What to Watch This Weekend | July 20–23
CableTV.com’s righteous viewing recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this weekend.
Real talk: If the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes aren’t resolved soon (and fairly), we’re going to have nothing to watch this fall but reality shows and reruns. You don’t want to see it, and I certainly don’t want to write about it. There’s also the small detail of the entire related economy of southern California possibly tanking. Support the writers and actors however you can. #WGAstrong #SAGAFTRAstrong
This week’s What to Watch picks include the comeback of ’70s comedy Minx, sci-fi comedy They Cloned Tyrone, the premieres of Justified: City Primeval and Special Ops: Lioness, VICE’s Dark Side of the 2000s docuseries, and high-flying SlamBall action. So much hot TV this week!
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What’s premiering this week
Minx | STARZ | Comedy, drama
Season 2 premiere, Friday, July 21: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “Warner Bros. Discovery canceled your favorite show, removed it from WBD platforms, and sold it off to another streaming service.” That’s Minx, a Max original that premiered to acclaim in 2022 only to be canceled and scrubbed. Fortunately, STARZ picked up the already-completed second season (and season 1). The story: a 1970s feminist (Olivia Lovibond) and a skeevy porn publisher (Jake Johnson) team up to launch the first erotic magazine for women; hilarity and much male nudity ensue.
Coverage begins Friday, July 21: Initially dismissed as the dumbest idea in sports, SlamBall has been a televised competition since 2002—let’s see Power Slap top that. SlamBall is a trampoline-based sport that combines basketball, hockey, and extreme bouncy-house action for a full-contact, high-flying hoops experience. Games kicking off the 2023 season in Las Vegas on July 21 will include Rumble vs. Mob, Slashers vs. Lava, Wrath vs. Gryphons, and Ozone vs. Buzzsaw (also, the teams have cool names). The season wraps with a championship game on August 17—go Buzzsaw!
What to watch on Netflix this week
The Deepest Breath | Netflix | Documentary
Movie premiere, Wednesday, July 19: If you think SlamBall sounds dangerous, take a look into the extreme sport of freediving, where undersea competitors dive as deeply as possible using only their breath—no scuba gear. The Deepest Breath focuses on Italian champion Alessia Zecchini and her safety diver as they prep to traverse an 85-foot-long tunnel 180 feet below the surface of the Red Sea while avoiding a pressure-induced blackout … or worse. Come for the stunning underwater photography, stay for the tension and danger.
They Cloned Tyrone | Netflix | Comedy, sci-fi
Movie premiere, Friday, July 21: The fashion and attitude of They Cloned Tyrone deserves as much, if not more, attention than the actual story, a Blaxploitation-meets-sci-fi absurdist comedy about a government cloning conspiracy. Fontaine (John Boyega), Yo-Yo (Teyonah Parris), and Slick Charles (Jamie Foxx) find themselves embroiled in said conspiracy and spring into action to fight their way out—stylishly AF, of course. IndieWire reviewed They Cloned Tyrone as a “genre-bending social satire” akin to Sorry to Bother You, but … who’s Tyrone?
What to watch on Hulu this week
Series premiere, Tuesday, July 18: The original 2010–2015 Justified series is a tough act to follow, but the new Justified: City Primeval lives up to the legacy (in the same Tuesday FX timeslot, no less). Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) left Kentucky for Miami years ago to raise his teen daughter Willa (played by Olyphant’s actual daughter Vivian), but soon finds himself in Detroit tracking down criminal fugitive The Oklahoma Wildman (Boyd Holbrook). The eight-episode Justified: City Primeval debuts two episodes July 18 on FX, July 19 on Hulu.
Series premiere, Friday, July 21: Freeform is going weird with its first-ever animated series, Praise Petey, wherein New York City socialite Petey St. Bart (voiced by Annie Murphy) inherits her late father’s comet-worshipping doomsday cult in her small hometown of New Utopia. Rather than say “hard pass,” Petey decides to take on the task of modernizing the cult, the first order of business being to eliminate ritual human sacrifices (which doesn’t go over well). Other Praise Petey voices include John Cho, Stephen Root, and Christine Baranski; two of 10 episodes premiere July 21.
What to watch on Paramount+ this week
I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream | Paramount+ | Documentary
Series premiere, Tuesday, July 18: The definitive documentary about the 1980s hair-metal scene was, is, and always will be 1988’s The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. But I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream looks like fun (and they got the apostrophe placement right). The three-part rock docuseries interviews members of Skid Row, Twisted Sister, Winger, Vixen, and The Scream about the heyday of spandex and AquaNet, alongside more Day-Glo MTV video clips than you can squint at through pink Ray-Bans. Oh yeeeaaahhh!
Special Ops: Lioness | Paramount+ | Action, drama
Series premiere, Sunday, July 23: Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan drops his sixth Paramount+ series in five years, but this one’s not all about broody dudes. Special Ops: Lioness is based on an IRL CIA program that trains female undercover operatives. When young Marine Cruz (Laysla De Oliveira) is recruited by a CIA station chief (Zoe Saldaña) to infiltrate a terrorist organization, she soon realizes that she might be in over her head (but probably not). The action-packed Special Ops: Lioness also stars Nicole Kidman and Morgan Freeman; two episodes stream July 23.
W2W wildcards of the week
Dark Side of the 2000s | VICE | Documentary
Series premiere, Tuesday, July 18: While not as comprehensive as CNN’s The 2000s docuseries, VICE’s four-part Dark Side of the 2000s does feature Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath as its narrator—can’t get more ’00s than that. The series also concentrates on some of the most zeitgeist-y topics of the early 21st century: reality series Jon & Kate Plus 8, MTV’s mega-popular Total Request Live, the travails of ex-child star Lindsay Lohan, and the rise of news game-changer TMZ, among others. Spike up those frosted tips, viewers.
Tacoma FD | truTV | Comedy
Season 4 premiere, Thursday, July 20: Whoda thunk that a comedy series about firefighters from the Super Troopers guys would last one season, let alone four? Credit show creators and stars Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan for maintaining a consistantly ridiculous workplace sitcom that’s a worthy first-responder flipside to cop-shop comedy Reno 911! Tacoma FD is also the last remaining non-reality series on truTV, so you should watch it as hard as you can before Warner Bros. Discovery replaces it with another Impractical Jokers spinoff (blech).