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 the five best bets for the coming week. There are three new exciting series premiering this week from three distinct voices: Donald Glover’s Atlanta, Pamela Adlon’s Better Things (which she co-created with Louis C.K.) and Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar. If you want to be a slug this Labor Day weekend, you can also kick back with a new season of Narcos on Netflix and settle in with a South Park marathon on Sunday. You’ve labored enough this week.

Today: Narcos Season 2

The first season of this Netflix original depicted a lightly fictionalized version of the rise of Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), ending with the drug kingpin’s escape from La Catedral, a prison designed just for him, in 1992. Season 2 crunches the timeline, tracking Escobar’s attempt to keep his empire from falling apart while in hiding. But since Escobar was killed in 1993, we know his days are numbered. Watch all ten episodes of the new season on Netflix as of today.

Sunday: South Park marathon

Throughout the summer, Comedy Central has been airing South Park marathons on Wednesday afternoons in anticipation of its upcoming 20th season, which premieres on September 14. The comedy channel has also been inviting viewers to vote for their favorite episodes from each season on the show’s blog and across social platforms, and on Sunday will air another all-day marathon, counting down the 20 most popular episodes as chosen by the fans.

Tuesday: Atlanta

Donald Glover created this series about two cousins trying to score big in the hip-hop industry in Atlanta, Glover’s hometown. With all episodes directed by Hiro Murai — the Japanese director best known for shorts and music videos, including those of Glover’s alter ego, Childish Gambino — Atlanta feels looser and dreamier than most half-hour comedies. If you’ve been following the show’s Twitter account, you’ll get a feel for the show’s hip-hop-flavored philosophy: “just went from a close brush with death to a close afropick with life in the span of like, 5 mins.” Check it out this Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX.

Tuesday-Wednesday: Queen Sugar

The Oprah Winfrey Network’s Queen Sugar has already been lauded for “disrupting” the TV industry: For its upcoming first season, creator Ava DuVernay hired all women to direct the episodes, and except for two, Queen Sugar was their first TV directing gig. The show, which has already been picked up for a second season, is about three estranged adult siblings forced to reunite when family tragedy strikes. Together they have to find a way to keep the family’s struggling Louisiana sugarcane farm up and running. If you’re looking for a juicy, complex family drama with stunning visuals, check out Queen Sugar‘s two-night premiere, directed by DuVernay, on Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 p.m. on OWN.

Thursday: Better Things

On the surface, Better Things doesn’t appear to have much in common with FX’s other new half-hour comedy, Atlanta: It’s about a single mother of three who lives and works as an actress in Los Angeles, a semi-autobiographical account of co-creator and star Pamela Adlon’s life. With its deadpan approach to both the entertainment industry and parenting, Better Things has a lot of Louie‘s DNA (Louis C.K. is a co-creator and co-writer, and also directed the first episode). But like Atlanta, Better Things is a fresh take on the sitcom, full of beguiling non-sequiturs and a refreshingly honest perspective on what it means to make yourself happy while trying to do right by your family. Catch the first episode Thursday at 10 p.m. on FX.