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The biggest ratings driver on TV begins anew this week when the NFL kicks off its 2021 season. A host of summer series also end their runs in the next seven days, and there are high-profile debuts set for streaming (Y: The Last Man, Lucifer) and cable (Scenes From a Marriage, American Rust) as well.
Below is The Hollywood Reporter‘s rundown of premieres, returns and specials over the next seven days. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options for the coming week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.
The Big Show
Though it played in mostly empty stadiums last fall, the NFL managed to complete its schedule during the pandemic with not too many interruptions. Fans will be able to fill seats again this season, and based on ratings for other sports this summer, that has helped lift TV viewership from the depressed levels of 2020.
The season will kick off Thursday night (8:20 p.m. ET/5:20 p.m. PT, NBC) with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys. After a full slate of games Sunday on CBS, Fox and NBC, Monday Night Football‘s opener (8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT) gets the “mega-cast” treatment on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ for a Baltimore Ravens-Las Vegas Raiders matchup.
Also on broadcast …
Following Sunday afternoon’s NFL games, 60 Minutes (7:30 p.m., CBS) begins its 54th season. The final season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show begins Monday in syndication (check your local listings). Several shows also have season finales: Hell’s Kitchen (8 p.m. Monday, Fox), Lego Masters (8 p.m. Tuesday, Fox), Press Your Luck and The $100,000 Pyramid (8 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, ABC), Masterchef (8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox) and America’s Got Talent (9 p.m. Wednesday, NBC).
On streaming …
New: The road Y: The Last Man has taken to its premiere Monday (FX on Hulu) has been a long one: Six years, two showrunners, two leading men and several other cast changes. The good news? The series based on Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s acclaimed comic about a disease that wipes out every person with a Y chromosome, save for one guy (Barry Schnetzer) and his pet monkey, has come through intact.
Y: The Last Man “captures and at times even enhances so much of what was rich and resonant” about the comic, THR critic Daniel Fienberg writes, although “it never finds the right balance with action-fueled adventure.”
Also: Peacock unveils a trio of family-viewing series Thursday with game show Frogger and new seasons of American Ninja Warrior Junior and Top Chef Family Style. Irish crime drama Kin (Thursday, AMC+) stars Charlie Cox and Aidan Gillen. The sixth and final season of Lucifer bows Friday on Netflix. Docuseries LuLaRich (Friday, Amazon) details the rise and fall of clothing company LuLaRoe. A new season of Nailed It! (Wednesday, Netflix) features 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer baking in one episode.
On cable …
New: The original Scenes From a Marriage, which Ingmar Bergman made in 1973, has had a huge influence on any number of dramas that have come after it. HBO’s remake, written and directed by Hagai Levi (In Treatment, The Affair), doesn’t break any new ground, with only “superficial” changes to the original, notes Fienberg. It “isn’t going to blow anybody away with its insights into relationships or the modern condition, but absolutely and justifiably could blow people away with its two central performances” by Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. It premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Also: The MTV Video Music Awards (8 p.m. Sunday) get the multicast treatment on their namesake channel, a host of other ViacomCBS cable outlets and broadcaster The CW. The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City (9 p.m. Sunday, Bravo) opens its second season. American Rust (10 p.m. Sunday, Showtime) stars Jeff Daniels as the police chief in a struggling western Pensylvania town. Showtime also has season two of Back to Life on tap at 10 p.m. Monday. The Daily Show (11 p.m. Monday, Comedy Central) returns from a three-month hiatus. ESPN’s latest 30 for 30, Once Upon a Time in Queens (8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday), chronicles the 1986 New York Mets.
In case you missed it …
Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., is (obviously) an update on the 1989-93 ABC series that starred Neil Patrick Harris as a child prodigy turned teenage doctor. The update keeps the premise but transports the setting to Hawaii — and a world where Doogie Howser exists as a TV show, which is where 16-year-old physician Lahela Kamealoha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) gets her nickname. Created by Kourtney Kang, the update manages to pull off “a fine balancing act between playing to an older audience’s nostalgic appetites and simply telling a good, admirably personal stand-alone story.” It’s streaming on Disney+ with episodes debuting weekly.
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