What To Watch: 06/17/2021

High schoolers and Olympians, zombies and chefs (top ones, at that), come together and form the majesty that is a Thursday night’s television in June.

Black Summer [Netflix]
Given its darker tone, it’s hard to believe that this is spin off of Z Nation. It is though, and as the opening scene of season 2 shows it’s as vicious as ever. The direction in this series, pardon the cliche, really makes you feel you are part of the action. And Jamie Pressly deserves more work after he star

The ’96 Effect [Peacock]
We’re in that rare, weird situation where we can celebrate the 25th anniversary of Olympics moments in an actual Olympics year. This is one of two Peacock documentaries looking into the successes of women in the 1996 Atlanta Olympiad.

Top Chef [Bravo, 7p]
Last week the chefs received care packages from home and were tasked to create a dish from the heart. Emotions ran high as everyone’s homesickness has been compounded by the pandemic. We said goodbye to Maria and now we’re down to the final four! This week they are headed to the Tillamook cheese factory to make cheddar inspired dishes.

202ONE U.S. Tokyo Olympic Trials [NBC, 10p]
Tonight’s Olympics trials feature day five of men’s and women’s swimming. Why not bone up on Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps ahead of the crowd?


  • The kids of Generation continue to live, love and explore as the racy high school show returns for the back half of its debut season on HBO Max.
  • Going in the other direction, the 40-something healthcare professionals of Hospital Playlist contiue to also live, love, and realize they have much more to explore as after one of the most popular first seasons in K-drama history, the Korean show returns for a second going on Netflix.
  • Volcanic eruptions are a familiar occurrence on the small-ish island nation that’s given us Bjork and Skyr. New Netflix thriller series Katla ponders what might happen if odd happenings started to pop up after one such blast.
  • David Schwimmer plays an overbearing and often bumbling NSA agent working as liaison in the cyber crimes division of the UK government in a farce that is surprisingly not new but starting its second season on Peacock, Intelligence.
  • While the old-school networks seem to be committed to mine the past for every semi-successful game show from the past, ABC returns two of its relatively new ones for new seasons: the golf-inspired Holey Moley and the interactive theater echoling The Hustler. One is hosted by Rob Riggle, the other by Craig Ferguson. Which one does which MAY surprise you–although we really can’t imagine why.
  • Since we will no longer–at least for a while as it relocates–keep up with a certain extended Armenian-American family, we now have to play catch-up with Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Reunion Special on E!
  • While admittedly, we have mostly ignored the revival of iCarly, but we have to admit there’s a bit of a rumbling buzz around it that suggests they might be doing something quirky (well, even quirkier) and clever with this Nickelodeon reboot. After nine years off the air, Miranda Cosgrove returns as the now 20-something titular character, now on Paramount+ with most of the usual set of surrounding characters intact.
  • Back to Peacock, where we have a documentary exploring our persisting–and oft times dangerous–connection to a battle which tore apart our country over 160 years ago. And given that people are flying the Confederate flag and arguing how we don’t need education that recognizes racism at the same time one of the two parties is working to disenfranchise people of a certain hue, Civil War (Or Who Do We Think We Are) is pretty fucking timely.
  • For an idea of what Superdeep, the new Russian flick on Shudder is like, think Chernobyl, but with a more supernatural twist as an ecological disaster leads to strange effects on humanity.
  • On an even more terrifying tip, we have the latest in Lifetime movies–at least going by its title–The Killer in My Backyard. We’re thinking it’s about a killer… in someone’s backyard. Well, we’re off to reflect on what we’ve done. Enjoy TV!

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