There’s plenty of Shark Week programming (which I’m not going to bother detailing here) along with a few new shows; Tuesday in particular is a black hole of new reality programming.
Monday, August 11
The Approval Matrix (11-11:30 pm, Sundance)
New York magazine’s back-page pop-culture graph becomes a weekly show hosted by Neal Brennan and featuring a revolving cast of panelists. It probably seemed like a much better idea in the conceptual stage.
Tuesday, August 12
Pick Your Poison
You may have noticed that I generally avoid mentioning reality programming here because it’s almost always terrible, our society’s equivalent of “bread and circuses.” Eventually the inexplicable popularity of these shows is going to fade, but meanwhile there are no fewer than four new reality shows premiering tonight: 4th and Loud (about Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s arena-football team, 9-10 pm, AMC); Sisterhood of Hip-Hop (aspiring female performers, 9-10 pm, Oxygen); Cement Heads (workplace show about a family-run construction company, 10-11 pm, A&E); and The Singles Project (“real-time” dating show with audience feedback, 10-11 pm, Bravo).
Wednesday, August 13
Legends (9-10 pm, TNT)
A new spy thriller based on a novel by Robert Littell about Martin Odum (Sean Bean), an undercover specialist who has had so many different assumed identities, he may be starting to lose touch with who he really is.
Thursday, August 17
Groundhog Day (6:45-9 pm, Sundance)
A brilliant movie, always worth a rewatch; if somehow you haven’t seen it, now’s your chance.
Friday, August 15
Human Resources (10-10:30 pm, Pivot)
What’s Pivot? A channel for “millennials” (ugh) that also shows the comedy Please Like Me and reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars. What’s Human Resources? A new docuseries about TerraCycle, a New Jersey company that wants to recycle everything we use.
Saturday, August 16
Katt Williams: Priceless: Afterlife (10- 11 pm, HBO)
The comedian’s new special was taped in Ontario, CA.
Sunday, August 17
Glory (10 pm-12:30 am, Sundance)
A little history on a slow night: Glory tells of the Army’s first black regiment, assembled in Massachusetts during the Civil War, and their white commanding officer, starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Andre Braugher. (There’s a memorial to the 54th on Beacon Street across from the State House.)
A Young Doctor’s Notebook and Other Stories (2012)
A doctor reflects on his early career in a small village in Russia during the Revolution in this darkly comic four-episode series. Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe play the older and younger versions of the doctor. (Season two premieres on Ovation on August 18th at 10 pm, so this should give you just enough time to watch season one.)
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)