CHICAGO - The TV landscape grows more crowded by the day, but never fear: We’re here to help. Here’s our rundown on the week in TV for Aug. 2-5, 2021.
Monday, Aug. 2: It’s Hometowns Week on The Bachelorette
Justin and Katie Thurston in "The Bachelorette" (ABC/Craig Sjodin)
"The Bachelorette" (ABC, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST): The final leg of Katie Thurston’s "journey to find love" approaches, but first she’s got to meet the parents. Such a moment can be nerve-wracking even when you’re not on national television, and Katie has to do it three times in one night. But hey, if there’s an upside to last week’s surprise suitor departure, it’s that she’ll have one less awkward conversation with a love interest’s suspicious mom.
- "Antiques Roadshow" (PBS, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CST): If you’ve ever thought, "Wow, I bet ‘Antiques Roadshow’ would be a blast if it was nothing but big finds," then tonight’s back-to-back "Treasure Fever" episodes are for you.
- "Small Town News KPVM Pahrump" (HBO, 9 p.m/8 p.m. CST): This HBO docuseries follows the team behind KPVM Pahrump, a privately-owned local news station in a small town in the Nevada desert. The series premieres tonight with back-to-back episodes.
- "The Beast Must Die" (AMC, 10 p.m./11 p.m. CST): AMC’s sharp revenge series continues to barrel toward its finale; after tonight, only two episodes remain. The good news is that’s plenty of time to catch up on all the great acting, courtesy of co-stars Cush Jumbo and Jared Harris.
- "Hell’s Kitchen" (FOX, 8 p.m./9 p.m. CST): ICYMI, Gordon Ramsay’s TV hotspot opened its doors for the 300th time back in June; tonight’s encore presentation will give viewers who missed it the first time a chance to watch the teams cook for Mike Tyson and NASCAR’s Kurt Busch.
Tuesday, Aug. 3: HBO reflects on "Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union"
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff applaud in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, courtesy of HBO)
"Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union" (HBO, 9 p.m./10 p.m. CST): This three-part docuseries from Peter Kunhardt ("John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls") looks at "the personal and political journey of President Barack Obama, as the country grapples with its racial history." Tonight’s 100-minute episode begins in childhood; parts two and three (airing Wednesday and Thursday, also at 9 p.m.) take viewers through the Obama presidency, as seen "with the clarity of hindsight and perspective of the last four years."
- "Pray Away" (Netflix, 3:01 a.m./2:01 a.m. CST): Produced by TV superproducer Ryan Murphy and Blumhouse exec Jason Blum, this documentary looks at the origins and impact of so-called "conversion therapy."
- "Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail" (TBS, 10:30 p.m/9:30 p.m. CST): Steve Buscemi, Daniel Radcliffe and company pull their wagon train off the trail and into a den of debauchery and vice in tonight’s episode, "What Happens in Branchwater."
- "LEGO Masters" (FOX, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST): This two-hour encore presentation is a great place to start for those who haven’t yet given "LEGO Masters" a try. Who doesn’t want to watch people make elaborate LEGO hats while Will Arnett cheers them on?
- "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m./2:01 a.m. CST): If the ‘90s really are back in fashion, perhaps its time to revisit this Teri Hatcher/Dean Cain superhero romance.
Wednesday, Aug. 3: "Cooking with Paris" goes into the kitchen with an heiress
Paris Hilton in "Cooking with Paris" (Kit Karzen/Netflix)
"Cooking with Paris" (Netflix, 3:01 a.m./2:01. a.m. CST): No, Paris Hilton is not an accomplished cook. According to a Netflix press release, she’s "not a trained chef and she’s not trying to be." But that should be immediately apparent from the trailer, which includes less cooking than chaos. The complete first season arrives today.
- "Forged in Fire" (History, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CST): Tonight, the world’s premiere competitive blacksmithing show brings its "Armed Forces Tournament" to a close.
- "Cocaine Cowboys: the Kings of Miami" (Netflix, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): Heads up, true-crime fans: this lively docuseries about the "largest drug case in history" comes in hot today.
- "Marvel Studios Legends" (Disney+, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): If you need a little refresher on some of the finer points of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney+ has got you covered. Today’s episode blows the dust off of Peggy Carter, The Avengers Initiative and the Ravagers.
Thursday, Aug. 4: The NFL returns (sort of), and so does "The Suicide Squad"
Joel Kinnaman, John Cena, Margot Robbie, and Peter Capaldi in "The Suicide Squad" (Photo: DC Comics / Warner Bros.)
"The Suicide Squad" (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): "Guardians of the Galaxy" writer-director James Gunn does a soft reboot on the band of DC baddies with a film he’s called a "war-caper." In an average year, you’d need to buy a ticket (and probably a large popcorn) to see this sucker. You still can — it’s in theaters, too — but, as with the Gal Gadot-starring "Wonder Woman 1984" and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s "In the Heights" in months previous, this blockbuster will be streaming on HBO Max for the next 30 days.
Erin Andrews (Photo: FOX Sports)
"NFL/Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys" (FOX, 7:30 p.m./6:30 p.m. CST): Okay, so maybe the NFL’s not totally back in session, but this year’s annual Hall of Fame game should still be a good one, as two of the league’s most popular teams go head-to-head in Ohio.
- "American Horror Stories" (FX on Hulu, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): This new "Twilight Zone"-style anthology series from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk continues with a pregnancy-centric fright fest; Ryan Murphy regular Billie Loud stars.
- "Behind the Music" (Paramount+ , 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): It was only a matter of time before someone rebooted this seminal documentary series. Tonight’s episode centers on Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis and the News fame.
- "Furry Friends Forever: Elmo Gets A Puppy" (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): Exactly what it sounds like.
All week long: The Olympics continue and the original blockbuster streams for free
TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 01: Sunisa Lee of Team United States looks on during the Women's Uneven Bars Final on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 01, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Im
The Olympics: The games continue, and so does NBC’s coverage, including its primetime replays of key events. If you want a slightly more irreverent recap, "Olympic Highlights with Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg" (Peacock, Monday and Wednesday, 6:01 p.m./5:01 p.m. CST) seems like a safe bet.
"Twisted House Sitter" (Tubi, currently streaming): This Tubi original has a lot going for it, including but not limited to the fact that it’s under 90 minutes long and thus weeknight-friendly. Who doesn’t value a little mid-week scare from time to time?
"Jaws" (Tubi, currently streaming): And speaking of mid-week scares and Tubi, this week ushers in "Shark Month: Bitefest" on the free streamer, and this stone-cold Steven Spielberg classic leads the shark-pack. Insert your own "gonna need a bigger boat" joke here.
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About the writer: Allison Shoemaker is a Chicago-based pop-culture critic and journalist. She is the author of "How TV Can Make You Smarter," and a member of the Television Critics Association and the Chicago Film Critics Association. She is also a producer and co-host for the Podlander Presents network of podcasts. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @allisonshoe.