With nationwide temperatures stuck in the high nineties like some kind of cherry on top of the sundae of this hellish year, the drive to leave the living room has hit an all-time low. Wherever has air-conditioning is where it’s at — and so it falls to TV to keep us entertained.
Reigning reality-competition champ The Voice will return on NBC, and the Peacock will also host coverage of the holy grail of sports-TV programming (crossover division) known as the Summer Olympics. Some under-loved critical darlings are returning for another season, and really, it’s only a matter of time until talk show (or rather, “talk show”) provocateur and ranch-dressing aficionado Eric Andre makes waves with something scandalous and/or disgusting on his returning Adult Swim series, most likely involving his intimate anatomy. Draw those blinds, grab the remote and read on.
Olympic Games Opening Ceremony (NBC, 8/5)
New Year’s Eve countdowns, the Super Bowl, apocalyptic Presidential-candidate speeches — massive, unifying events like these are what mind-hive–must-see event television is all about. And few things have quite the sense of occasion and spectacle as the Olympic Games. While the actual events may very well cripple host city of Rio de Janeiro past the point of possible recovery, we’ll all be too awestruck by whatever lavish show the Brazilians have put together for the opening ceremony to worry about the socioeconomic impacts. Expect a blowout paying tribute to the nation’s cultural traditions with an aesthetic of lush tropicalia to match — and then stay tuned to watch Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps wow the globe yet again.
The Eric Andre Show (Adult Swim, 8/5)
The comedian most recently popped up at the RNC in July to mock unhinged radio personality Alex Jones, and he’ll bring that same spirit of prankish antagonism to his returning talk show this month. The fourth season of the bizarre, genre-defying late-night program (think Letterman meets Tim and Eric meets a close-up shot of a waggling penis) will acquaint Andre and trusty cohost Hannibal Buress with such personalities as T.I., Amber Rose, and Jack McBrayer. Andre treats the usual chat-show format like Picasso treated faces: dicing, distorting and rearranging until it’s something harsh, fascinating, and entirely original.
The Little Prince (Netflix, 8/5)
This long-delayed adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s landmark French novel will have a small run in theaters, but anyone with a Netflix account will have access to it without having to get out of bed. Kung Fu Panda co-director Mark Osborne employs a mix of stop-motion and computer animation for his take on the story of a lonely prince who falls to Earth and tries to find a friend. A star-studded roster of vocal talent is on board as well, including Paul Rudd, James Franco, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Paul Giamatti, and Benicio Del Toro. Never underestimate the value of children’s entertainment that isn’t an Ice Age movie.
Fear the Walking Dead (AMC, 8/21)
After a three-month hiatus, the spinoff TV show returns for the final eight episodes of their second season, in which the ragtag band of zombiepocalypse survivors deal with the fallout over (spoiler alert!) Thomas’ death and the undead ever-nipping at their heels. The creators have been typically tight-lipped about what to expect from the latter half of the season, but knowing how they roll the Walking Dead universe, chances are that a couple prominent names will up the body count one or two notches.
Better Late Than Never (NBC, 8/23)
An Americanized version of Korean reality smash Grandpas Over Flowers, this travelogue-style show sends aging celebrities Henry Winkler, William Shatner, George Foreman and Terry Bradshaw backpacking across Asia with only younger stand-up Jeff Dye as their guide. While roughing it in the wilds of Japan, South Korea, and China, the four men will cross items off their bucket list and get in touch with their inner selves. (Word is that Shatner converted to Buddhism and made peace with his own mortality after visiting a monastery during production.)
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC, 8/23)
Flush with critical hosannas but always in need of a bump in viewership, AMC’s stylistically bold period piece returns for Season 3.0 with hopes that positive word-of-mouth will finally give it the larger audience it deserves. Set in the Eighties during the early days of the personal-computer revolution, the drama tracks the struggles of an underdog tech company as they relocate to the belly of the beast, a.k.a. Silicon Valley. With an assured visual flair that’s earned the series comparisons to Mad Men and reliably strong performances from Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy, this could — and should — be your new fan obsession.
The Strain (FX, 8/28)
Guillermo del Toro’s vampire-virus horror series has built a devoted following over two strong seasons, and co-creators Carlton Cuse and Chuck Hogan have promised will be the most intense season yet. And given that the vampiric monsters known as strigoi advanced from a quarantined hazard to an uncontrollable force of destruction at the end of last season, viewers should expect more gore than ever before. All that and with Corey Stoll — so great in the recent Cafe Society and HBO’s Girls — turning in outstanding work week after week.
You’re the Worst (FXX, 8/31)
TV’s scathing, tenderhearted anti-romance wrapped its second season with the three most terrifying words a couple can say to one another: “I love you.” (Cue fire, brimstone, chaos.) Card-carrying misanthropes Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) will have to reconcile their chronic negativism with the feelings blossoming between the two of them, most likely while getting obliterated. Cash delivered some career-best performances last season as she came to grips with her deep-seated depression; the pressure’s on the show now to go even deeper into her character in search of darker and funnier material.