High Score, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Love in the Time of Corona, Lovecraft Country, Lucifer, Television, The Bureau

The Best Shows and Movies to Watch This Week: Lovecraft Country, Lucifer

The country is on fire thanks to a sweltering August heatwave, so unless you have a walk-in fridge to hunker down in, we suggest you fill up a kiddie pool in the living room and settle down in front of the TV. And in this edition of the week’s best shows and movies to watch, we’re skipping the hot, hot, hot picks for some cool recommendations. 

I haven’t seen a second of it — I want to watch it on my TV full blast like everyone else — but I can guarantee that HBO’s Lovecraft Country will be the dopest thing on TV this summer, provided you can handle a little horror. I’ve read the book, which is fantastic, and have been waiting to see the series ever since it was announced. If love is more your thing, Freeform’s Love in the Time of Corona is a refreshing quarantine experiment about how we’re all dealing with our lockdowns. And of course, the Democrats are comin’, the Democrats are comin’! The Democratic National Convention will be airing almost all week.

Best New Shows and Movies on Netflix This Week: Project Power, Teenage Bounty Hunters

If this isn’t enough and you’re looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, sign up for our free, daily, spam-free Watch This Now newsletter that delivers the best TV show picks straight to your inbox, or check out the best shows and movies this month on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

Lovecraft Country

Series premiere Sunday at 9/8c on HBO
HBO is going full-on, hair-raising, blood-spurting horror in this new series from showrunner Misha Green based on a book by author Matt Ruff. It follows Korean war veteran Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his photographer friend Letitia Lewis (Jurnee Smollett), and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) as they head out from Chicago in search of Atticus’ missing father Montrose (Michael K. Williams) across 1950s Jim Crow America. There are plenty of monsters, but none of them are as frightening and disturbing as the racism the characters face. It draws inspiration from horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, who infected his stories with hideous racism, but from the opposite direction, reclaiming horror for Black gorehounds. -Liam Mathews

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver‘s 200th Episode

Sunday at 10/9c on HBO
Television’s closest successor to Jon Stewart’s version of The Daily Show hits a milestone this weekend when it airs its 200th episode. John Oliver has previously celebrated landmark episodes with grand musical numbers and other jubilees, but given that he’s doing the show in front of a grey wall now because of quarantine protocols, we probably won’t get anything that extravagant. But even without anything special, Last Week Tonight is always an easy recommendation.

Democratic National Convention

Monday – Thursday, various networks including PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN (How to Watch)
You still have a Mondale/Ferraro bumper sticker on your Volvo wagon, so you may as well tune in to see what the Democratic party looks like today. This year’s Democratic National Convention is going to look very different from past donkey parties because of the coronavirus pandemic, as Democratic figureheads rally votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris over teleconferenced speeches. Biden is expected to accept the nomination live from the DNC headquarters in Milwaukee, but the real question is… can Bernie Sanders, who is scheduled to speak Monday, figure out Zoom? I kid, I kid! 

High Score

Wednesday on Netflix
The history of video games gets the docuseries treatment in this six-episode look at an industry that has moved from Space Invaders to modern games that require the digit dexterity of a ragtime pianist. The presentation is the biggest draw here; stories are told through the help of colorful 8-bit animation, and the tone of the series is pure fun while not getting too academic. The nostalgia is heavy, too. Commercials from the ’80s are frequent and embarrassing, old footage of video game competitions will make you question what we were doing back then, and mint-condition classic consoles will leave you digging around you mom’s attic for hidden treasures. If there’s one knock on it, though, it’s with the choice of interviews and how they dictated the subject matter; do we really need an entire episode on Sega’s Genesis?

The Bureau

Season 5 finale Thursday on Sundance Now
Often compared to Homeland at its best, the French series The Bureau is a hit among critics, telling the story of a French spy working at an agency that operates all over the globe including Iraq, Russia, and Cambodia. For the Season 5 finale, creator Eric Rochant, who had previously steered the slow-burning series since its start, did something really unusual: He gave complete control of the season’s final two episodes to acclaimed French director Jacques Audiard, who put his surreal stamp on the finale. It might be a bit jarring for those who have steadfastly watched the entire series, but it might be an artistic leap that zaps a fresh new jolt into the steady spy drama.

Lucifer

Season 5 premieres Friday on Netflix
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he was canceled. Lucifer, the cult hit that debuted on Fox, was canceled after three seasons before Netflix swooped in to save it. This will be the second season on the streamer, which has already renewed Lucifer for a sixth and final season. This time around, Lucifer is back in Hell while his twin brother Michael comes to Earth to take over his life! So we’re at that point in the series, eh? The first eight episodes of Season 5 drop Friday, with the final eight coming at a later date. 

Love in the Time of Corona

Saturday and Sunday at 8/7c on Freeform
Freeform’s Love in the Time of Corona explores the new and often frustrating obstacles that keep us from connecting with one another while self-isolating during this pandemic. Filmed in its actors’ own houses (and yeah, they did their own hair and makeup), Love in the Time of Corona follows several couples and families as they struggle to keep the ones they love close, despite the distance between them. Whether you’re separated from the ones you love, looking for a new love interest, or simply holding on to the love you’ve got with both hands, this series will definitely hit you with some unexpected feels. The limited series airs in four parts over two nights.

Stop searching, start watching! TV Guide’s Watch This Now! page has even more TV recommendations.

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