What to Watch This Week | July 18–24

CableTV.com’s tantalizing viewing recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this week.

Just as last week’s What to Watch installment went live, one of my picks, the second season premiere of Chad, was pulled from the schedule and canceled by TBS. Not cool. Now there are 10 unseen episodes of Nasim Pedrad’s hilarious comedy floating in limbo. HBO Max, Roku Channel, TikTok—who’s going to step up and save Chad?

This week’s What to Watch picks include the MLB All-Star Game and the ESPYS, the returns of Virgin River and American Horror Stories, Netflix’s $200 million The Gray Man, the hip-hop duo of Almost Fly and Rap Sh!t, and the long-awaited new season of Primal. Get watching!

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What’s premiering this week

2022 MLB All-Star Game | FOX | Sports, baseball

Coverage begins Tuesday, July 19, 7:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT: The 92nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game brings the action back to Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, the site of the canceled 2020 event (some stuff came up; you may have heard about it). Only a handful of players are in the double-digit All-Star club this year, including the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera (12 All-Star games), the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols (11), and the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout (10). American League or National League, who you got?

The 2022 ESPYS | ABC | Sports, awards

Coverage begins Wednesday, July 20, 8 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT: The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry hosts the 30th annual ESPYS live from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre—L.A. is the place to be this week. The best athletes in basketball, football, baseball, hockey, soccer, golf, boxing, MMA, action sports, bowling, and more will be celebrated over the three-hour telecast, as well as the Best WWE Moment (a pro wrestling bracket introduced in 2019). “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has two entries—open that whoop-ass can!

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What to watch on Netflix this week

Virgin River | Netflix | Drama

Season 4 premiere, Wednesday, July 20: Virgin River is one of those shows where you’ve either never heard of it or you’re an obsessive fan—no middle ground. The series follows nurse practitioner Melinda “Mel” Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge), newly relocated from the big city to the sleepy NorCal town of Virgin River, and her simmering romance with local barkeep John “Preacher” Middleton (so many nicknames). Virgin River is pure flannel-shirted comfort food, and this season expands to 12 episodes instead of the usual 10.

The Gray Man | Netflix | Action, drama

Movie premiere, Friday, July 22: With a $200 million+ budget, The Gray Man is the most expensive Netflix movie ever—yes, even pricier than The Interceptor. This Russo Brothers production, based on the Mark Greaney book series, stars Ryan Gosling as the annoyingly-named Court Gentry, a CIA agent-turned-fugitive who’s become the target of a—wait for it—global conspiracy. The Gray Man also stars Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Wagner Moura, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, and Regé-Jean Page.

What to watch on Hulu this week

Grown-ish | Freeform, Hulu | Comedy, drama

Season 5 premiere, Wednesday, July 20: Big changes in store for Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish in season 5: Zoey (Yara Shahidi) has graduated from Cal U and moved to New York to launch her fashion startup just as Junior (Marcus Scribner) starts class at her former college. If Grown-ish runs for a few more seasons, maybe we’ll see the rest of the Johnson kids from Black-ish enroll at Cal U (probably not Jack, though). Longtime Grown-ish fans may lament losing most of O.G. the cast to graduation, but them’s the breaks.

American Horror Stories | Hulu | Drama, horror

Season 2 premiere, Thursday, July 21: The American Horror Story anthology spinoff returns with eight terrifying new tales and new guest stars Alicia Silverstone (Clueless, or, if you prefer, Batman & Robin), Dominique Jackson (Pose), Judith Light (Ugly Betty), Bella Thorne (Infamous), and Quvenzhané Wallis (Annie). This season’s stories include a creepy kidnapper (Denis O’Hare) who turns women into dolls, a serial killer stalking a nightclubber (Thorne), and a whole lotta blood in general. Enjoy!

What to watch on HBO Max this week

Almost Fly | HBO Max | Comedy, drama

Series premiere, Thursday, July 21: In volatile 1990 West Germany, a trio of school friends facing a dead-end life in a remote town hit upon the most logical way out: forming a rap group. The episodic evolution of Almost Fly finds the boys discovering hip-hop, deciding to become rappers themselves, searching for a cool beat (and a name), flopping their first performance, shaking it off, coming back more fly than before—the usual musical journey. One hilarious twist here is the trio rapping English verses they don’t understand at all.

Rap Sh!t | HBO, HBO Max | Comedy, drama

Series premiere, Thursday, July 21: Back modern-day stateside and minus subtitles, Rap Sh!t follows two estranged Miami friends (Aida Osman and KaMillion) who reunite to form a hip-hop duo. Rap Sh!t—note the strategically-placed exclamation point that won’t sit well with my editor—was created by Issa Rae (Insecure), so the funny is guaranteed, but how’s the music? Rae tapped real-life Miami hip-hop duo City Girls as co-producers, so all the bases (and basses) are covered. Two of eight episodes drop July 21.

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W2W wildcards of the week

Trying | Apple TV+ | Comedy, drama

Season 3 premiere, Friday, July 22: British couple Nikki (Esther Smith, Black Mirror) Jason (Rafe Spall, also Black Mirror—same episode, even) spent the first two seasons of British import Trying jumping through the hoops of adopting a child. In season 3, they’ve finally adopted a girl and a boy—happy ending, right? Not exactly: the kids don’t particularly care for Nikki, they’re about to be priced out of their apartment, and, worst of all, the boy is a fan of the wrong football club. Charming Brit comedy FTW.

Primal | HBO, HBO Max | Animation, fantasy

Season 2 premiere, Friday, July 22: Genndy Tartakovsky’s viscerally-animated Primal finally returns after two years off—welcome back, Spear and Fang. In season 2, caveman Spear (voiced by Aaron LaPlante) and his nearly extinct dinosaur friend Fang travel to an even more brutal land to rescue Mira (Laëtitia Eïdo), who’s been recaptured by a savage warrior clan. Primal won three animation Emmys for its first season, so no pressure for the second. Episodes will be available on HBO Max the day after they air on Adult Swim.

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