Summer TV Roundup, Week 15

We’re nearing the mid-point of August and emerging from two weeks of Olympic competition. The flow of new shows has dropped to a manageable level, but Fall is just around the corner. With some time on your hands, you’re probably wondering which new shows are worth your time. Let this weekly post be your guide as I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this Summer. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Reservation Dogs' Review – The Hollywood Reporter

Reservation Dogs, Mondays on Hulu (Premiered August 9)
This new slice-of-life is a half hour set in rural Oklahoma and centering a quartet of Native American teens (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Paulina Alexis, Lane Factor and Devery Jacobs) who spend their days stealing and hustling to get by. The series comes from Native American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, who co-wrote the pilot and serve as executive producers. Harjo also directed the first of two installments which debuted on Monday. I thought the first two episodes, each about a half an hour, moved at a decent pace, introducing the characters and the world. There is a nice blend of humor and heart, exploring a group of characters and a world we don’t often see depicted on screen. This is part of the FX on Hulu release, and it has potential to be a fun and heart-warming series. I enjoyed the first two episodes and look forward to seeing where this first season goes.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C+

Chip N Dale: Park Life, Wednesdays on Disney+ (Premiered July 28)
The re-boot of these classic characters launched last week. The structure is a season that features 36 different 7-minute shorts, with three packed into each episode. The first three released last week with the second three in the second installment Wednesday. I thought it felt like a good nod to the classic style of the characters. The second set of shorts was a little more obscure and a little less appealing, but overall, this feels like some light entertainment for younger viewers.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Mr. Corman - Apple TV+ Press

Mr. Corman, Fridays on Apple TV+ (Premiered August 6)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes the lead in front of and behind the camera on this new series focusing on a Fifth-Grade teacher in Los Angeles who feels lost. He once had dreams of being a musician and once had a relationship, now both of those have faded. As we pick up, he hasn’t played in some time and he’s a year removed from a breakup that he still isn’t over. He goes through the daily grind but feels like he needs more. The first two episodes of the series, each about a half hour, debuted Friday. Gordon-Levitt is the main star, but he also created the series and wrote and directed the pilot. This feels like a personal project, and at times it really finds some interesting creative notes in the story, style and performances. The series comes from A24, the studio that has produced films like Midsommar and The Green Knight. There are some decent supporting performances, too, from Arturo Castro as Gordon-Levitt’s roommate and Debra Winger as his mother. The first episode drew me in, but it was the second episode, particularly its climax, that I found moving. I’m excited to see where the rest of the season goes.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: B-

Streaming Series:
Cocaine Cowboys, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered August 4)
This new unscripted series follows the story of two friends who grew up to be powerful drug kingpins. It follows their rise and fall, tracking their journey and their empire set up in Miami. The series is six episodes, each about an hour. The episodes feature a blend of stock footage, interviews with survivors and comments from journalists and writers who help tell the story. I thought the first few episodes were interesting but it feels like we’ve gotten a number of these kind of stories, including the scripted Netflix series Narcos, and this one didn’t stand out in a particularly memorable way.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Hit & Run (TV Series 2021– ) - IMDb

Hit & Run, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered August 6)
Lior Raz takes the lead in this series about a man with a troubled past in Israel who has found happiness as a local tour guide, caring for his daughter and living with his new wife Danielle (Kaelen Ohm), a dancer. When she is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Segev (Raz) is weighed down by grief, remembering the history of their relationship. He’s also motivated to find the truth of who is responsible, leading him to uncover Danielle’s secrets and threats from his own past that played a role. The first episode lays out the characters and the world, while the second dives deeper into the mystery. A portion of the story takes place in New York, with Sanaa Lathan listed as a co-star. Neither New York nor Lathan appear in the first two episodes, so it’s more of a slow build for the nine-episode season, all of which are now available to stream. It was an interesting idea, and I appreciated Raz in the lead, but the first two episodes weren’t enough of a hook to keep me invested.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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