This week marks the official launch of what may be the silliest named streaming service of them all... Peacock! (Hulu, you're off the hook.) The streamer from Comcast and NBCUniversal will be the streaming home for many NBC classics, Universal films, and other licensed shows and movies. It's also a spot for NBC to roll out a bunch of new, original shows that are very NBC-like, so if the idea of an NBC pilot season dumped on you all at once sounds good, then go get 'em, tiger.
Unfortunately, a lot of those original titles available at launch aren't exactly what we'd call "good" -- the new Psych movie is the big exception -- so our picks in this batch focus on the lesser-known specials, documentaries, and imports that have us excited for the week. Those include a raw new series about a strip club on Starz, an eye-opening documentary about child stars on HBO, and a reality competition show in which contestants are horrifically murdered.
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Series premiere Sunday at 8/7c on Starz
The, uhhh, P stands for p---y. But that raw title fits the tone of this drama set in and around a Southern strip club in Mississippi, as well as the struggles of the women who work there to provide for their families and build community. The hourlong drama is beautiful, rich, and unfiltered as it elevates marginalized people -- Black strippers, non-binary individuals, and country folk -- to show their full humanity, and it has the performances to back it up. It all comes together for one of 2020's best new shows. [TV Guide review]
Tuesday at 9/8c on HBO
Former child actor Alex Winter (Bill of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) gets an honest and unvarnished look at child actors through interviews with former kid stars and by documenting a pair of aspiring young actors as they try to make it in showbiz. It's a fascinating look at the industry and the psychological impact -- both good and bad -- on young ones as they dive into Hollywood's star-making machine. Many household names, including Milla Jovovich, Evan Rachel Wood, and Henry Thomas, aren't at all bashful about saying how much they hated being in front of the camera at such a young age, describing the long days on sets and abusive directors they put up with rather than having normal lives, and that pain is felt as Winter intercuts the confessionals with two unknowns going into auditions today. However, it's not all treated as nightmare scenarios and a warning to steer clear of young fame; it's also a fascinating matter-of-fact look at the sacrifices that these actors made, and the behind-the-scenes footage and auditions for movies like Stand By Me and E.T. are awesome. Also of note: Cameron Boyce, the vibrant Disney Channel star who passed away in 2019, is prominently featured in interviews in one of his final moments on film.
Wednesday on Peacock
Psych's first foray into the follow-up film business was exactly what you'd want from a revival, and the follow-up to the follow-up is no different. This time, Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) are back in Santa Barbara investigating a case that's put Lassie (Timothy Omundson) in a private recovery center after being shot multiple times and left for dead. The film, which features nods to Hitchcock, pushes the characters and their stories forward just enough that it doesn't feel like a retread of the glory days, but creator Steve Franks, who co-wrote the film with Roday and Andy Berman, definitely knows what the fans want. Psych 2: Lassie Come Home is full of embarrassing nicknames, wild hijinks, fun disguises, and the same great sense of humor that powered the show for eight seasons. [TV Guide review] - Kaitlin Thomas
Thursday at 8/7c on NBC
Tina Fey's beloved comedy returns for... actually, I'm not sure what this is. It's billed as a special, it's kind of a reunion (since 30 Rock went off the air seven years ago), but it's also going to be an infomercial of sorts. See, the hourlong special will also double as NBC's Upfronts presentation, which is usually a big industry event closed to everyone but press and advertisers in which a network shows off its upcoming new shows, schedule, and stars in an effort to get Madison Ave. to open up its wallet. But since the coronavirus is making things difficult on everyone, NBC is trying this stunt out instead. Parks and Recreation delivered one of the best quarantine productions so far, but can 30 Rock replicate that AND properly hype up the new Law & Order spin-off? This will be an interesting watch for industry insiders and the curious, if no one else.
Series premiere Thursday at 8/7c on The CW
The biggest problem with reality competition shows is that sobbing losers are shuffled off the set in the back of a luxury SUV or have a symbolic torch put out to punctuate their elimination. Boring! In Killer Camp, contestants who get kicked off the show are MURDERED. Well, sorta. The tongue-in-cheek British reality series, which already aired in the U.K. on ITV, is set at a fake American summer camp where its millennial campers must sniff out which one of them is secretly controlling a hooded serial killer that "kills" them when they're eliminated. There are games to get immunity like Survivor, flirty relationships like Love Island, and paranoia among the cast like The Mole, but the coolest parts are the eliminations, in which a contestant is killed in gruesome, slasher-film fashion with the help of prosthetics and plenty of fake blood. Fun!
Friday on Netflix
This documentary from The New York Times follows a military family over 10 years, starting when a single father of two boys heads to Afghanistan for a yearlong deployment, and following up years later after a life-changing injury sends him back home. It's an intimate look at how war doesn't just affect the soldier in it, but the generations that follow. Told from the points-of-view of both the father and his children, Father Soldier Son looks to be one of the most emotional watches of the year.
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