Sports are mostly back, which means there are even more things to watch than ever since the world shut down in March. But by the time you finish this sentence, there's a good chance there will be another coronavirus outbreak on your favorite team, canceling another game, and portending a total shutdown of the league because we all know this was a bad idea to begin with. Plus, the fake fan noise and Zoom call video projections of fans are totally corny and not making the experience any better. But hey, regular TV will always be there for you!
This week we have a wide variety of picks on a wide variety of networks and streaming services. You want something live? Tune in Sunday afternoon for history being made. You want some politics? A Netflix docuseries and an HBO film will remind you that we have a long, long way to go before our forefathers nod in approval. You want a movie about a guy who survived for 100 years in pickle brine? Then you are obviously Seth Rogen.
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Space Launch Live: Splashdown
Sunday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Discovery
Remember how we all made jokes about how jealous we were of those astronauts who got launched into space in late May just as America was tearing at the seams? Well, the astronauts return home this weekend after more than two months on the International Space Station, and boy do we have a surprise for them: America hasn't fixed a damned thing! SpaceX's first manned delivery to the ISS was riveting television, and the return should be equally mesmerizing as Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley splash down somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean in Sunday's live broadcast. They'll beg to go right back up. Side note: This type of news always makes me want to rewatch one of my favorite movies, The Right Stuff, which is streaming on HBO Max and will become a television show soon.
Monday on Netflix
This important docuseries that's three years in the making gives an intimate look at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and the immigrants they arrest. Both sides provide their version of the story without the camera judging them, which allows the ICE agents to hang themselves with their own words. They're just doing their jobs, but their jobs are inhumane. They're not necessarily bad apples, but the whole system is rotten. The filmmakers were given shockingly expansive access, and they captured some deeply disturbing footage of ICE at work. The footage is so incriminating, in fact, that the federal government fought to keep the documentary from being released until after the election. The sheer amount of news that happens every day can make the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents feel like it happened a long time ago, but this docuseries' first episode will take you right back to the summer of 2018. -Liam Mathews
Tuesday at 9/8c on HBO
HBO's latest documentary is an odd, uncomfortable, and engaging watch. The political film follows three renegade Republican congressmen, most notably and prominently Floridian Trump cheerleader Matt Gaetz, as they push Trump's doctrine to "drain the swamp" by trying to remove the influence of money and lobbying in the Capitol while also shilling their libertarian and conservative agendas. Shot over the last two years during the impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the million other things that have happened in politics recently, it's wild to see Gaetz talk so openly about his methods to rise in the ranks (most of it involves getting in front of a camera as often as possible), piss off both the left and the right, and also make sense some of the time. It's worth watching for the harrowing opening credit sequence alone, in which the White House sinks into a bog. Don't forget to vote in November, people.
Wednesday at 9/8c on CBS
CBS's long-running roommate rumpus airs at a time when things on screen will look a lot like they do at our own homes, except these people will get a chance to win a ton of money for being stuck inside a house. The big news this year is that this all-star season's participants will remain a mystery until premiere day, with each contestant revealed as they enter the house. Proper pandemic protocol will be followed as well, with houseguests sequestered away from crew members and all objects properly sanitized before they enter the house. Knowing the kind of people this show has attracted in the past, they better be sanitizing things when they're done, too.
Thursday on Sundance Now
Some of the best television can't be properly lauded or explained by the logline alone. Case in point, the charming Australian series Upright, which follows two strangers — a long-haired musician and a runaway teen girl — who are in a time crunch to deliver a piano across Australia's Nullarbor Plains. That doesn't say much, but it's great. The eight-episode series is one of those fun and unpredictable road trip adventures, packed with odd situations and unique characters, but it's the writing and the performances from the two leads — Tim Minchin and Milly Alcock — that really makes this one of those international treasures that's about to invade America.
An American Pickle
Thursday on HBO Max
Seth Rogen finds himself in a... predicament in this HBO Max exclusive film in which he plays an Eastern European immigrant to America who gets perfectly preserved in pickle brine for 100 years and must adjust to life in 2020 Brooklyn, New York. Rogen also plays his great grandson, a loner with no direction in life who learns a thing or two about hard work and pickles from his great grandpa. Of course this is based on a short story by endearing oddball Simon Rich (Man Seeking Woman, Miracle Workers), who also wrote the film.
Thursday on CBS All Access
Set phasers to "fun." Do I even need to continue after that opener? I do? Fine. The world of Star Trek gets goofy with this animated series following Starfleet's lesser-known members, the support crew of one of the least important ships in the universe. The series comes from Rick & Morty writer Mike McMahan, so expect plenty of visual gags, weird space creepies, and the occasional splash of poop humor. This is mandatory viewing if you consider yourself a fan of Star Trek.
Friday on Disney+
There's a good chance that if you've ever sung in the shower, you've belted out a few bars of Howard Ashman's songs. Ashman, who died in 1991, gets honored with this documentary celebrating his talent and life, which was responsible for some of Disney's most famous songs from its fabled Renaissance Era, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, and Aladdin.
Stop searching, start watching! TV Guide's Watch This Now! page has even more TV recommendations.