CHICAGO - The TV landscape grows more crowded by the day, but never fear: We’re here to help. Here’s our rundown on the weekend in TV for Aug. 13-15, 2021.
Friday, Aug. 13: "WWE’s Friday Night SmackDown" brings the Friday the 13th vibes and it’s a very "Ted Lasso" Christmas
Hannah Waddingham in "Ted Lasso" season two, now streaming on Apple TV+.
"Ted Lasso" (Apple TV+, 12:01 a.m. EST): Christmas in July is so passé. All the cool kids know that Christmas in August is where it’s at. After last week’s wonderful (and stressful) "Do the Right-est Thing," Richmond FC takes a deep breath and conjures some holiday spirit. And who doesn’t want to see Jason Sudeikis in a Santa hat?
"WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown" (FOX, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST): Happy Friday the 13th! If there’s one show likely to capitalize on the spooky vibes of such a day, it’s SmackDown, which will continue to build toward SummerSlam with feuds, fights, and really absurd smacktalk.
- "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time" (Amazon, 12:01 a.m. EST, U.S. premiere): The final film in the "Rebuild of Evangelion" anime film series arrives on Amazon after a massive opening in Japan last March.
- It’s a big weekend for season finales, so say farewell (for now) to the sharp kid detective drama "Home Before Dark" (Apple TV+, 12:01 a.m. EST, second-season finale), whirlwind musical comedy "Schmigadoon!" (Apple TV+, 12:01 a.m. EST, first-season finale) and animated odyssey "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" (Disney+, 3:01 a.m. first-season finale).
- "Beckett" (Netflix, 3:01 a.m. EST): "It’s every tourist's worst nightmare: You’re traveling through rural Greece with your girlfriend and you get into a horrible car accident. The next thing you know, you’re embroiled in a government conspiracy, on the run from the corrupt officials trying to kill you." Read the rest of our film review here.
- "CODA" (Apple TV+, 3:01 a.m. EST): "The big winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Sian Heder’s coming-of-age drama ‘CODA’, which earned four awards, including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award — and it’s incredibly clear why the film has brought home such recognition." Read the rest of our film review here.
- "The Amber Ruffin Show" (Peacock, 6 p.m./5 p.m. CST): Amber’s back from Tokyo, ready to reflect on her Olympics experience and (probably) sing another of her clever and/or goofy songs.
Saturday, Aug. 14: Joey Lawrence goes for a "Swim" with a shark
"Swim" (Tubi, currently streaming): "I want people to... forget all about the real-life headlines and all the real-life drama that is falling upon us hourly, minute-by-minute, and just sit back for a couple hours," Lawrence continued. "This will be escapism hopefully for a lot of people, a thrill ride for a lot of people. Have some popcorn, sit down with the family and friends and just watch a good old-fashioned shark try to catch some people in the water. Hopefully, it will just be fun, that’s what this movie is intended to be: fun." Watch Stephanie Weaver’s interview with star Joey Lawrence about his new film, now streaming (for free!) on Tubi. Tubi is owned by the FOX Corporation.
- "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Hulu, 12:01 a.m., eighth-season premiere, first two episodes): Noice: Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and company returned to NBC on Thursday for the start of their eighth and final season, but if you’ve been waiting for these episodes to show up on a streaming service, here’s your chance. The first five seasons of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" originally aired on FOX.
- "Fantasy Island" (FOX, 9 p.m., encore presentation of series premiere): This buzzy FOX wish-fulfillment drama premiered on Tuesday, and its addictive pilot re-airs this evening. Tune in for a terrific guest performancefrom Bellamy Young and to get a glimpse of the new white suit.
- "Eden: Untamed Planet" (BBC America and AMC, 8 p.m.): This week, the latest eye-popping nature docuseries from BBC America travels to the Galapagos islands.
Related: ‘Fantasy Island’: Bellamy Young unpacks her character’s baggage
Sunday, Aug. 15: "The White Lotus" checks out for the season
The cast of The White Lotus, season 1. Image: HBO.
"The White Lotus" (HBO, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CST, first-season finale): Mike White’s much-discussed resort story just got picked up for a second season, but it will feature an entirely new cast and location, so tonight’s finale is also a farewell to the characters played by Jennifer Coolidge, Connie Britton, Jake Lacy, Natasha Rothwell and the rest of the gang.
"The Simpsons" (FOX, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST): It’s just not a proper Sunday without Springfield’s favorite family, even if it’s a repeat visit. Tonight’s episode, "The Road to Cincinnati," sees Smithers and Mr. Burns heading out for a road trip. That will probably be totally fine, right? Hannibal Buress gives a guest voice performance.
- "DC’s Legends of Tomorrow" (The CW, 8 p.m/7 p.m. CST): The Legends get their Agatha Christie on with a spaceship murder mystery.
- "Heels" (Starz, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CST, series premiere): "Arrow" star Stephen Amell leads the cast of this compelling professional wrestling drama.
- "Wellington Paranormal" (The CW, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CST, second-season premiere): The first season of this Taika Waititi comedy series ended its run on The CW last week, but the network was late to the game, so the second season starts airing tonight!
- "Tuca & Bertie" (Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m./10:30 p.m. CST, second-season finale): Adult Swim rescued this onetime Netflix animated comedy from the wasteland of cancellation, and it wraps up its wonderful second-season late tonight. Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong lead the voice cast.
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About the writer: Allison Shoemaker is a Chicago-based pop-culture critic and journalist. She is the author of "How TV Can Make You Smarter," and a member of the Television Critics Association and the Chicago Film Critics Association. She is also a producer and co-host for the Podlander Presents network of podcasts. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @allisonshoe.