What To Watch: 07/11/2021

Tracy Jordan’s favorite week is here and beyond those sharks that cannot swim on the land we have the anticipated debut of a premium cable satire based at an island resort unlikely to grant the fantasies its hosts and guests might hope. We’ve also got the debut of a Kiwi cop show from the folks whose tendencies to do things in shadows have delighted people. Speaking of shadowy people, Smurf’s murderous gang returns without her for a fifth season. And in something that’s become exceedingly rare, all our staff picks are on conventional TV.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
The White Lotus [HBO, 9p]
This new comedy from Mike White follows couples as they vacation and unwind at a Hawaiian resort. I’m not here for the dark goings-on as much as I am for the cast, which includes Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, and Jennifer Coolidge.

JASON’S PICK:
Wellington Paranormal [The CW, 9p]
They’re dead, they’re dead, but not quite out of this world. From Taiki Watiti and Jermaine Clement, Jojo Rabbit and Flight of the Conchords respectively–and the twistedly charming What We Do In The Shadows together–it’s a downright hilarious looking parody of the ghost hunting format that has taken over whole channels in the last few years. 

BRAD’S PICK:
Animal Kingdom [TNT, 9p]
The dark crime series based on a critically acclaimed Australian movie returns for season 5 tonight. It’s the little gangster show that could. It’s easy to get lost on the shuffle, but this show is worth the time to get caught up on. Smurf is out of the picture so it’s up to then it’s to figure out what’s next for the Cody family.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • For a certain sort, Shark Week is the chance to unleash the kid inside all of us–and can be fun for actual current kids at well. Like most eagerly awaited holidays, Shark Week comes earlier and earlier every year and this week Nat Geo had at least one shark-themed program every day in prime time. However, that shouldn’t dilute the passion of the superfans out there for the annual Discovery theme week that has been going for 34 seasons now. Tonight on DIscovery, we have the Irwin Family presenting Crikey! It’s Shark Week, the silly stunts of Jackass Shark Week, and the totally happening thing Tiffany Haddish Does Shark Week (a special we did not just make up–amazingly, we did not make any of these up). It’s all on the Discovery Channel, of course!
  • Over on Discovery’s streaming arm, Discovery+, Shark Week kicks off with the addition of Shark Academy and Sharkbait with David Dobrik. Who is naming these things? We’d like to shake their hand.
  • As much as sharks and stories of their Summer attacks can generate a certain sort of primal fear, they are rare and a much more immediate threat and horror is the large percentage of our population who refuse a vaccine so we can get out of the pandemic which has plagued us since March of last year. Vaxxed Nation looks into this year’s historic rollout under President Biden as the saving grace that it is, and if the people opposing it are regular viewers of the Smithsonian Channel, maybe it will change their minds.
  • For the latest from the Non-Detective Dolves Crimes genre, PBS offers us Professor T about a fastidious college instructor who semi-reluctantly aids his local constabulary (it’s British) in the solving of local crimes. From its trailer, it identifies as more Agatha Raisin quirky than Inspector [Insert Name Here] moody.
  • If you’re feeling moody, PBS has the return of another Brit crime investigation drama as the fourth season of Unforgotten has its characters all questioning each other as to who is hiding what.
  • For true American dramatics–with the smallest, stress on the smallest, amount of political intrigue–the DC-based Real Housewives of Potomac returns for its sixth season on Bravo.
  • We’re not contractually obliged to finish on a Lifetime movie, but we sure do love doing it. Tonight, it’s the generic gasp-factor title Labor of Lies. In fact, it’s so generic, we’re not going to even try to make something up like we often do and just gonna tell you it’s about a woman trying to get back her abducted baby.

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