What To Watch: 07/17/2021

Like a high school student who has waited til the last minute to get their homework done, we’re hitting the history books hard this Sunday. Or, well, the history documentaries. Beyond two new History Channel films catching our eyes, there’s also the more recent examination of our country’s more recent, and often shameful, history.

Colosseum [History, 9p]
I am reluctant to recommend anything on the History Channel–it seems so long since anything was remotely historically accurate–but this violent, dramatic limited mini-docuseries which “utilizes dramatic live-action sequences and special effects to infuse excitement into the personal narrative of each historic character” looks…fun? Each episode features one of eight historical characters and their involvement in the Colosseum, which was used for gladiatorial spectacle and “a variety of other events”

History’s Crazy Rich Ancients [History, 10p]
The gaudy title here pretty much confirms Katherine’s misgivings about the History Channel above. While they have been at least starting to come close to covering the actual stories of the past, again, it’s still often in the most tabloid-soaked of manners. Although the title is clearly a pun on a recent movie, it makes me more think of Egyptian rulers sending mean heiroglyphs or forwarding fake cross-country messengers. In any case, the hope here is the content is deeper than its pun-happy (and admittedly kinda fun) title.

United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell [CNN, 10p]
If you wanted to find a more relevant documentary series than this one by one of the greatest (and tallest) standups, you’d have your work cut out for you. This week’s episode examines what it is like to be Black in Appalachia. in a more and more divided world we need more no nonsense analysis like that of W Kamau Bell.


  • The international espionage intrigue of Blood & Treasure moves from CBS to Paramount+ for its second season. Is it a downgrade? An upgrade? Do they think the show just fits better with a younger audience? Is streaming even a younger audience? We’re purporting to be the Scholars and even we don’t know.
  • Pope is in a precarious situation on tonight’s episode of TNT’s Animal Kingdom. The episode is titled “Incognito” and NFL superjerk Ritchie Incognito just retired yesterday, so that must mean something, right?
  • Percival is under the microscope by Archie, Jughead, et al, as the 115th episode spectacular of Riverdale on The CW.

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