I was going to count up for you how many new shows, specials and movies Netflix was premiering in August, but I stopped once I got to 20. What is going on with the streaming platform? Have they gone all in on a quantity-over-quality business model?
Below, we tried to cherry pick the two most promising Netflix shows coming your way in August, as well as a few other gems we don’t want you to miss this month. And don’t worry, we’ll be all over the third season of Insecure, which returns to HBO on August 12 (I already miss Lawrence), and the second season of USA’s stellar The Sinner, which returns tonight.
Here are the five new shows you can’t miss this month:
Executive Producers: Lauren Miller
Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Kristen Bell, and Seth Rogen
Premiere Date: August 3 on Netflix
Netflix, bless its streaming heart, is intent on bringing back the feel-good comedy, the kind of movie we just don’t seen any more in the age of blockbuster sequels and superheroes. Here, Kristen Bell—who, let’s be clear, we ADORE—stars as a woman who’s left at the altar and inadvertently ends up on her honeymoon cruise with her estranged father. (Don’t you hate it when that happens?) On the ship she and Seth Rogen meet cute. My guess is that it all ends happily. Fun fact: Lauren Miller, Seth Rogen’s wife, wrote the movie and makes her directorial debut.
Executive Producers: Garry Campbell and John Tinker
Stars: Jerry O’Connell, Sydney Poitier Heartstrong and Kristian Bruun
Premiere Date: August 7 at 10 p.m. on WGN
Jerry O’Connell stars as a famous TV actor who gets fired from his job and returns home, where he thinks his skills as a TV detective will help him solve real-life crimes. Sound familiar? It should. Think The Grinder, where it was Rob Lowe who returned home. So it’s been done before? Who cares? I’ve been a fan of O’Connell’s since Stand By Me. This show is pure fun.
Executive Producers: Hania Elkington and Simon Duric
Stars: Sorcha Groundsell, Percelle Ascott, and Guy Pearce.
Premiere Date: August 24 on Netflix
As mentioned above, Netflix is saturating the TV marketplace this month, but The Innocents stands out. June (Sorcha Groundsell) and Harry (Percelle Ascott) are two teenagers who run away wanting to escape their parents, their lives and their responsibilities. But once on the run, they discover that June has a pesky habit of shape shifting. Guy Pearce is the professor who promises he can help June and reunite her with her mother. But does he have an ulterior motive? (What do you think?) Will June and Harry’s love survive the eight episodes?
Executive Producers: Steve James
Stars: Brendan Barette, Diane Berrios-Smith, Jada Buford, Charles Donalson, Caroline Robling-Griest, Ke’Shawn Kumsa, Grant Lee, Kendale McCoy, Terrence Moore, Tiara Oliphant, Chanti Relf, Gabe Townsell and Jessica Stovall
Premiere Date: August 26 at 10 p.m. on Starz
The Hoop Dreams director turns his attention to Oak Park and River Forest High School in Chicago. The 10-episode docuseries follows 12 students for one academic year. The school is ostensibly one of the most diverse in the nation, and James examines the causes of the achievement gap between the white students and the black students in this fairly affluent middle-class neighborhood. The series is already being touted as one of the year’s best.
Executive Producers: Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland
Stars: John Krasinski, Wendell pierce, Abbie Cornish, Ali Sulman and Dina Shihabi
Premiere Date: August 31 on Amazon
Amazon has been sitting on this series for a while. Krasinski finished filming this before he went to work on A Quiet Place. If ever we could have used an eight-episode, action-packed escape from reality, this summer was it. Oh, well: Binge we will on Labor Day weekend. The former star of The Office headlines as the title character, CIA analyst Jack Ryan. Ryan has been tied to a desk job, but obviously that won’t last long. Wendell Pierce is his boss, who pulls him into all the action. The series has already been picked up for a second season, so let’s hope we’ll see that sooner rather than later.
Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and the Assistant TV Editor for Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal) or her blog .