What to Watch This Week | July 10–16
CableTV.com’s fantabulous viewing recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this week.
It’s July, so the year is halfway over—I know, I’m pretty good with math and calendars. July also means that the quarterly update to my Best New TV Shows of 2023 (So Far) list is live with picks from the past three months, as well as the three months prior to those. Again, I’m rockin’ the maths.
This week’s What to Watch recs include the return of What We Do in the Shadows and The Afterparty, the debuts of Survival of the Thickest and Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge, scandalous docuseries Secrets of Playboy and Secrets of Miss America, the final season of Miracle Workers, and The ESPYs sports awards. Get that remote out of the freezer!
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What’s premiering this week
Season 5 premiere, Thursday, July 13: What are Staten Island’s favorite centuries-old vampires up to this season? It’s hard to believe after all these years in America that Lazslo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) have never visited a mall, but here we are. Then, in the second of two new episodes premiering July 13, Lazslo and Nandor have a boys’ night out with their neighbor Sean (Anthony Atamanuik) and his buds—as W2W always asks here, what could go wrong? Welcome back, What We Do in the Shadows.
The ESPYs | ABC | Awards, sports
Special, Wednesday, July 12: If you’re unfamiliar with The ESPYs, you might be asking “Why is a sports awards show three hours long?” First of all, you shouldn’t question anything that bumps Judge Steve Harvey from the ABC schedule for a week, just appreciate it. Secondly, The ESPYs features 22 awards categories for NFL, NBA, NHL, WNBA, UFC, boxing, soccer, golf, tennis, racing, and winter sports athletes—three hours is a bargain. The 2023 ESPYs will be co-hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and scrappy NBA newcomer LeBron James.
What to watch on Netflix this week
Survival of the Thickest | Netflix | Comedy, drama
Series premiere, Thursday, July 13: Stylist Mavis Beaumont (Michelle Buteau), a hot mess after a breakup, is determined to get her personal and professional lives on track with “a body-positive attitude, a cute V-neck, and some lip gloss.” Survival of the Thickest is based on Buteau’s memoir of the same name, and she co-created the series with Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (New Girl, The Carmichael Show) for Netflix and A24—solid cred. Also, if you’ve wondered whatever happened to Trump-lip-syncing TikToker Sarah Cooper, she’s here, too.
Bird Box Barcelona | Netflix | Drama, horror
Movie premiere, Friday, July 14: Sorry, Sandra Bullock doesn’t reprise her role from the 2018 hit Bird Box: This is a new story with a new cast, set in Spain, obvs. But there’s still a horrific post-apocalyptic threat to mankind, so there’s that. Bird Box Barcelona follows Sebastian (Mario Casas) and his daughter Sophia (Naila Schuberth) as they desperately avoid the alien invaders no one can survive observing—literal “Looks That Kill,” as Mötley Crüe once opined. If you’ve been needing something to fill that The Last of Us void in your TV life, this might be it.
What to watch on Apple TV+ this week
The Afterparty | Apple TV+ | Comedy, mystery
Season 2 premiere, Wednesday, July 12: The first season of the hilarious The Afterparty was a murder mystery set at a post-high school reunion gathering, with the story told from the wildly varied points of view of each partygoer. This time around, the victim is the husband at a wedding, with Det. Danner (Tiffany Haddish), Aniq (Sam Richardson), and Zoë (Zoë Chao), as well as the show’s title, returning. Joining them are newbies Zach Woods, Elizabeth Perkins, John Cho, Poppy Liu, and Ken Jeong; two of 10 episodes stream on July 12.
Foundation | Apple TV+ | Drama, sci-fi
Season 2 premiere, Friday, July 14: A TV adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s expansive Foundation novel trilogy has been in the works for years—if any place had the money to make this happen, it’s Apple. Season 2, which picks up 100 years after the first installment, looks even more expensive, as Hari (Jarod Harris), Gaal (Lou Llobell), and Salvor (Leah Harvey) discover a group of Mentalics with psionic powers (Foundation isn’t a show you can just jump into, obviously). Lee Pace also returns as Brother Day, joined by newcomers Ben Daniels and Isabella Laughland.
What to watch on A&E this week
Secrets of Playboy | A&E | Documentary
Season 2 premiere, Monday, July 10: There was a mountain of cringe-y dirt uncovered in the 12-episode 2022 season of Secrets of Playboy, so much so that you wouldn’t think there would be enough for another round. But the arrival of a second season proves that Hugh Hefner’s toxic creepiness knew no depths. Behind Hefner’s façade of glamour and sexual liberation were the dark realities of assault, imprisonment, and psychological torture and the celebrities who participated (like Bill Cosby). Brace yourself for more.
Secrets of Miss America | A&E | Documentary
Series premiere, Monday, July 10: A&E knows it has a ratings bonanza on its hands with the Secrets docuseries franchise: Before the premiere of the sure-to-be-harrowing Secrets of Penthouse in August, the network is dropping Secrets of Miss America, a four-episode look at misogyny, racism, body shaming, and more atrocities behind the curtain of crown-and-sash culture. The series includes first-time interviews with over 20 former contestants, who remind us that the Miss America TV competition at one time had 80 million viewers (today, not so much).
W2W wildcards of the week
Miracle Workers | TBS | Comedy
Season 4 premiere, Monday, July 10 (postponed from January): The last remaining scripted series on TBS (RIP The Last O.G. and Chad), anthology comedy Miracle Workers, makes its probable last stand with End Times. Series regulars Daniel Radcliffe, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Steve Buscemi are back, this time in the post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque villa of Boomtown, where everyone is just trying to make the best of the worst. It was a great run for Miracle Workers—check out the first three seasons on Max while you can.
Series premiere, Sunday, July 16: In a pink-splashed gesture of corporate synergy, Warner Bros. Discovery-owned HGTV presents a four-episode advertisement for the upcoming Warner Bros. movie Barbie—but at least Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge looks like fun. Supermodel/designer Ashley Graham oversees a team of HGTV stars and one Food Network chef as they transform a SoCal home into an IRL Barbie Dreamhouse, then choose a superfan to host a sleepover in the revamped pad (Margo Robbie and Ryan Gosling not included).