The Gangs Of London (Sunday, AMC 10:00 p.m.) — Fans of the beloved Peaky Blinders, as well, should pay attention because this series makes Peaky seem like a pleasant walk in London’s Hyde Park. Warring gangs and a power vacuum and a city on its knees are only part of the attraction here. The rest is down to character-based writing and a wonderful cast that embodies a decidedly unglamorous take on warring criminal elements, all of which will prove to be addictive for anyone who loves The Sopranos or any of Marty Scorsese’s mob pictures. The series finale sees Elliot make a future-defining choice while old scores must be settled and new alliances emerge.
These top streaming picks make excellent appetizers:
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max) — The Devil’s simultaneously coming to a living room or theater near you for this third The Conjuring movie, as the second-highest-grossing franchise (James Wan can’t stop) roars back. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as paranormal dream-team Lorraine and Ed Warren, and this time, the story’s ripped from the headlines. As the film’s title indicates, this case revolves around a 1980s murder case, in which a defendant claimed that the Devil, you know, made him kill and other unspeakable things.
Sweet Tooth: Season 1 (Netflix series) — Team Downey (Robert Jr. and Susan) brings us this awe-inspiring story based upon a comic-book by creator Jeff Lemire, who whipped up a post-apocalyptic fairytale about what happens when a great sickness (which is poorly dealt with by humans) ends with a miracle. In this case, this would be the appearance of “hybrids,” babies who are born half-human and half-animal, and we’ll meet a young deer-boy, Gus, (Christian Convery), who teams up with a reluctant protector, Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie), for a cross-country quest. The comic has been described as “Mad Max Meets Bambi,” and Will Forte also plays a pivotal role. You’re in for a real (sweet) treat if you surrender to this adventure.
We Are Lady Parts: Season 1 (Peacock series) — A Muslim female post-punk band called Lady Parts looks for a lead guitarist in this subversive series, which follows the ups and downs of the group as they seek a real gig. A geeky, hard-sciences Ph.D. recruit named Amina Hussain ends up being the unlikely lucky lady to pick up the ax, and she’s soon swept up into the group’s anarchic energy. Naturally, Amina’s caught between two worlds, that of her conservative friends and the irresistible lure of the band’s joyful spirit. Together, they’re fearless, rowdy, and sexual and every ultra-religious family’s nightmare. As a show, it’s silly and irreverent and inspiring; for sure, you’ve never seen women like quite this on your TV screen.
And back to the scheduled programming here:
Pause With Sam Jay (Friday, HBO 9:00 p.m.) — The Emmy-nominated SNL writer aims to revamp the late-night talk show format with each episode taking place at Sam’s apartment, where she’s throwing a party. Get ready for some feisty conversations and, hopefully, a sense of understanding between those who hold different perspectives.
A Black Lady Sketch Show (Friday, HBO 11:00 p.m.) — The fast-paced, quick-witted narrative series returns with loads of celebrity guests, but of course, the sketches all happen by the grace of the core cast, including Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, and Gabrielle Dennis with Issa Rae executive producing,
Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday, AMC 9:00 p.m.) — Here we go with the beached submarine becoming ground central for a pivotal development while Teddy’s plan must be stopped, and Morgan and his allies must save the day.
In Treatment (Sunday, HBO 9:00 p.m.) — Eladio discovers his deep connection to Jeremy, a patient cannot handle a compliment, and Brooke helps Colin realize something valuable about his development and authenticity.
The Chi (Sunday, Showtime 9:00 p.m.) — Community protection is the name of the game with Douda, Tracy, and Trig joining forces over the issue.
Black Monday (Sunday, Showtime 9:55 p.m.) — Don Cheadle’s Mo Monroe (and his coke-snorting ways) keep going strong with a big announcement while Dawn deals with her parole officer.
Flatbush Misdemeanors (Sunday, Showtime 10:25 p.m.) — Kevin and Dan must help a neighbor in need, and they decide that a protest is the way to go. Elsewhere, Dan’s got anxiety issue over a discussion with Jess.
Ziwe (Sunday, Showtime 10:53 p.m.) — Ziwe Fumudoh’s former status as a Desus & Mero writer will be no shocker for anyone who catches her new variety series. This week, Ziwe digs into immigration policy with guest Julio Torres.
Here are some more fresh streaming picks:
Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix stand-up special) — Bo Burnham set out to do the nearly impossible: to be funny during a very unfunny time. As such, he’s offering up his general brand of existentialism but with much more rawness. We’ve all felt isolated over the past year or so, but Burnham feels it deeply, and it shows. As such, this special feels bittersweet while nailing the reality that we’ve all experienced, while mixing tragedy and comedy and everything in between. In addition, this episode was largely (and now, relatably) filmed in one room within his home, which only adds to how his audience is ready to embrace everything that Burnham is selling.
Lisey’s Story (Apple TV limited series) — There seemingly cannot be enough Stephen King TV adaptations out there, and this project presents the story of a widow, once married to a legendary novelist, and who is rediscovering repressed memories while cleaning out his desk. Because she needs even more nightmarish curveballs thrown her way, Lisey must also fend off a stalker fan of her husband, and there are (naturally) going to be some otherworldly shenanigans afoot.
The Mosquito Coast (Apple TV series) — It’s season finale time for Justin Theroux in this adaptation of Paul Theroux (yes, Paul is Justin’s actual uncle) novel previously brought to life in the mid-1980s with Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and River Phoenix. The series itself doesn’t match up to the book or film’s tackling of consumerism as much as it wants to be like Breaking Bad (yet forgot the most important ingredient). Also, Justin Theroux’s character, Allie Fox, is an eccentric, overbearing, and eventually psychotic patriarch who drags his family to Mexico, so get ready for plenty of tense moments.
Dom: Season 1 (Amazon Prime series) — This crime drama hails from Brazil with subtitles, but there’s a lot of Ozark and Sons of Anarchy vibes on display to make a non-dubbed effort worth the watch. Dom revolves around a middle-class Rio de Janeiro boy, Pedro, who falls into the lucrative realm of cocaine and eventually rises toward the top (or sinks toward the bottom, depending on one’s perspective) of the criminal underworld. It’s all based on a true story of the gang-related exploits that dominated the country’s aughts tabloids, given the juicy reality of Pedro’s father working for police intelligence, and yes, one should expect the lines of morality to go grey here. Dom‘s also a high-adrenaline adventure, so don’t watch this one while hoping to relax.
Hacks (HBO Max series premiere) — Jean Smart’s not-so-quiet domination of recent prestige TV shows (Fargo, Watchmen, Mare of Easttown, Legion) has finally culminated with this leading-lady turn in a role she was arguably meant to play. Hacks hails from executive producer Michael Schur and has three Broad City alums in the writers’ room, so get ready for a (Las Vegas) buffet of complex female characters. Smart portrays a legendary comedian who forges a “dark mentorship” to a 20-something newcomer.