‘Insecure,’ ‘The Incredible Jessica James’ and More TV You Must See This Week

Plus an Oscar-nominated documentary, a series from the Duplass brothers, and yes more ‘Game of Thrones.’
By  · Published on July 23rd, 2017

Plus an Oscar-nominated documentary, a series from the Duplass brothers, and yes more ‘Game of Thrones.’

This week, we’re through almost a third of the new Game of Thrones season already while welcoming back another of our beloved HBO series, Insecure. But we’re also really looking forward to a hit film from Sundance, another Amazon series spawned from a successful pilot, a new show from the Duplass brothers, and the television debuts of a couple recent Oscar-nominated works.

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 July 23rd-29th (all times Eastern):

SUNDAYGame of Thrones (HBO, 9pm)

We were disappointed with the slow table setting of the Season 7 premiere, so hopefully the second episode will speed things up. We know from the preview of “Stormborn” that we’ll be getting closer to seeing Jon Snow meet Daenerys and maybe we’ll see Daenerys and company begin her attack on Cersei and King’s Landing. Given the episode’s title, we can expect a heavy Daenerys focus at least.

Insecure (HBO, 10:30pm)

Stick around half an hour after Game of Thrones (with Ballers in the way) and you’ll be treated to the return of Issa Rae’s hit comedy series, which we recently revisited in anticipation (the entire first season is available free to stream on YouTube today). Jasmine Ballew writes, “Rae’s original and almost effortless sense of humor shines in her portrayal of the main character, also named Issa, as she and her best friend, Molly (Yvonne Orji), encounter numerous bumps in the road such as infidelity, race in the workplace, and mental health.”

Also on Sunday:
Claws S1E7: “Escape” (TNT, 9pm)
First Ladies Revealed E4: “Trailblazers” (Smithsonian, 9pm)
The Nineties E3: “Can We All Get Along?” (CNN, 9pm)
S4E5: “Don’t Thank Me” (Starz, 9pm)
Twin Peaks: The Return “Part 11” (Showtime, 9pm)
Ballers S3E1: “Seeds of Expansion” — Season 3 premiere (HBO, 10pm)
I’m Dying Up Here S1E7: “My Rifle, My Pony, and Me” (Showtime, 10pm)
Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level S1E6: “BT Kingsley: An Original Individual” (Comedy Central, 11pm)

MONDAYJoe’s Violin (PBS)
Shalom Italia (PBS)

This week’s installment of POV showcases another of this year’s Oscar-nominated shorts with Joe’s Violin, a “sweet human interest story,” as I called it when I ranked the films this year. It’s about a Holocaust survivor violinist who passes down his instrument to a young student in need. That light and feel-good documentary is joined by a mid-length film about three Holocaust survivor brothers searching for the cave where they hid from the Nazis. If you miss this double-feature when it airs (check local listings, though most markets should play it Monday at 10pm), they should be on the POV site to stream free the next day.

Also on Monday:
The Bachelorette S13E9 — Season 13 finale (ABC, 8pm)
S1E4: “Brave New World” (TNT, 9pm)
S2E6: “Sokosha” (AMC, 9pm)
Teen Mom 2 (MTV, 9pm)
Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy — documentary premiere (HBO, 10pm)

TUESDAYJoe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special (Netflix)

Another lesser-known comic gets a Netflix special, but you likely do know a lot of Mande’s work. He’s a writer/producer who has been involved with Parks and RecreationKroll Show, and Master of None, plus he’s appeared often on Parks and Recreation and Modern Family and did the popular comedy pod The Million Dollar Podcast. The preview for his Netflix special is just him talking about poop, which doesn’t seem like a way to attract an audience, but we’ll be tuning in for sure.

Also on Tuesday:
Frontline: Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria — documentary premiere (PBS)
Casual S3E12: “99” (Hulu)
The Bold Type S1E4: “If You Can’t Do It With Feeling” (Freeform, 9pm)

WEDNESDAYToni Erdmann (Starz)

It’s time to finally see Maren Ade’s Oscar-nominated film, which was also one of the most talked about foreign-language features of last year. Or watch it again, because it’s that great and is making its cable debut today. The story of a woman trying to make it in a male-dominated corporate world while also dealing with surprise visits from her puckish father is, as Jamie Righetti wrote in response to news of a remake, “more than just an awkward comedy…something almost indescribable but vital to experience.”

Also on Wednesday:
Catfish: The TV Show (MTV, 9pm)
Broadchurch S3E5 (BBC America, 10pm)
I’m Sorry S1E4: “Goddess Party” (truTV, 10pm)
Snowfall S1E4: “Trauma” (FX, 10pm)

THURSDAYHarmonQuest (Seeso)

Dan Harmon’s guest-filled RPG series returns with a second season of animated adaptations of fantasy roleplaying campaigns, led by Harmon’s half-orc ranger “Fondue Zoobag.” In addition to Harmon and his regular friends, including co-producer/Game Master Spencer Crittenden, “Part One” welcomes Patton Oswalt, Gillian Jacobs, Rory Scovel, Aparna Nancherla, and Paul Scheer.

Also on Thursday
Hooten & the Lady S1E3: “Egypt” (The CW, 9pm)
The Mist S1E6: “The Devil You Know” (Spike, 10pm)
Queen of the South
 S2E8: “Sacar Con Sifon el Mar” (USA, 10pm)
Zoo S3E5: “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (CBS, 10pm)

FRIDAYThe Incredible Jessica James (Netflix)

The Daily Show‘s Jessica Williams stars as the title character, a New York City playwright getting over a bad breakup, in this highly acclaimed Sundance closer from filmmaker Jim Strouse (People Places Things). She rebounds by going on a blind date with a divorced man played by Chris O’Dowd, but they strike up a friendship rather than a romance. Williams, who has received raves for her performance, is also joined in the comedy by Noel Wells and Lakeith Stanfield.

The Last Tycoon (Amazon)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic (unfinished) novel gets another adaptation, this time as a series for Amazon by filmmaker Billy Ray (Shattered Glass). The show already has plenty of fans thanks to the popular pilot that debuted last year, and now it’s joined all at once by nine more episodes. Matt Bomer and Kelsey Grammer star as a film producer and studio boss, respectively, who clash in 1930s Hollywood. Lily Collins and Rosemarie DeWitt co-star.

Room 104 (HBO)

Jay and Mark Duplass created and Mark Duplass mostly writes this weekly anthology series set in the titular hotel room. Each episode has a different story take place in that same setting. Among the stars who’ll be seen throughout the series include Amy Landecker, Nat Wolff, Philip Baker Hall, James Van Der Beek, Orlando Jones, Poorna Jagannathan, and Keir Gilchrist.

Also on Friday:
Daughters of Destiny —- documentary debut (Netflix)
The Great British Baking Show 
S4E8: “Tudor Week” (PBS, 9pm)

SATURDAY Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Starz, 8pm)

Ang Lee’s latest was a flop at the box office last year, but that mostly had to do with its higher frame rate gimmick being panned by most critics and turning off mainstream moviegoers. But as Tomris Laffly writes in her review, “Ultimately, there is a deep, philosophical film buried in….this strangely alienating one that is bound to exist as a failed technological experiment, rather than the great masterwork it should have been.” I’m fairly certain its presentation on Starz will not involve the gimmick, so now you can appreciate the film itself.

Also on Saturday:
Orphan Black S5E8: “Guillotines Decide” (BBC America, 10pm)

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.