To say August is a TV desert is to illustrate just how quickly this era of Peak TV has changed the television landscape. Sure, there aren’t as many new and returning series premiering in August as there were in April or May. But I had no trouble finding ten reasons to get excited about TV this month: Between Jill Soloway’s I Love Dick adaption, the return of You’re the Worst, and the release of the first six episodes of Baz Luhrmann’s hip-hop series The Get Down, you’ll have plenty of excuses to stay indoors this month. Your brain needs exercise, too right? Right?! Right.
August 5: Make America Laugh Again
“So I was jerking off this morning to the Statue of Liberty… That usually gets a standing ovation. Alright, whatever.” If you missed your chance to catch David Cross’s “Making America Great Again!” standup tour this summer, you can watch his set from Austin, Texas’s Paramount Theatre in a Netflix special this month. Cross is best known for his slightly surreal brand of comedy, exemplified by the ’90s cult classic series Mr. Show, but he’s also got a trove of raw, provocative political standup material. Check it out this Friday on Netflix.
August 5: The Olympics, Baby!
Oh, right, the summer Olympics! Almost forgot about those, didn’t you? Yes, the Olympics are a corrupt, mismanaged shitshow of an event. But they’re also a showcase for the world’s most insanely talented athletes, and the one time these lesser-known competitors get their moment in the spotlight. (Although, yes, Michael Phelps will be back for his fifth and final Olympic games, and other big names — Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Usain Bolt — will also be competing.) Don’t miss the opening ceremonies on Friday, August 5 at 7 p.m. EST on NBC.
August 11: Take My Wife, Please!
NBC’s new comedy-focused streaming service Seeso has rolled out a few original series since it launched in January, including the weird and British Flowers, real-estate reality show spoof Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, and standup showcase Night Train with Wyatt Cenac . This month, the service premieres the more traditional half-hour comedy Take My Wife , created by and starring real-life married couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher. The series is based on their life as newlyweds who host a standup showcase in L.A. It’s a must-see for comedy nerds and fans of true love.
August 12: Get Up With The Get Down
Baz Luhrmann’s heavily anticipated Netflix original about the birth of hip-hop arrives this month, finally, finally! In an unusual move for Netflix, the series will be released in two six-episode batches, the first on Friday, August 12, and the second sometime in early 2017. The series documents a group of teenagers — played by mostly unknown actors, Jaden Smith notwithstanding — growing up and creating new music in the Bronx in the late 1970s. Unsurprisingly for a Baz Luhrmann joint, the series was also plagued with off-screen drama, switching showrunners, shutting down production multiple times, and going way over budget: The Get Down is Netflix’s most expensive original series to date. No pressure!
August 19: Jean Claude Van Damme and Jill Soloway, Together At Last
Amazon’s comedy pilot season is upon us, and you — yes, you! — can help determine which pilots will get a full-series order. On August 19, log onto amazon.com/amazonvideo, or visit the Amazon Video app on your smart TV, to check out the offerings: I Love Dick , an adaptation of Chris Kraus’s 1997 book, from Transparent creator Jill Soloway and Sarah Gubbins, starring Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn; Jean-Claude Van Johnson, an action-comedy series starring, you guessed it, Jean-Claude Van Damme; and The Tick, in which an unlikely hero — an accountant — uncovers a conspiracy involving a super-villain thought to be long dead.
August 23: Go West, Young Viewer
This AMC original about a group of engineers and coders during the 1980s personal computing boom really hit its stride in its second season, which saw its two female leads, Donna and Cameron (Kerry Bishé and Mackenzie Davis) banding together to start their own video-game company, Mutiny. In the season finale, Donna’s husband, Gordon (Scoot McNairy) forks over the dough to buy Mutiny its own mainframe (and thus its independence), and the gang makes the move from Texas to California, land of fresh starts. The new setting makes Halt and Catch Fire’s upcoming third season a whole new beast, and a bit of a mystery. This show could use a serious ratings boost, so if you’re not caught up on the previous two seasons, now’s your chance — they’re both on Netflix.
August 23: Better Late Than Never, I Guess
This very strange-looking NBC reality show follows a motley crew of old famous dudes — Henry Winkler, George Foreman, William Shatner, and Terry Bradshaw, plus host Jeff Dye — as they embark on a journey through Asia with no celebrity perks like assistants and limo rides. Throughout the trip, each participant will check off items on his own personal bucket list. Why, you ask? Who knows! It’s 2016! Peak TV! Anything goes! Better Late Than Never is based on a South Korean show, outstandingly titled Grandpas Over Flowers.
August 24: Sundance, Italian-Style
SundanceTV’s latest original series is very on-brand: International setting? Check. Corruption? Check. Dark, gloomy visuals? Check. Gomorrah is an Italian series (the show is extremely popular in Italy, where two seasons have already aired) based on a non-fiction book by investigative journalist Robert Saviano. (Technically, the series was based on a 2008 film of the same name, which was based on the book.) Gomorrah invites viewers inside the shadowy world of the Camorra, a Neapolitan crime syndicate — which kind of makes it an unlikely companion piece to the upcoming TV adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels.
August 28: The Beyoncé Show MTV VMAs
It’ll be an evening of firsts: This year’s MTV Video Music Awards takes over Madison Square Garden for the first time, and the show has also added a new category, “Breakthrough Long Form Video,” which might as well be called “Best Lemonade.” Unsurprisingly, Beyoncé leads the pack with 11 nominations, a personal record, with Adele, Justin Bieber, Drake, and Kanye West following on her very high heels. You can see the full roster of nominees here, and while MTV hasn’t yet announced this year’s performers, I’m willing to bet Queen Bey will make the list.
August 31: They’re Simply the Worst
The couple you love to watch but would most certainly hate to spend time with is back! Season 3 of the delightfully caustic FX comedy You’re the Worst kicks off this month, and according to creator Stephen Falk, it’ll pick up right where Season 2 left off: with Gretchen (Aya Cash) reminding Jimmy (Chris Geere) that he drunkenly professed his love for her, and revealing that she loves him, too. Falk has also said the upcoming season won’t lean on any one “issue” the way Season 2 focused on Gretchen’s depression. And look out for another “Sunday Funday” episode. If all this is very confusing to you, catch up on Season 2, now available on Hulu.