This Week’s Top 5 TV Picks


There are scores of TV shows out there, with dozens of new episodes each week, not to mention everything you can find on Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, and HBO Go. How’s a viewer to keep up? To help you sort through all that television has to offer, Flavorwire is compiling five best bets for the coming week. This week: An excellent new Netflix docu-series (no murder, just football), the source material for HBO’s The Night Of, and the return of a very silly Syfy franchise.

Now: Last Chance U

This Netflix docu-series follows a group of football players at East Mississippi Community College in the tiny town of Scooba as they attempt to break from the pack and “go D1” — i.e., attract the attention of recruiters from the top college football teams in the country. Directed by Greg Whiteley, who also helmed the 2014 Netflix documentary Mitt, Last Chance U is a character-driven documentary; you don’t have to be a football fan to appreciate the high stakes and immense pressure these young players are under. I bawled through the final 20 minutes of the last episode, and I’m not sure I’ve ever sat through a football game from start to finish. Watch all six episodes on Netflix now.

Now: The Strain Season 2 on Hulu

If there aren’t enough worms burrowing into eyeballs on your current roster of TV shows, not to worry: The second season of FX horror series The Strain is available on Hulu as of today. In Season 2, the mysterious, ancient epidemic plaguing New York City and turning people into vampire-like creatures continues to spread, as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) uses his position at the CDC to try to develop a biological weapon to stop it. The best part about the season is the removal of that godawful wig they made Stoll wear in Season 1.

Sunday: Sharknado: The 4th Awakens

The fourth entry in the Sharknado universe airs Sunday on Syfy, which surely never anticipated this joke would still be funny three years after the first movie aired. The funniest thing about the Sharknado series isn’t the actual movies themselves but its very existence — and the titles of the sequels (The 4th Awakens follows Sharknado 2: The Second One and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!). After fighting sharknados in space in the third instalment, what could possibly come next for our hero lovebirds April and Fin (Tara Reid and Ian Ziering)? Why, Las Vegas, of course.

Wednesday: #SouthParkSummer marathon

Ahead of the beloved cartoon’s upcoming 20th (!) season, Comedy Central is running marathons of South Park episodes every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the summer. If you can somehow be in front of your television at 2:07 p.m. on Wednesday (maybe you work from home? Maybe you have a trust fund? Maybe you just call in sick that day?), tune in for “The Return of Chef,” the first episode to feature Isaac Hayes’s character after his departure in 2006. He left after the show aired an episode poking fun at Scientology, of which he’s a member, and in “The Return of Chef,” the character has been brainwashed. Get it?

Now: Criminal Justice on Hulu

When HBO’s excellent limited series The Night Of premiered earlier this month, American viewers were hard-pressed to find the British series on which it’s based, Criminal Justice. But Hulu has recently made both seasons of the BBC original available, and if you’re into the HBO version — or Ben Whishaw, who stars in the first season of Criminal Justice — it’s well worth your time.