chronicle loss and survival, as well as life and resilience.
The Walking Dead (Sunday, AMC 9:00pm) — This zombie-apocalypse universe’s flagship series returns for one final rodeo with two spinoffs still in motion, so it’s time to wrap this puppy up before the various shows’ timelines begin to intersect. Negan’s no longer the show’s villain, Alpha’s been vanquished, and Carol’s about to split from the group. When one really thinks about all the careers that this show has bolstered (Steven Yeun, Dania Guerra, Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, and so on), it’s impressive that Norman Reedus has stuck it out for the long haul, so Daryl and Carol must end this show by literally riding off into the sunset by motorcycle. We’ll accept nothing else.
These streaming picks make excellent appetizers:
Annette (Amazon Prime film) — Adam Driver’s singing into a vagina for some odd reason in this movie that includes the most outlandish of setups for reasons that don’t make complete sense. Yet Driver’s stand-up comedian is accompanied by Marion Cotillard’s opera singer, and the pair falls in love before giving birth to the title character, who is gifted beyond belief with an exceptional destiny. Expect an examination of passion and fame and everything in between.
The Chair (Netflix series): Sandra Freaking Oh headlines this show about the first woman of color to become chair at a prominent university. In the process of adjusting to her job, she confronts dizzyingly high expectations while one of the university’s cornerstone programs is tanking. Jay Duplass co-stars (his character is a complete and delightful mess), and are we ready for Sandra Oh supremacy yet? This show is breezy and immensely charming effort from all parties, and Sandra Oh tells off everyone who pushes back against her bossdom. The trailer also features the latest song (aptly titled, “Oh!”) from viral punk teen stars The Linda Lindas.
Sweet Girl (Netflix film): More Jason Momoa in this world is always a wonderful thing. In this movie, however, the man who portrays Aquaman gets very serious after the death of his wife. He sets out for justice against those who he believes are responsible, and he must also protect his daughter, who’s now in harm’s way due to his mission. So, justice turns into vengeance, and the enemy here is Big Pharma, apparently. Justin Bartha, Amy Brenneman, and Isabela Merced co-star, along with Momoa’s hair.
Here’s a return to regularly scheduled programming:
UFO (Sunday, Showtime 9:00pm) — 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 teen witches, who are bullying the heck out of the student body.
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, there’s a whole new meaning to the word “wipeout.”
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (Sunday, HBO 11:00pm) — John Oliver, yes!
Reminiscence: (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max) — Another movie meant for theaters has landed in your living room. This action thriller stars Hugh Jackman as a private investigator whose ground central happens to be people’s minds. He helps people unearth lost memories while living on the fringe of Miami society. One client becomes a dangerous obsession, and this certainly ain’t Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, although it sounds like the most unlikely reversal ever.
Truth Be Told: Season 2 (Apple TV series) — Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson star in this show about a true-crime podcaster who achieves notoriety, although everything comes back to bite her in the butt after someone that she helped to convict was, well, wrongfully convicted. In this season, Spencer’s podcaster (Poppy) launches a new case that’s deeply personal, given that it involves Hudson’s media mogul (Micah), and soon enough, their friendship may be on the line, along with their reputations.
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.
What If…? (Disney series) — We’re in the multiverse after Loki‘s season finale. The MCU promises to show us a wealth of scenarios that stand separate from the existing canon (thus far). Agent Carter already took the serum and became Captain Carter, and this week, T’Challa takes on the Star Lord mantle with some unanticipated circumstances for a notorious villain. Yes, Chadwick Boseman voiced the character one final time, so it’s time to let the tears and appreciation roll.
Sweet Life: Los Angeles: Season 1 (HBO Max series) — The WarnerMedia streaming service is keeping up with its summer of unscripted content that also includes The Hype and FBoy Island. In particular, this show follows a group of young, Black, and ambitious mid-20 somethings while they pursue dreams. Of course, those dreams not only happen to be professional but also involve loyalty and love. The quarter-life mark is a milestone unlike any other, and in South Los Angeles, this group of long-time friends comes together for a three-episode drop, which will be followed by more episodes running through September 2.
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.