We’re in the middle of August as the summer winds down and we prepare for the Fall. That doesn’t mean the flow of new shows has ended. If you find yourself with some free time, waiting on the football season, you might be looking for a new show to check out and wondering what’s worth your time. Let this weekly post be your guide as I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted, and select unscripted, series this summer. Don’t see a new show below? Check previous weeks.
Legacy: The True Story of the Lakers, Streaming Mondays on Hulu (Premiered August 15)
About: Earlier this Spring we got Winning Time, an exploration of the Jerry Buss years with the Lakers. It was a fun and engaging scripted series. But some of those portrayed didn’t love the way their story was told. Earlier this year we got a documentary series on Lakers’ guard Magic Johnson and now we’re getting a documentary series on the Lakers. This features interviews and file footage of those involved. It’s a compelling and engaging series, the first two episodes of which dropped Monday while subsequent episodes will drop weekly. It’s a great time to be a Lakers’ fan, and this is a documentary series you won’t want to miss.
Pilot Grade: A-
Second Episode: A-
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on HBO (Premiered August 9)
About: This annual anthology series features a different team’s training camp each year. The series rises and falls based on the stories and personalities featured each season. In the case of the Lions, with Coach Dan Campbell and crew, it was clear by halfway through the first episode that this will be a riveting exploration. The Lions were a scrappy team in 2021 and one that could be going under-the-radar in 2022, and I have been looking forward to this series. The pilot didn’t disappoint. For football fans, or those that want to explore more about the sport, it’s a great way to get into the new season. This appears to be a season well worth checking out.
Pilot Grade: A-
Bump, Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW (Premiered August 11)
About: This Australian series makes its way to Summer on The CW. Episodes aired back-to-back on Thursday night, focused on a high schooler named Oly (Nathalie Morris) who discovers she’s pregnant as she goes into labor while at school. It throws her life for a curve and throws her parents for a curve. The first two episodes are about the set up and diving into the aftermath of this big turn of events. Morris is solid in the lead role and it’s an interesting idea. The series is in a half-hour format but isn’t really a comedy. It feels like a series that fits well with the younger-focused style of The CW series. It wasn’t overly compelling, but it hits a niche for the summer.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C+
Five Days at Memorial, Streaming Fridays on Apple TV+ (Premiered August 12)
About: The latest series from Apple is based on the book of the same name and explores the story of the doctors and patients trapped at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. It wasn’t a good situation and many died under curious circumstances. Like the book, this series explores those five days and what happened that led to so many deaths. The first three episodes dropped Friday with the rest of the eight-episode series dropping weekly. It boasts a strong cast, led by Vera Farmiga and Cherry Jones. The first three episodes, adapted by John Ridley and Carlton Cuse, are emotional and gripping. They lay out the people, the situation and the harrowing challenges. Apple has had another quality year of series and this limited series feels like it has the potential to be one of their best. It’s worth seeking out.
Pilot Grade: A-
Second Episode: A-
I Am Groot, Now Streaming on Disney+ (Premiered August 10)
About: Hailing from the Guardians of the Galaxy, this series of animated shorts follows Baby Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. The series features five shorts, each five to six minutes. There is some great fun and great comedy here. For those that enjoy Groot or the Guardians, this is a can’t miss series. I watched all five in a short sitting and really enjoyed the style, comedy and storytelling. These make for a great break when you need a little joy in your life.
Pilot Grade: A
Second Episode: A
A League of Their Own, Now Streaming on Amazon Prime (Premiered August 12)
About: In 1992, Geena Davis and Tom Hanks led a Penny Marshall film about a group of women who realized their dream of becoming professional baseball players during World War II. Now, 30 years later, Abbi Jacobson and Will Graham are bringing a new version of the story to life. We still get the Rockford Peaches and we still get women playing baseball during World War II, but the rest has changed. This version shines a light on bigger issues, such as racism and sexual identity, while moving away from some of the more light-hearted content of the original film. Jacobson takes a lead role with a cast that includes D’Arcy Carden, Chante Adams and Nick Offerman, among others. The entire eight-episode season is now available to stream. I enjoyed the pilot and like the potential of the series, but it’s definitely a departure from the series with which it shares its name. That might be a jolt for some perspective audiences but based on the first two episodes it looks like a journey worth exploring.
Pilot Grade: B
Second Episode: B
This Fool, Now Streaming on Hulu (Premiered August 12)
About: This new comedy from Hulu centers on Julio (Chris Estrada), who lives with his extended family and tries to help convicts turn their lives around through a program called Hugs Not Thugs. He’s at first excited when his cousin, Luis (Frankie Quinones) is paroled and placed in the program with him as mentor. Soon, the clash between Luis and Julio gets to both of them, and comedy ensues. This is an interesting set up and the rapport between Estrada and Quinones makes it work. There’s plenty to mine from this set up and the episodes move at a good pace. Each episode is about a half an hour, with the full 10-episode season available now to stream. It’s something different and a decent comedic break.
Pilot Grade: B-
Second Episode: B-
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.