Every time I turn around another week has passed, and while I'm not entirely convinced an evil witch isn't stealing my youth for her own personal gain, each new week brings with it a new selection of programming to watch, so I can't really be mad about turning into an old lady before my own eyes. The best shows to watch this week include two of TV's best comedies, which are returning after far too long away, and three exciting new dramas. There's also a new movie on Netflix that features an embarrassingly stacked cast, so there's a lot of variety to be found.
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Monday at 9/8c on HBO
HBO's new limited series The Third Day asks a lot of its viewers but is a solidly compelling, and somewhat spooky, watch. The puzzle box mystery is set on a mysterious island off the coast of England where the inhabitants are set on preserving their traditions at any cost. But things aren't quite what they seem in the six-episode psychological thriller, which is split into three-episode arcs known as "Summer" and "Winter," after Sam (Jude Law) rescues a teen after a suicide attempt and returns her to the island. He finds himself stuck there when the tide comes in, which gives him time to figure out what's going on in this peculiar part of the world. But as winter comes and the series tackles themes of death and rebirth, Naomie Harris' Helen takes over the story as a woman who visits the island several seasons after Sam's stay looking for answers. We can't actually promise you'll get those answers, but the show is definitely worth a watch. [TV Guide Review]
Monday at 10/9 on HBO
Co-created, co-written, and directed by Call Me By Your Name's Luca Guadagnino, the moody but authentic teen drama We Are Who We Are is likely to become your next obsession, no matter your age. Set on an American military base in Italy in 2016, the series follows the daily lives of Fraser (Jack Dylan Grazer), the new kid on base whose mother (Chloë Sevingy) is also the general, and Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamón), whose father (Kid Cudi) is of a lower rank. It's one of the few shows in recent years to perfectly capture the essence of being a teen, to be at an age in which everything that happens feels monumental and you feel like no one could possibly understand you. Basically, it's a show that your teen self would have felt seen by, and therefore it will take you back to that time in your own life.
Wednesday on Netflix
This "Midwestern Gothic" psychological thriller based on an acclaimed novel by Donald Ray Pollock features an excellent ensemble cast including Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough, Bill Skarsgård, and led by Tom Holland. Holland plays Arvind Russell, a young man trying to protect his family from the forces of corruption in the rural Southern Ohio town of Knockemstiff. It's rated R for "violence, bloody/disturbing images, sexual content, graphic nudity, and language throughout." Hell -- and I can't stress this enough -- yes. –Liam Mathews
Season 11 premieres Wednesday at 10/9c on FXX
Everyone's favorite animated spy comedy is back with back-to-back episodes that find Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) back in action after a three-year coma, which is how the show expertly explains the wild journey the series went on the last few seasons as it experimented with new genres. But while Archer wants to get back to work and back to his old ways, the rest of the team might not be too happy about going backwards. The show's audience, however, might feel otherwise.
Season 2 premieres Friday on Hulu
The long-awaited second season of Hulu's middle school-set comedy that makes every woman who was a young teen in the early 2000s die of embarrassment with each new episode is finally back. In the new season of Pen15, which is split in half (seven episodes drop this month, while the final seven will air in 2021), Anna (Anna Konkle) and Maya (Maya Erskine) continue to struggle through seventh grade; there are sleepovers and pool parties and school plays, all of which are bound to dredge up past traumas for everyone watching at home. It's awesome.
Friday on Netflix
Does anyone in the TV world feel themselves harder than Ryan Murphy? You would have to wake up every day feeling like Allen Iverson in 2001 to even consider making a prequel series to the 1962 novel/1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -- one of the most acclaimed movies ever made -- focusing on the character of Nurse Ratched, let alone doing it in a totally different tone and style from the movie, changing from a straightforward drama to a psychological thriller. But Murphy only puts up big shots, and this one stars his frequent collaborator Sarah Paulson in a colorful period piece set in 1947 that tells the cruel nurse's origin story. Ratched's all-star cast also includes Vincent D'Onofrio, Sharon Stone, and former New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. – Liam Mathews
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