Television in August is an arid desert that you have to cross until you get to flourishing September and the splendorous fall. However, in recent years the streaming platforms have been responsible for imbuing the summer with content that makes subscribers stay and take advantage of the fact that viewers have more free time and are less overwhelmed with what’s on offer. But, this year, August is offering a selection that has been reduced to the minimum. In the coming weeks only a handful of platforms such as Netflix and Disney+ are releasing shows destined to resonate strongly among the public. The rest seem to have opted to keep their cards close to their chest. After all, the American audiovisual industry is almost at a standstill with the writers’ and actors’ strikes, and many have preferred to be cautious in case the situation drags on.
On the menu this August are some remarkable titles, such as the final series of the comedy-drama Physical (August 2 on Apple TV+) and the finale of Billions (August 12 on Movistar Plus+), with the return of Damian Lewis to the cast. Among the premieres, Strange planet (August 9 on Apple TV+) stands out, the new animated series for adults that Dan Harmon has created with Nathan W. Pyle, the author of the graphic novel on which it is based. Painkiller (August 10 on Netflix), starring Matthew Broderick, explores the opioid crisis in the United States. In Volver a caer (August 6 on Movistar Plus+), Kate del Castillo and Maxi Iglesias star in an adaptation of the classic Anna Karenina set in present-day Mexico.
Another adaptation, in this case of a comic, is The Chosen One (August 16 on Netflix), which brings to the screen the vignettes of American Jesus to tell the story of a boy who has powers like those of Jesus Christ. The Swedish drama Riding in Darkness (August 29 on FilmIn) is inspired by a real case and delves into the abuse that took place for years in an equestrian center. The second season of Cruel Summer (August 11 on Amazon Prime Video) brings a new teen mystery, and the hooliganism of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (August 30 on Disney+) reaches its 16th season.
Of the premieres and returns of this month, we recommend giving this selection a try.
The series created by Alice Oseman and based on their own graphic novels was a surprise hit in its first season with the brilliance and sensitivity with which it portrayed the relationship between two teenagers. Once that universe is already established and the two young lovers have won the affection of the viewers, the second season starts on solid ground. The adorable Nick and Charlie face a new stage in their relationship, with Nick’s intention to come out to his friends and Charlie, alert to the possible damage that his boyfriend may suffer in the process. This well-balanced and inspiring story of teenage love avoids the vapidity that undermines many teen dramas.
Where and when to see it? The eight episodes of the second season premiere on Thursday, August 3 on Netflix.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
Seven-episode drama that follows several decades in the life of Alice Hart, from when she loses her parents in a fire aged nine until she ends up fighting for her life against the man she loves. When she is orphaned, the little girl goes to live with her grandmother (played by Sigourney Weaver) at a flower farm, where she uncovers mysteries that concern her and her family’s past. The adaptation of Holly Ringland’s debut novel, featuring a strong female-led cast, was shot in Australia and has been brought to the screen by the producers of Big Little Lies.
Where and when to see it? It premieres on Friday 4 on Amazon Prime Video.
Time of victory: The Lakers Dynasty
With its fast pace, casual tone and characters talking to the camera, the drama delves into the hidden stories of the stars of the revolution that the NBA experienced in the early 1980s. The series put the Los Angeles Lakers at the forefront and showed the tensions on and off the court. While the first batch of episodes focused on the 1979-1980 sports season, the new episodes go further to reflect the period between 1980 and 1984, just after the Finals, and culminate with the first professional rematch of the great stars of the time, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Where and when to see it? Starting August 7 on HBO Max.
Only murders in the building
The big draw for the third season of the smart and funny mystery comedy starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez (an already well-oiled on-screen trio) is the addition of Meryl Streep to the cast. As revealed in the trailer, the character of the Oscar-winning actress will be one of the suspects in the death around which the plot of the new chapters will revolve. Charles, Oliver and Mabel will launch themselves to investigate the murder in full performance of a Hollywood star (a character played by Paul Rudd, who already appeared briefly in the second season and who now takes center stage) in what was his Broadway debut.
Where and when to see it? The first two episodes of the third season premiere Tuesday 8 on Disney+. The rest will be available at the rate of one per week.
The tension and adrenaline of a professional kitchen serves as a backdrop for this comedy with more drama than laughs. After all, managing anxiety and grief are at the center of what happens to Carmen, a renowned chef who takes over the family sandwich restaurant. Now, the team will embark on the adventure of starting in a new location, with all the headaches that entails in the form of bureaucracy, dealing with suppliers, and planning menus. The team will have to push their abilities to the limit while some relationships are strained, and others are strengthened. What was one of the best series of 2022 returns with a batch of episodes that have been highly praised by American critics once again.
Where and when to see it? The 10 episodes of the second season premiere on August 16 on Disney+.
Rosario Dawson reprises the character she already played in the flesh in The Mandalorian. Ahsoka Tano, already familiar to Star Wars fans for her journey in several animated series of the saga, is a former Jedi, Anakin Skywalker’s padawan (apprentice), who is now investigating the threat that hangs over the galaxy. As in Obi-Wan Kenobi, Hayden Christensen will reprise his role as Anakin. The cast will also include Natasha Liu Bordizzo playing Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays Hera Syndulla. Lars Mikkelsen stars as Grand Admiral Thrawn, the villain of the story.
Where and when to see it? It premieres on August 23 on Disney+.
The best-selling manga in history becomes a series with flesh and blood characters. The plot follows the adventures of a motley group of characters with superpowers led by Monkey D. Luffy, a young man capable of stretching like rubber who has always longed for freedom and who decides to leave his village. Taking his straw hat, he embarks on a journey in search of a treasure, the One Piece, and thus become the Pirate King. To do this, he will have to gather the best possible crew to sail the oceans and face dangerous rivals. The show is a big budget bet and has enough ambitious special effects to reach large audiences through humor and adventure.
Where and when to see it? All eight episodes will be available on August 31 on Netflix.
Other August highlights
Harlan Coben’s Shelter
Playing with fire
Riding in darkness
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
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