Media Manda is back with new TV trends to watch for August. A mix of mystery, suspense, action, and light hearted comedy are heading your way. Which are worth watching? Media Manda has the answers.
by Amanda Thornton A.K.A. Media Manda
Development Assistant, Red Arrow Industries
DARKNESS – Discovery Channel, premiering August 3 at 10p
In each episode of Darkness, three participants will attempt to locate each other, find and ration food and water, as well as explore and map the darkness and find a way out. Scary dark spaces include prehistoric cave systems, ancient subterranean cities and centuries-old abandoned mines.
Review: Being trapped in a dark environment and trying to find your way out sounds like most people’s worst nightmare. So of course, after the success of Naked and Afraid, Discovery wants to continue the trend of being stranded somewhere and having to survive. I, for one, would not want to be alone in a cave in the dark and try to get out. Just watching the movie The Descent is enough for me, but this sounds like an interesting take on the survival genre.
CARPOOL KARAOKE – Apple Music, premiering August 8
Carpool Karaoke: The series features 16 celebrity hosts riding in a car together belting out their favorite tunes. Corden will appear in a handful of the 16 episodes, with various celebrities taking his seat during the remainder. Will Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, Seth MacFarlane, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Chelsea Handler, Blake Shelton, Michael Strahan, Jeff Gordon, John Cena are among the celebrities also scheduled to appear in the series.
Review: This series was meant to launch four months ago, but Apple delayed it until August with no reason given. The segment, now series, is getting old in my opinion. Celebrities just drive around in a car and sing songs. All the while, I’m really wondering if they’re watching the road. When will they rear-end someone? I guess we’ll find out when Carpool Karaoke premieres. You’ll need to subscribe to Apple Music to watch the series. I’ll just stick to watching it on The Late Late Show with James Corden.
THE LOWE FILES – A&E, premiering August 2 at 10p
Rob Lowe and his two sons, Matthew and John Owen, travel through the country to explore infamous unsolved mysteries, a curiosity that Rob has had since his early childhood days and has now been passed down to his boys. In each episode, Rob, Matthew and John Owen seek out a mysterious story or spooky legend and immerse themselves in the exploration and debate of the experience.
Review: Just when you thought every celebrity had their own reality show, Rob Lowe and his sons appear. When I first heard of this series, I honestly didn’t realize Rob Lowe had children. The trailer for The Lowe Files is obviously going for a Supernatural-esque vibe back when Supernatural was a “monster of the week series” about two brothers hunting supernatural things. The Lowe Files looks like an interesting show. Apparently Rob Lowe talked to a ghost in this show as well so there’s that to look out for.
‘90s HOUSE – VH1, premiering August 16
No smart phones, Wi-Fi or GPS allowed in this house but tons of the fun, fashion and pop culture moments will be rebooted back to reality. Hosted by Lance Bass and full of cameos from the 90’s most beloved celebrities, a cast of Generation Z-ers will live in this house surrounded by the nostalgia of the ‘90s they never got to experience.
REVIEW: There’s no escaping the ‘90s in media today. O.J. is getting parole, it’s the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death this year, and reboots of ‘90’s films are everywhere (Jumanji, IT, Blade Runner 2049, The Mummy, etc). Of course, networks are capitalizing on this with nostalgia reality series. Hopefully, these poor Gen Z-ers can survive in this horrific environment without smart phones. They probably don’t even know who Lance Bass is. In all honesty, I’ll probably watch this just to see how they react without Snapchat and Wi-Fi, because this sounds like a time-locked version of The Real World. Although, we could all just go watch a season of The Real World that aired in the ‘90s instead.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: WEEKEND UPDATE – NBC, premiering August 10
Saturday Night Live has enjoyed a more than 20% bump in ratings this year on the strength of its political material. The spinoff series for “Weekend Update” will air as a 30-minute prime-time weekly show. The four-week summer run will begin on August 10 and will feature the current anchors, Colin Jost and Michael Che. Other SNL cast members will make appearances throughout the run as well.
Review: Now, more than ever, we all need more political commentary in our lives. With Saturday Night Live having the highest ratings they’ve had in decades, NBC is taking advantage with this spin-off series. The strength of SNL’s recent hits has been in skits with Sean Spicer (Melissa McCarthy) and Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) more than the “Weekend Update” segments. It makes me a little hopeful that SNL cast members will make appearances throughout the run as well.
No trailer available.
THE DEFENDERS – Netflix, premiering August 18
Set a few months after the events of the second season of Daredevil, and a month after the events of the first season of Iron Fist, the vigilantes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up in New York City to fight a common enemy: The Hand. Also starring Sigourney Weaver.
Review: I’ve been waiting for this show since it was announced. Audiences haven’t seen Jessica Jones since her series first premiered on Netflix in fall 2015 with its first season. Daredevil at least had a second season in spring 2016. To put this series in perspective, this will basically be The Avengers of Marvel’s television series. I’m even more excited about this mini-series because Sigourney Weaver looks to be the bad guy. Since this series has been in development since 2013, I’m hoping it will be as good as all the other Marvel Netflix series (excluding Iron Fist). There is no need to watch Iron Fist before watching this series unless you really think you need to. That show is a waste of time.
HALT AND CATCH FIRE – AMC, premiering August 19
Halt and Catch Fire chronicles the tech industry and the birth of the Internet in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. The final season will see the characters navigating the early days of the Internet and web browsers, pondering their destinies both personally and professionally, while the competitive nature of the tech world continues to complicate and affect their relationships.
Review: I’ve always stood by the fact that Halt and Catch Fire has one of the best opening themes on television. This is one of those shows that critics love, but barely anyone watches it or knows what it’s about. That’s one of the reasons season four is the final season and AMC moved it from Tuesday to Saturday nights. The series is an easy one to binge and seasons 1-3 are all streaming on Netflix with ten episodes in each season. If you think it’s all about nerdy men navigating the tech industry in the ‘80s, think again, because the women in this show are just as involved and complex as the men are. This final season will be very different from the others because of the time jump from the ‘80s to the ‘90s in the season three finale. Everyone’s hopping on that ‘90s nostalgia train!