In a normal year, summer would be winding down now, with Labor Day drawing near. But this is not a normal year. Summer activities didn't happen, many kids aren't going back to school in any traditional sense, and due to climate change summer-like weather lasts until October now. So, endless summer, wheee! 😬 😬 😬
You may be wanting to check out a little bit. We can't blame you for that, so your picks for entertainment to give you some respite from the constant horror show of 2020 this week include an excellent episode of HBO's Lovecraft Country, a mouth-watering Chef's Table spin-off focused on the world's best barbecue, Season 2 of Amazon's best big show The Boys, the long-anticipated return of an indie film master on Netflix, and much more.
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.
Sunday at 9/8c on HBO & HBO Max
Episode 3 of the genre-hopping Lovecraft Country is the haunted house episode, and it will be your favorite episode of the show until the next episode of the show. The travelers are back from their fatal trip to Ardham and are trying to do their best to move on from they horrors they saw, but the horrors won't let them be. Leti (Jurnee Smollett) buys a house in a white neighborhood in Chicago's North Side that is home to some restless spirits, so she has to deal with them while also dealing with racist aggression from her new neighbors. And this is Lovecraft Country, so the ghosts and the racism are connected. It's a great showcase for Smollett, and the episode has some truly gnarly, stomach-turning horror imagery that will get under your skin as some other people lose theirs.
Tuesday on Netflix
This wholesome series consists of 12 five-minute long episodes in which Black celebrities read children's books by Black authors that highlight the Black experience. Lupita Nyong'o, Common, Tiffany Haddish, Jill Scott, Marsai Martin, Kendrick Sampson, Grace Byers, Caleb McLaughlin, Karamo Brown, Misty Copeland, and Jacqueline Woodson read books including Melanie Goolsby's ABC's For Girls Like Me, Ibram X. Kendi's Anti-Racist Baby, and Thomishia Booker's Brown Boy Joy, among others. The series is hosted and executive-produced by Marley Dias, a 15-year-old author who founded the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. It's an instructive and uplifting little show that kids and parents can enjoy together.
Wednesday on Netflix
This delicious docuseries will make you want to die and go to pig heaven. The acclaimed Chef's Table franchise focuses its food-romancing lens on notable barbecue chefs, including Tootsie Tomanetz, an 85-year-old grandmother who still shovels the coals at her Texas restaurant; Lennox Hastie, a remarkable Australian chef who sources all of his ingredients from the Outback; Rodney Scott of South Carolina, who is known for his whole hog barbecue; and Rosalia Chay Chuc, a traditional Mayan chef who serves cochinita pibil out of her home in Mexico. I've only watched the trailer, and I'm already planning a trip down south to worship at these meat temples. Netflix has BBQ on the brain in a big way in September; there's also a cooking competition show called American Barbecue Showdown coming to the service on Sept. 18.
Season 2 premieres Friday on Amazon Prime Video
One of Amazon's biggest hits returns for its second season of superbad superheroes and, possibly, more dolphin erotica. Eric Kripke's adaptation of the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson graphic novels follows a group of vigilantes looking to expose a team of superheroes for the morally bereft douchebags that they are. In this world, a corporate entity has commercialized a group of superpowered saviors with movie franchises, product endorsements, and a run at a military contract. Season 2 adds Aya Cash as a new hero, Stormfront, who's said to be even more villainous than the show's current master of evil, Homelander (Antony Starr). It's violent, it's gory, and it's hilarious. -Tim Surette
Friday on Netflix
Jason Katims, the executive producer of emotionally complex tearjerker series like Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, has his name on Away, a big-budget sci-fi drama series about the personal struggles of astronauts in space and their families at home. Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank stars as Emma Green, who leaves her husband (Josh Charles) and teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) behind as she commands a three-year mission to Mars alongside an international crew. The series, created by Andrew Hinderaker and executive produced by Katims, has the signature Katims themes of family, hope, and reliance on others, in a setting we've never seen him work in before.
Friday on Netflix
Visionary writer-director Charlie Kaufman returns for his first live-action movie since 2008's Synecdoche, New York with this unnerving movie that's described as a horror-thriller but leans more towards the uncategorizable. It's about a woman (the great Jessie Buckley) who despite planning to break up with her boyfriend (the great Jesse Plemons) goes on a trip to meet his parents (the great David Thewlis and the great Toni Collette) at their isolated farm. Once they're there, things start going very wrong. Like impossibly, existentially, seeing-beyond-the-veil wrong. This movie will be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the next Oscars and it won't win because it's too weird. Or maybe it'll be too weird to even earn a nomination. And by "too weird," I mean AWESOME!
Friday on Disney+
Disney's latest live-action reboot of one of its classic animated films is skipping theaters and dropping on Disney+ due to the pandemic, which is a nice thing, but there's a catch: It will cost an additional on-demand fee of $30 on top of the usual Disney+ monthly subscription. It's a steep price for an on-demand movie, but Disney spent a lot of money on this (it's the most expensive movie ever made by female director, with Niki Caro given a budget of $200 million, approximately $197 million more than she had for Whale Rider), and they'll be damned if they take a loss. The movie itself looks really good, with beautiful visuals and an updated, action-packed, Mushu the Dragon-free take on the 1998 film.
Stop searching, start watching! TV Guide's Watch This Now! page has even more TV recommendations.