Looking for your next binge-watch, or just need to fill an hour? Welcome to Your Weekly Watch List, our curated collection of the best shows on television. Here’s what to watch from Sunday, July 23 through Saturday, July 29.
This week, Twisted Metal becomes the latest video game to make the jump to TV with a Peacock adaptation starring Anthony Mackie. Meanwhile, Zoe Saldaña and Nicole Kidman join the Taylor Sheridan-verse in Special Ops: Lioness, Futurama resurfaces on Hulu after a 10-year hiatus, and acclaimed comedy This Fool returns for Season 2.
Paramount superproducer Taylor Sheridan tends to keep his shows close to home, but he expands to new parts of the globe in Special Ops: Lioness, an espionage thriller about an elite unit involved in the war on terror. After a mission goes terribly wrong, Joe (Zoe Saldaña), the leader of the CIA's Lioness program — itself inspired by a real U.S. Military initiative — taps a committed Marine, Cruz (Laysla De Oliveira), to be her next recruit. Cruz is tasked with going undercover and befriending the daughter of a suspected terrorist, but as she gets closer to her target, the threat to her safety increases, leaving Joe to make difficult decisions about how to protect her team and the nation at large. At the same time, Joe must contend with orders from CIA higher-ups Kaitlyn Meade (Nicole Kidman) and Donald Westfield (Michael Kelly), who have conflicting ideas about the best course of action.
Special Ops: Lioness marks Sheridan's fifth series on Paramount+, and though his recent comments dismissing the Writers Guild's demand for staffing minimums may put off some viewers, the thriller is worth watching for Saldaña and Kidman, both of whom also serve as executive producers. The duo, along with De Oliveira, ground the show, and as their characters continue to develop, they add depth to what would otherwise be a girlboss-ified take on the military-industrial complex. Two episodes drop Sunday, followed by one every week thereafter.
Begins Sunday, 8:00 PM ET on Discovery Channel
Who better to host Shark Week than Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa? Discovery's highly anticipated event celebrates its 35th anniversary with a lineup of documentaries exploring the ocean's apex predator from every angle. This year's highlights include programs with movie tie-ins — such as Jaws vs The Meg and Cocaine Sharks — scientific investigations into "monster Hammerheads" and "alien sharks," and even a retrospective, Shark Week: Off the Hook, that remembers the biggest thrills and most terrifying moments in the event's history. At least two hours of programming air every night through Saturday, with encores running all week.
Discovery Channel isn't the only network in the Warner Bros. Discovery family embracing the Shark Week spirit: On Tuesday, HBO will debut After the Bite, a documentary about a fatal 2018 shark attack in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Directed by Ivy Meeropol (Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn), the 90-minute documentary offers a portrait of a community reckoning with the rapid changes occurring in the natural world and our interconnected relationship with the wildlife around us.
It's been 10 years since Futurama last graced the screen, but the animated comedy returns as sharp as ever. After jumping around cable from 1999 to 2013 (it aired on Fox from 1999–2003 and on Comedy Central from 2008–2013), the series was revived by Hulu, with 20 episodes set to stream throughout the rest of the year. The current iteration of Futurama reunites creator Matt Groening and the original voice cast — a group that includes John DiMaggio, Billy West and Katey Sagal — for a series of new adventures. Even in the year 3000, 2023 looms large: Season 11 includes its own pandemic (Covid-19 has nothing on Explovid-23), cryptocurrency drama, and some ruminations on the state of streaming TV. Hulu teases that the season also boasts "payoffs to decades-long mysteries," so fans can expect more Fry (West) and Leela (Sagal) romance and intel about evil Robot Santa, among the show's other long-running gags.
Thursday, Peacock (Full Season)
*Our must-watch pick of the week*
Peacock looks to HBO's The Last of Us for inspiration as it adapts PlayStation's Twisted Metal series for the small screen. Though the Twisted Metal games have a less-defined narrative than TLOU, showrunner Michael Jonathan Smith (Cobra Kai) employs a similar strategy, sending his hero — in this case, Anthony Mackie's John Doe — on a harrowing trip across an apocalyptic wasteland. John is an outsider living in the lawless zone beyond the walls of major cities, but when he's tasked with delivering a mysterious package to New Chicago, he believes he's finally been offered a chance at a better life. As he inches closer to his destination, John encounters many of the characters who populate the game series, including deranged clown Sweet Tooth (voiced by Will Arnett), who has turned "Lost Vegas," as it's now known, into his personal killing ground.
Though Twisted Metal recreates the explosive nature of the games with its frequent use of machine guns and ballistic missiles, it approaches this subject matter with a comedic sensibility. Mackie, Marvel's next Captain America, plays up John's zany side, offering flippant commentary and blasting "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis as he fights off marauders. (That lighthearted tone should come as no surprise considering Deadpool's Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick serve as executive producers.) The Peacock adaptation also introduces new characters who prove essential to the narrative: Quiet (Stephanie Beatriz), an ax-wielding car thief, emerges as John's right-hand woman, while Agent Stone (Thomas Haden Church), a power-hungry cop, creates yet another obstacle for the outsiders. In order to make it to New Chicago alive, John and Quiet must learn to trust one another, something that doesn't come naturally to this twosome — or their fellow post-apocalyptic adventurers.
Friday, Hulu (Full Season)
This Fool trades hugs for mugs as it kicks off its sophomore season on Hulu. After losing his job at nonprofit Hugs Not Thugs, Julio Lopez (Chris Estrada, who also co-created the comedy) sets out to find a new career while leaning on his cousin Luis (Frankie Quinones) and former boss Minister Payne (Michael Imperioli) for emotional support. Together, they launch a coffee shop run by ex-gang members (the aforementioned Mugs Not Thugs), but with the venture comes a new set of challenges, from cash flow issues to marketing blunders. Still, armed with Payne's updated philosophy — "F*ck you. Pay us." — and a healthy dose of irreverence, this unlikely group manages to make it work, delivering big laughs, heartwarming moments, and romantic intrigue along the way.
Heels Season 2 Premiere: Friday, 10:00 PM ET on Starz
How To With John Wilson Season 3 Premiere: Friday, 11:00 PM ET on Max
The Golden Boy: Oscar De La Hoya: Monday and Tuesday, 9:00 PM ET on HBO
Full Circle Series Finale: Thursday, Max
Harley Quinn Season 4 Premiere: Thursday, Max
The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders: Thursday, Netflix
A Full Day
The Great British Baking Show: The Professionals Season 7: Tuesday, Netflix
The Witcher Season 3, Volume 2: Thursday, Netflix
Good Omens Season 2: Friday, Amazon Prime Video
How to Become a Cult Leader: Friday, Netflix
Dark Winds Season 2: Sunday, July 30 on AMC
Reservation Dogs Season 3: Wednesday, August 2 on Hulu
Big Brother Season 25: Wednesday, August 2 on CBS
Heartstopper Season 2: Thursday, August 3 on Netflix
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart: Friday, August 4 on Amazon Prime Video
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.