This Week in TV: ‘What If …?,’ ‘Reservation Dogs,’ Olympics End


The Tokyo Olympics come to a close on Aug. 8, with NBC (and some of their fellow broadcasters) resuming normal schedules the following day. The coming week also features the premiere of Marvel’s animated series What If …?, a comedy focused on Native American teenagers and a J.J. Abrams-produced docuseries about UFOs.

Below is The Hollywood Reporter‘s rundown of premieres, returns and specials over the next seven days. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options for the coming week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.

The Big Show

Suppose it wasn’t Steve Rogers, but Peggy Carter that took the super soldier serum in World War II. Or if T’Challla was not the leader of Wakanda but a Guardian of the Galaxy. Those and other possibilities are explored in What If …?, an animated series from Marvel that indulges in a different flight away from the canon in each episode.

The voice cast includes a host of MCU stars, including Chadwick Boseman in his final performance, Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth and Michael B. Jordan. Jeffrey Wright, as The Watcher, narrates the series. It premieres Wednesday on Disney+.

Also on streaming …

Peacock has the second season of its thriller Departure and the Kevin Hart-hosted talker Hart to Heart debuting Thursday. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in (and created, writes and directs) Mr. Corman (Friday Apple TV+). FX on Hulu debuts a winning comedy, Reservation Dogs, on Monday, following a group of Indigenous kids in Oklahoma. Netflix’s Untold (Tuesday) is a five-week series of feature length sports documentaries; the first is “Malice at the Palace,” about the infamous 2004 NBA brawl.

A few high-profile feature films also debut on streaming this week: The Suicide Squad (Friday, HBO Max); Val (Friday, Amazon), starring and largely shot by Val Kilmer; family animated musical Vivo (Friday, Netflix); and The Kissing Booth 3 (Wednesday, Netflix).

On broadcast …

Olympics: The games’ final weekend include numerous track and field finals, medal games in basketball, soccer, volleyball, water polo and more, leading into Sunday’s closing ceremony (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. ET, NBC).

Also: The NFL kicks off its preseason slate (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT Thursday, Fox0. Following the Olympics closing ceremony, NBC debuts Family Game Fight (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT Sunday), hosted by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. The Wall returns to NBC at 10 p.m. Monday. Season two of Stargirl (8 p.m. Tuesday) debuts and Riverdale (8 p.m. Wednesday) returns from a four-month hiatus on The CW. ABC News’ Superstar (10 p.m. Wednesday) will profile people who “shaped American culture,” beginning with Whitney Houston.

On cable …

New: Showtime looks to the skies with UFO (9 p.m. Sunday), a nonfiction series that will delve into the history of unidentified flying object sightings, potential government knowledge of the phenomenon and “why we believe what we believe.” J.J. Abrams is an executive producer, and Mark Monroe and Paul Crowder direct.

Also: Following UFO, Showtime premieres season two of The L Word: Generation Q at 10 p.m. Sunday. Wild ‘n’ Out returns to VH1 at 8 p.m. Monday, and MTV revives Cribs at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

In case you missed it …

The Pursuit of Love marks the directing debut of actress and writer Emily Mortimer, and based on her assured hand behind the camera, THR critic Daniel Fienberg wonders “if she could have already been doing this sort of work for a decade.” The adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel stars Lily James and Emily Beecham as cousins who face life, love and modernity between the two world wars. The three-hour series, streaming on Amazon, has some tonal inconsistencies, “but there’s still so much confidence to the style and performances” Mortimer brings out.

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