‘The Tick,’ Adam Wingard’s ‘Death Note’ and More TV You Must See This Week

Other highlights include the penultimate episode of the penultimate season of ‘Game of Thrones’ and the eclipse.
By  · Published on August 20th, 2017

Other highlights include the penultimate episode of the penultimate season of ‘Game of Thrones.’

This week’s essential television includes two very different comic book adaptations, one a comedy series for Amazon and the other a paranormal serial killer film for Netflix, each mostly helmed by fan-favorite filmmakers. We’ve also got a significant episode of Game of Thrones, a new music doc by acquired-taste documentarian Nick Broomfield, and with the solar eclipse happening there’s a lot of space docs and specials to be found on the science-based channels.

To help you keep track of the most important programs over the next seven days, here’s our guide to everything worth watching, whether it’s on broadcast, cable, or streaming for August 20th-26th (all times Eastern):

Game of Thrones (HBO, Sunday 9pm)

The second-to-last episode of any Game of Thrones season tends to be the most shocking and/or intense, and presumably that’s still the case with this brief seven-part term. Last week, a strange alliance including Jon Snow, Jorah, the Hound, Gendry, and the Brotherhood took off on a mission north of the Wall, and the penultimate “Beyond the Wall” promises some action between them and the White Walkers. Some of our heroes will die, but which ones? And will they manage to capture one of the zombie wights per their plan? Thanks to the episode leak, some of you out there know already, but the rest of us shall find out with the airing of this super-size 75-minute installment.

Total Solar Eclipse (NASA, Monday 12pm)

Whether you’re unable to go outside, couldn’t snag a pair of special viewing glasses, are a child who shouldn’t be trusted not to look directly at the sun, or just prefer seeing events on a screen, you’ll have plenty of options through which to experience the solar eclipse safely on your TV or computer screen. All the news outlets will be covering the celestial happening, of course, as it begins on the West Coast around 9am PT, and the Science channel will be airing it live and repeated in primetime for those who can’t skimp on their work duties. NASA’s live-stream on their cable channel or their website is the best way to go, however, because, well, they’re NASA.

The Tick (Amazon, Friday)

We’ve been waiting a year since the very entertaining pilot episode debuted on Amazon for more of this superhero comedy series based on Ben Edlund’s parodic comic book. Peter Serafinowicz as the nutty title character in bright blue costume and Griffin Newman as his moth-costumed accountant-by-day sidekick Arthur are a terrific, hilarious duo. Newman in particular is enjoyable in his role, the main protagonist of the series, and a lot of us should be following him from his work on such shows as Search Party as well as the podcast Blank Check (he’s also got a great Twitter presence). Like the pilot, the second episode is also helmed by Dark Knight trilogy cinematographer Wally Pfister. Six of the 12 episodes of the first season will be available all at once this week.

Death Note (Netflix, Friday)

Nat Wolf (Paper Towns) stars as Light Turner in this American-ized film adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s manga series. He finds a notebook created by the god of death (voiced by Willem Dafoe) that allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes down. He uses it to kill criminals, making him a Dexter-like serial killer of bad guys, and his deeds are investigated by his own father, a cop (Shea Whigham), and a detective (Keith Stanfield). There’s some controversy regarding the white-washing of the Japanese source material, though this is obviously a lot different than the Ghost in the Shell situation. Hopefully it’s good enough to overcome that hurdle, especially since director Adam Wingard (You’re NextThe Guest) needs a hit after his Blair Witch sequel disappointed on all levels.

Whitney: Can I Be Me (Showtime, Friday 9pm)

If you’re not a fan of Nick Broomfield’s past music docs (Kurt & CourtneyBiggie and Tupac), you might want to stay away from this one on the life and downfall of Whitney Houston, though the filmmaker doesn’t have as much of a presence here as he used to. The feature mostly leans on footage shot in 1999 by Rudi Dolezal, who is given co-director credit, plus interviews with friends and family who discuss her drug use and sexual orientation, the latter a topic lacking any certainty — Broomfield can’t ever ignore the sensational. And obviously this is a doc without approval or support of Houston’s estate.


Teen Wolf S6E14 and S6E15: “Face-to-Faceless” and “Pressure Test” (MTV, 8pm)
Twin Peaks: The Return “Part 15” (Showtime, 8pm)
Game of Thrones S7E56: “Beyond the Wall” (HBO, 9pm)
The Nineties E5: “Isn’t it Ironic?” (CNN, 9pm)
S4E9: “That Ain’t Me” (Starz, 9pm)
Ray Donovan S5E3: “Dogwalker” (Showtime, 9pm)
Ballers S3E5: “Make Believe” (HBO, 10pm)
Get Shorty S1E3: “The Tips:
The Strain S4E6: “Tainted Love” (FX, 10pm)
Insecure S2E5 (HBO, 10:30pm)
Rick and Morty S3E5: “The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy” (Cartoon Network, 11:30pm)


Bachelor in Paradise S4E3 (ABC, 8pm)
NOVA: Eclipse Over America
— special (PBS, 8pm)
Great American Eclipse — special (Science, 9pm)
Hooten & the Lady 
S1E7: “Cambodia” (The CW, 9pm)
S1E8: “Your Houses” (TNT, 9pm)
S2E10: “Dirty Little Secret” (AMC, 9pm)
Teen Mom 2 (MTV, 9pm)
Tribal Justice (POV) — doc premiere (PBS, 10pm)


Lynn Koplitz: Hormonal Beast — stand-up special debut (Netflix)
Bachelor in Paradise S4E3 (ABC, 8pm)
Diana: Her Story — doc debut (PBS, 8pm)
Animal Kingdom S2E12: “You Will Be Gutted” (TNT, 9pm)
The Bold Type S1E8: “The End of the Beginning” (Freeform, 9pm)
Manhunt: Unabomber S1E5 (Discovery, 10pm)
The Planets — doc debut (Science, 10pm)


Swedish Dicks S1E5 (Pop, 8pm)
Catfish: The TV Show (MTV, 9pm)
The Farthest: Voyager in Space — doc debut (PBS, 9pm)
I’m Sorry S1E7: “Butt Bumpers” (truTV, 10pm)
The Sinner S1E4: “Part IV” (USA, 10pm)
Snowfall S1E8: “Baby Teeth” (FX, 10pm)
Baroness Von Sketch Show S1E4: “If the Killer is Watching” (IFC, 11pm)


Project Runway S16E2 (Lifetime, 8pm)
Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update (NBC, 9pm)
What Carter Lost (30 for 30) — doc debut (ESPN, 9:30pm)
The Mist S1E10: “The Tenth Meal” (Spike, 10pm)
Queen of the South
 S2E12: “Todas las Horas Hieren” (USA, 10pm)
Zoo S3E9: “The Black Forest” (CBS, 10pm)
The Guest Book S1E5: “Story Five” (TBS, 10:30pm)


Death Note — movie debut (Netflix)
The Tick — Season 1 in full (Amazon)
Whitney: Can I Be Me — doc debut (Showtime, 9pm)
Room 104 S1E5: “The Internet” (HBO, 11:30pm)


Jackie — cable debut (HBO, 8pm)
Halt and Catch Fire 
S4E3: “Miscellaneous” (AMC, 9pm)
Wild West: America’s Great Frontier E2 (BBC America, 9pm)

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.