The week in TV: ‘Fantasy Island’ beckons and Marvel asks ‘What If...?’
CHICAGO - The TV landscape grows more crowded by the day, but never fear: We’re here to help. Here’s our rundown on the week in TV for Aug. 9-12, 2021.
Monday, Aug. 9: Meet the ‘Reservation Dogs’ and prepare to enter Spells Kitchen
RESERVATION DOGS "Pilot" Episode 1 (Airs Monday, August 9) — Pictured: (L to R): Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack, Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan Postoak, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as Bear, Lane Factor as Cheese. CR: Shane Brown/FX
"Reservation Dogs" (FOX on Hulu, 12:01 a.m. CST, series premiere, first two episodes): In this new half-hour comedy, co-creators Taika Waititi ("Thor: Ragnarok") and Sterlin Harjo follow "four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma who steal, rob and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious and faraway land of California." Our quick review: The show’s existence is newsworthy on its own— according to FX, "every writer, director and series regular on the show is Indigenous" — but it would top our list this week based on quality alone. This is an excellent series. With sharp wit and even sharper teeth, "Reservation Dogs" tells a deeply-felt story that’s riddled with pop culture references and anchored by the excellent performances of its four young stars, particularly D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, who plays the titular group’s de facto leader, Bear. Not to be missed.
"Hell’s Kitchen" (FOX, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST): You know what they say: If you can’t take the heat, get out of the spelling bee. In this week’s tense episode, the teams must brush off the ol’ language skills in a game of Spells Kitchen, which tests the prowess of the chefs as cooks and spellers. But in "A Game Show From Hell," that’s far from the only challenge. As if Gordon Ramsay would ever let the teams skip dinner service for a spelling bee.
- "The Bachelorette" (ABC, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST): Katie Thurston’s journey to find love comes to an end, and even if she actually gets engaged, it’ll still probably be upstaged by her falling out with Greg. D-R-A-M-A!
- "Legends of Opera" (Ovation, 6 a.m/5 a.m. CST, back-to-back episodes): If you’d prefer to experience the opposite of people arguing about love on television, Ovation will take a look at the careers of two contemporary opera legends, Jessye Norman and Renée Fleming.
- "The Kids in the Hall" (AMC+, 3:01 a.m./2:01 a.m. CST, complete first season): This classic Canadian sketch show (starring Dave Foley, Mark McKinney and others) arrives on AMC+ for weekly full-season binges, beginning today with the first season.
Tuesday, Aug. 10: You are now landing on ‘Fantasy Island’
Roselyn Sanchez in the series premiere of FANTASY ISLAND airing Tuesday, Aug. 10 (9:00-10:00PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Laura Magruder/FOX.
"Fantasy Island" (FOX, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CST, series premiere): This reboot of two other "Fantasy Island" series (the original television series, which premiered in 1977, and a one-season revival of the series that aired 14 years later in 1998) has much to recommend it. Beautiful scenery! Fascinating characters (including guest star Bellamy Young’s Christine)! Inspiring stories! A really chic white suit! Roselyn Sánchez stars as Elena Rourke, the grand-niece of the iconic Mr. Rourke, who arrives on the island ready to uphold her family’s legacy and help her guests get the things they never knew they really needed. This station is owned by the FOX Corporation.
- "Untold: Malice at the Palace" (Netflix, 3:01 a.m./2:01 a.m. CST): The first of five installments in this sports docuseries centers on the infamous "Malice at the Palace" brawl at a 2004 Indiana Pacers/Detroit Pistons game.
- Olympics Highlights with Kevin Hart and Snoop Dog (Peacock, 6:01 p.m/5:01 p.m. CST., first-season finale): Bid farewell to the 2020 Olympic Games (in 2021) with Peacock’s surprisingly charming series.
- "LEGO Masters" (FOX, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST): This in LEGO-land, the remaining teams "compete in an exciting weather-based challenge called ‘Bricking Wind!’" The masterpieces dreamed up this week by the duos must withstand winds of up to 60mph and feature a centerpiece that moves with the breeze.
- "DC’s Stargirl" (The CW, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST, second-season premiere): Courtney (Brec Bassinger) and stepdad Pat (Luke Wilson) return, still trying to find the right balance between work, school, life, and superheroic activities.
Related: ‘Fantasy Island’: Bellamy Young unpacks her character’s baggage
Wednesday, Aug. 11: Marvel wonders ‘What If...?’
Captain Carter in "What If...?" Image: Marvel Studios
"What If...?" (Disney+, 3:01 a.m./2:01. a.m. CST, series premiere): The latest Marvel series to arrive on the Mouse House streamer "flips the script on the MCU, reimagining famous events from the films in unexpected ways." "What If...?" is Marvel Studios’ first animated series, and will feature the voices of MCU favorites like Chris Hemsworth, Hayley Atwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Michael B. Jordan, Natalie Portman, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and the late Chadwick Boseman. Watch for our coverage.
- "MasterChef" (FOX, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CST): Food truck pioneer Roy Choi arrives in the kitchen ready to challenge the cooks to create "a street food dish worthy of a Michelin star restaurant."
- "Disney Presents Goofy in How to Stay at Home" (Disney+, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): At long last, this trio of animated shorts will reveal how Goofy spent the pandemic.
- "The Kissing Booth 3" (Netflix, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): The epic three-part saga comes to an end, and we’re guessing it will include some kissing, and possibly a booth.
- "Bake Squad" (Netflix, 3:01 a.m./2:01 a.m. CST, complete first season): "MasterChef" and "MasterChef Jr." alum Christina Tosi helms this new baking competition in which four pastry chefs compete to make a client’s special event that much more special.
Related: August movie preview: ‘The Suicide Squad’ and ‘Candyman’ bring the summer movie season to a close
Thursday, Aug. 12: The MLB heads to the Field of Dreams
An aerial view of the famous "Field of Dreams" in Dyersville, Iowa. (Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
MLB at Field of Dreams presented by GEICO (FOX, 6 p.m.) After pandemic-related delays, FOX Sports heads to Dyersville, Iowa for the first-ever Major League Baseball game played in the state. A new field built next to the historic diamond featured in the 1989 film will host the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. If the MLB builds it, the MLB will come. Feel the nostalgia!
- "American Horror Stories" (FX on Hulu, 12:01 a.m. EST): The latest installment of this "Twilight Zone"-style anthology series centers on a family camping trip interrupted by something "lurking in the woods."
- "Homeroom" (Hulu, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): Oakland High School’s class of 2020 navigates, you know, everything in this documentary which made waves at Sundance.
- "Ex-Rated" (Peacock, 3:01 a.m/2:01 a.m. CST): Andy Cohen hosts this reality series in which "adult singles who send standardized "exit surveys" to all of their previous romantic partners — from long-term relationships to casual hook-ups — to learn why their relationships never materialized or simply didn't last."
- "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (NBC, 8 p.m., back-to-back episodes, eighth-season premiere): Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher and the rest of Brooklyn’s finest return for one final season. Noice.
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About the writer: Allison Shoemaker is a Chicago-based pop-culture critic and journalist. She is the author of "How TV Can Make You Smarter," and a member of the Television Critics Association and the Chicago Film Critics Association. She is also a producer and co-host for the Podlander Presents network of podcasts. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @allisonshoe.