This Week in TV: 'Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,' VMAs, 'Carnival Row'

The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance Still 1 - Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Netflix

The week before Labor Day is truly the dog days of summer for the TV business: The premiere slate is lighter than just about any other week in the year, save perhaps the days just after Christmas. Only a handful of shows are set to debut the week of Aug. 26 — but they include a few high-profile streaming series, along with MTV's biggest annual event.

Here is The Hollywood Reporter's rundown of some of the coming week's highlights. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options each week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.

The Big Show

A prequel to Jim Henson and Frank Oz's 1982 film, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance visits the world of Thra many years before the events of the movie and follow three Gelfling (voiced by Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nathalie Emmanuel) who set off on a quest to reverse the sickness that's affecting their planet and come into conflict with the evil Skeksis.

The series, executive produced by Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me), features an all-star voice cast that includes Caitriona Balfe, Helena Bonham-Carter, Harris Dickinson, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Izzard, Lena Headey and many others. Lisa Henson and Halle Standford are also executive producers of the series, and writers Jeffrey Addiss, Will Matthews and Javier Grillo-Marxuach are co-EPs along with The Jim Henson Company's Blanca Lista. The show debuts Friday on Netflix.

Also on streaming …

The fantasy series Carnival Row (Friday, Amazon) is set in a world where faeries and other mythical creatures coexist — uneasily — with humans, as many of them are refugees after their lands were overrun by men. Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne star. Also: Dave Chappelle's fifth stand-up special for Netflix, Sticks and Stones, premieres Monday; The Great British Baking Show returns Friday to Netflix, with episodes released weekly just three days after they air in the U.K.

On cable …

VMAs: The annual Video Music Awards air live (to the eastern half of the country) 8 p.m. Monday on MTV, several other Viacom channels and a host of social platforms. Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X are the leading nominees; Swift, Lizzo, Jonas Brothers and Lil Nas X are among the scheduled performers. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco hosts.

Also: True-crime series The Devil You Know premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday on Viceland. The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 debuts at 8 p.m. Wednesday on MTV.

On broadcast …

New: PBS gives viewers a heavy dose of cuteness with its nature docuseries Animal Babies: First Year on Earth (8 p.m. Wednesday). It's also about the struggle to survive in the wild, but still: baby elephants, otters and monkeys being adorable.

College football: Saturday brings the first full slate of games as the season gets underway, with Fox and ABC both airing doubleheaders in the afternoon and ABC also airing a primetime contest (Oregon vs. Auburn, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 PT). ESPN and FS1 have several games on tap as well.

In case you missed it …

British comedy This Way Up stars Aisling Bea (who also created) as a teacher who's recovering from a nervous breakdown and trying to keep her life on track. The stacked cast includes Sharon Horgan, Tobias Menzies, Aasif Mandvi and Indira Varma, and THR's Daniel Fienberg says it can at least partially fill the Catastrophe- or Fleabag-shaped hole for fans of those shows. All six episodes are streaming on Hulu.