The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of July 3, 2017

Which TV series will your friends (and the entire internet) be talking about this week? Stay informed — or at least be able to fake it — with SideReel's weekly guide to The Most Important Shows on TV.

 

The Standups: S1E1

The Standups
(Series Premiere)

Tuesday at 3 a.m. on Netflix

Why: As part of its push toward total world domination, Netflix is battling Comedy Central and HBO for stand-up supremacy. The streaming service already boasts specials from comedy heavyweights like Sarah Silverman, Louis CK, and Dave Chappelle. This new series gives rising stars some space to show off. (Last year's The Characters was a similar vehicle for "alternative" character comics.) The first batch of new half-hours features Nate Bargatze, Deon Cole, Fortune Feimster, Nikki Glaser, Beth Stelling, and Dan Soder. These definitely aren't unknowns. Glaser, for example, already has hosted a couple of TV series (RIP, Not Safe) and had a Comedy Central special last year. Feimster has appeared regularly on Chelsea Lately and The Mindy Project. There's likely to be something for everyone's comedic taste here.

Prepare to talk about: Netflix's insatiable appetite for new content; who should be featured if a second season is ordered.

 

Snowfall: S1E1

Snowfall
(Series Premiere)

Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX

Why: Any new FX drama gets an immediate benefit of the doubt. This one, set against the infancy of the crack-cocaine epidemic, happens to have John Singleton as a co-creator, adding to its appeal. In the pilot, we're introduced to Franklin Saint, a street-smart entrepreneur from South-Central L.A. whose ambition causes him to make a seemingly impossible deal with an Israeli drug kingpin. Two other major stories are set in motion in the first episode: one involving a somewhat fallen CIA agent pulled into an unsanctioned operation to arm soldiers fighting in Nicaragua and another focusing on a "professional" wrestler trying to prove his worth to a Mexican-American crime family. Each of the plotlines benefits from somewhat interesting secondary characters. But by the end of the hour we're dealing with a lot of people whose stories don't seem to be leading to a common point. But again, this is FX, so we should probably just buckle up and prepare for a wild ride toward an inevitably surprising and satisfying destination.

Prepare to talk about: How you didn't realize cocaine could be ingested that way; how well the drug war seems to be going.

 

The Defiant Ones: S1E1

The Defiant Ones
(Series Premiere)

Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO

Why: It is, in the eyes of many, an unlikely partnership. But rap legend Dr. Dre and behind-the-scenes guru Jimmy Iovine have formed one of the music industry’s strongest and most successful teams, culminating in Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats in 2014. Over the course of three years, director Allen Hughes (Menace II Society) interviewed the two moguls, along with artists whose work has been supported by the men, to tell the inspirational story of their rise to the top of the game. An incredibly diverse group of musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Ice Cube, Tom Petty, Snoop Dog, and Lady Gaga, discuss what it's been like working with Dre and Iovine and how the men have influenced pop culture. Fittingly, it's Eminem, who the duo essentially discovered together, who describes them most succinctly: "Jimmy Iovine is the levitator; Dre is the innovator."

Prepare to talk about: How many incredible artists have worked with these guys; all the never-before-seen footage from recording and writing sessions; Eminem's kewl new look.

 

T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He also is a levitator. Follow him on Twitter.

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