TV July 25-28: Staged, The Good Fight, 100-Foot Wave, Roswell N.M., American Masters: Buddy Guy, How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast), Turning the Table with Robin Roberts

Olympics, obviously, so not a lot of new programming starting over the next few days, so let’s dig into available but maybe new-to-you shows.

Sunday July 25

Staged (Apple TV, via subscription to Hollywood Suite as part of your cable package, Amazon Prime add-on or River TV add-on) Way back at the beginning of the new COVID world order, Welsh actor Michael Sheen and Scottish actor David Tennant had their upcoming London play cancelled by the pandemic. So their producer, Simon, talked them into rehearsing online so they’d be first out of the gate once everything opened up presumably within weeks. Or is that pretence? Or both? Good Omens co-stars and apparent? real-life friends Sheen and Tennant and their wives, Anna Lundberg and Georgina Tennant, play themselves as does series writer Simon Evans and a whole raft of celebrities including Dame Judi and Sir Samuel L. and they are all terribly convincing in navigating the cooped-up crazy-making confinement from which we are, tentativelytouchwood, emerging. And they do it all (mercifully but because it is also unnecessary) with almost no references to the pandemic itself … because they are all the most selfish, self-absorbed, paranoid assholes but in the best possible way. Because they all love each other. I found both parts, well really they are fused as in all good friendships and loveships, equally hilarious and relatable and very very good to watch, especially with a bit of distance. If you are purchasing, I will say Series 1 is laugh-out-loud fantastic and Series 2, which revolves around the inevitable U.S. remake, is much less so, but given the high standard is also quite good (but not necessary). Enjoy!

The Good Fight (Season 5 Thursday nights on W network on demand and via Global TV and Stacked, Seasons 1-3 on Amazon Prime, Season 4 on Paramount+; yeah, they don’t make it easy) Where the 2009-2016 legal drama The Good Wife (all seasons on Paramount+ app), with the luminous Julianna Margulies and the impossible to hate but he gets close here Chris Noth, was superb, exec producers and creators Michelle and Robert King went supernova with this 2017- spinoff, which followed Christine Baranski to an … all black law firm? OK, there are a few leaps here, but they are EARNED, with every season taking on high-concept challenges that flirt with SHUT THE FRONT DOOR but then cleverly unfold, in humour and brilliant denouement, to reveal a solid poke at law, justice, sexual politics, racialization, office politics, love, marriage and even the former U.S. president (OK that got a bit out of hand, but that only seems right) and the current season’s crack on the walnut shell of the lack of justice in the “justice” system. That sounds like a double dose of Buckley’s. No no no. You will smile. You will laugh, you will wish you’d watched this from the start, which you can do right now.

The 100-Foot Wave (9pmCT/10ET Crave, Crave app) Tonight is Episode 2 of this doc series about surfers. And if you are a little surprised to learn that a 61-year-old couch surfer and COMMITTED prairie girl is fascinated with big-wave surf documentaries, thank you for giving it that much thought! My fascination started in 2004 with the doc Riding Giants, which traces the history of big wave riding and introduced me to the magnetic personalities of Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater et al. The soundtrack (Bowie to Waterboys and beyond) didn’t hurt. This new series focusses on comeback-king Garrett McNamara and Co.’s devotion to surviving and conquering the title challenge. And his own fear. Although, even from the first episode, he could stand to pay a little more attention to fear, she wrote from her hermetically sealed apartment. But even so! Anyway, for the record, I prefer to keep nature out of the conquering equation, more of a pack-in/pack-out type, also couch potato etc.,  but crushing self-doubt is always a fascinating ride. I admire this lunatic’s zeal and envy his focus. Thrilling stuff.

Monday July 26

Roswell, N.M. (Season 3 premiere 7pmCT/8ET on Showcase, Stacked app) “More than maybe anywhere else on Earth, Roswell, New Mexico is ground zero for those who seek proof that aliens exist. Roswell native Liz Ortecho (Jeanine Mason) left it all behind 10 years ago after the death of her beloved older sister Rosa. But after the government cuts funding on her biomedical research, she reluctantly returns to her tourist-trap hometown to move back in with her father. When Liz arrives, she reconnects with Max Evans (Nathan Parsons), her teenage crush, who is now a Roswell police officer. Their chemistry is instantly electric. But Liz soon discovers a shocking truth: Max is an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life, along with those of his otherworldly sister, Isobel (Lily Cowles), and their friend Michael (Michael Vlamis). As the two grow closer after a decade apart, Liz finds it difficult to keep the truth from her best friend, Maria De Luca (Heather Hemmens), and her trusting high school ex, Dr. Kyle Valenti (Michael Trevino). Also hiding their extraterrestrial origins are Isobel and Michael, with Isobel not even revealing the truth to her husband, Noah Bracken (Karan Oberoi), and Michael keeping his identity hidden beneath a bad-boy exterior of hard living and casual hookups. Meanwhile, Master Sergeant Jesse Manes (Trevor St. John) spearheads a long-standing government conspiracy — unbeknownst to his son, Alex Manes (Tyler Blackburn), who has recently returned from service overseas with emotional and physical injuries. The politics of fear and hatred that run rampant in Roswell threaten to expose Max and his family and could endanger his deepening romance with Liz… as well as their lives.”

Tuesday July 27

American Masters: Buddy Guy – The Blues Chase the Blues Away (premiere 8pmCT/9ET PBS) “Dive into the career of the legendary blues guitarist, a pioneer of Chicago’s West Side sound and major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Featuring new performances and interviews with Carlos Santana and more.”

How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) (Season 3 premiere Netflix) “Moritz suddenly finds himself totally alone and desperately trying to hold on to power as CEO of MyDrugs. But when Lenny’s condition suddenly worsens and he needs Moritz’s help, the two best friends (and Dan, for some reason) come back together for one last job – with explosive consequences.”

Wednesday July 28

Tattoo Redo (season premiere Netflix) “When terrible tattoos are too much to bear…you cover them up. Five of the most talented tattoo artists in the business take on some of the most embarrassing tattoos and turn them into amazing masterpieces. While comedian and host Jessimae Peluso teases the clients over their lack of judgment, in a fun twist, what they don’t know is that the person that brought them in is going to choose the Tattoo Redo! Will they love it or hate it?”

Turning The Tables With Robin Roberts (premiere Disney+) “Get personal with Robin Roberts and some of Hollywood’s groundbreaking women as they bear witness to their incredible journeys on their path to purpose. Each episode is a profound conversation filled with emotion and inspiration. Listen to never-before-heard stories of how these groundbreakers came face-to-face with their vulnerability, authenticity and intuition. Discover their commonalities and learn how their stories and experiences created room for expansion and evolution.”

See ya Thursday.

Thank you so much for reading this far. So, what is d2tv? So glad you asked. There is so much great TV right now but too much to easily keep track of. So this blog is me sharing my lifelong habit of tracking TV in general, but premieres in particular — series and seasons and one-offs on Canadian broadcast, cable and streaming. And since I’m doing it for myself, I share it here with you, every Sunday and Thursday. So thanks, fellow traveller, for stopping by. If you want this sent to your email inbox instead, shoot me an email or join the 42 others who subscribe (free, no strings) by typing your email into the box at the top right of your browser page, which reads: “SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAIL”. Who am I, Denise Duguay? Been writing about TV since 1986 or so at the Winnipeg Sun, then at the Montreal Gazette, currently at the Winnipeg Free Press and of course here, for myself and YOU! You might want to know – no judgement – I hate and mostly ignore “non-scripted” reality programming.

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