Stay Tuned column: Breakout Netflix hit ‘The Umbrella Academy’ returns for season 2
It’s a busy Friday night on streaming channels, more sports return, The CW looks to a few imports, and a 1980s landmark band gets a documentary.
Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Adam McKay (“Succession”) is developing Brendan Borrell’s upcoming book, “The First Shot,” as a limited series for HBO. The book chronicles the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and focuses on the companies conducting the research, the safety and access issues involved and the science behind vaccine creation. McKay, Todd Schulman and Borrell will executive produce.
Drag-racing is getting a series on Vice TV. Titled, “Donkmaster,” the show is about the subculture of Donk racing, which features classic American cars on very large rims. Sage “Donkmaster” Thomas, who is known as the Michael Jordan of Donk racing, will travel to a new city every weekend to compete with the sport’s fastest drivers. The series premieres August 19.
Netflix announced a prequel to “The Witcher,” called “The Witcher: Blood Origin.” Set 1,200 years prior to the original series, it will tell the story of an elven civilization and the history of the first Witcher.
Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
The second season of the popular Netflix series, “The Umbrella Academy,” premieres (July 31). The gang is stuck in early 1960s Dallas and must find each other and stop an apocalypse before they can return to the present day to stop, you guessed it, another apocalypse.
The Muppets are back on TV in “Muppets Now” (July 31, Disney+). Scooter tries to meet his deadlines for uploading a Muppet series for streaming and zaniness ensues, as the rest of the Muppets throw obstacles and distractions his way.
It’s your last chance to catch “Last Chance U.” The final season premieres on Netflix, July 31.
Also on July 31, Beyonce’s visual album, “Black is King,” debuts on Disney+.
The NBA returns on July 30 (TNT, 6:30 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. PT) before debuting 10 games over the weekend of Aug. 1-2. The NHL starts Aug. 1 with games on NBCSN and NBC, beginning at 12 p.m. ET.
The Go-Go’s made history as the first all-female band to play its own instruments, write its own songs and make it to the top of the album charts. Documentary feature, “The Go-Go’s” (Aug. 1, Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) charts the women’s rise to fame.
With content in short supply these days, The CW turns to a few imports to fill its Aug. 2 schedule. Canadian series, “Fridge Wars,” (8 p.m. ET) features chefs competing to see who cooks the best meal using only the contents of a family’s fridge. It is followed by award-winning British comedy competition, “Taskmaster” (9 p.m. ET). The premise is that five contestants - usually comedians - must follow the bizarre instructions issued by the Taskmaster, played by comedian and actor, Greg Davies.
Also on The CW is new series, “Coroner” (Aug. 5, 9 p.m. ET). The 1-hour drama follows Dr. Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan), a recently widowed coroner, as she takes on a new job investigating suspicious deaths in Toronto.
Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: Starz renewed “P-Valley” for a second season.
Losers: USA Network cancelled “Briarpatch” after one season.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.