August, known for years as a dumping ground for movies released only out of contractual obligation, offers some great options for television viewing.
Here are five to watch, along with some other things to keep an eye out for. And prepare for more Princess Diana-related broadcasts tied to the 20th anniversary of her death, including the two-night, four-hour Story of Diana on Aug. 9 and 10 (8 p.m. on ABC).
'Marvel's The Defenders'
It's all been leading up to this. That's two seasons of Daredevil, one season of Jessica Jones, one season of Luke Cage and one season of Iron Fist. Put the street team together, throw in a big bad, and you get eight episodes of the team-up for which fans of the Marvel's franchise have been waiting. The Defenders premieres Aug. 18 on Netflix. Now the question is, "Who's got next?" Raise your hand if you know. I see you, Punisher fans. I see you ...
Sam (Keir Gilchrist) is like any normal 18-year-old trying to assert his independence, except when he's not. Sam is on the autism spectrum. What's intriguing is that this comedy is told from Sam's perspective. So many other shows with autistic characters come from the neurotypical characters' points of view, and they usually are not laughing in the very real way that autism families do. (Note: I am an autism mom who laughs with her child, a lot.) Jennifer Jason Leigh, who also serves as a producer on the eight-episode series, plays Sam's protective mother. The series drops Aug. 11 on Netflix.
They were all smiles at San Diego Comic-Con in late July, but don't let the happy pictures fool you. This series, which David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies) adapted from a book by Stephen King, is a cat-and-mouse game between the titular serial killer (Harry Treadaway) that got away and retired -- or so he imagines -- police lieutenant Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson). Talk about haunting, except this is no ghost; with Kelley and King involved, there will be death. The series will premiere on AT&T's Audience Network, DirecTV Ch. 239 and DirecTV NOW on Aug. 9.
'Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update'
This spinoff is on tap for at least four episodes. Colin Jost and Michael Che will do the honors, skewering the news and the news makers in their time-honored fashion. Che, fresh off a Netflix comedy special in which he opened some eyes to his blistering commentary and wit, has to live up to his own pre-game.
Let's see if either of them can keep a straight face through an entire show. Weekend Update premieres Thursday, Aug. 10, at 8 p.m. on NBC.
'The Real Housewives of Dallas'
Two new cast members will stir the soup in the second season. D'Andra Simmons and Kameron Westcott. The dynamic "wealthy socialite" duo will join returning star-bearers LeeAnne Locken, Stephanie Hollman, Cary Deuber and Brandi Redmond. The series premieres Monday, Aug. 14, at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
Here is a curated TV list for the rest of August:
Manhunt: Unabomber: Eight episodes about the FBI's long search for long-held suspect Ted Kaczynski features a cast filled out by a laundry list of names you know, including Sam Worthington, Paul BEttany, Jane Lynch, Chris Noth, Mark Duplass, Keisha Castle-Hughes and Micheal Nouri. The limited series premieres at 8 p.m. on Discovery.
Also: Chopped Grill Masters, 9 p.m. Food; Dance Moms, 8 p.m. Lifetime
The Sinner: Jessica Biel returns to television in an adaptation of a German crime thriller. This is not 7th Heaven. In this show, Biel stuns herself and others by committing a violent, bloody crime. There's only one question left: Why did she do it? The "eight-episode close-ended series" premieres at 9 on USA.
What Would Diplo Do? James Van Der Beek stars as the DJ? OK. 9 p.m. Viceland.
The Guest Book: This anthology series is set at a vacation home -- and chronicles its guests -- in a small town. 9 p.m. TBS
Also: The Chris Gethard Show, 10 p.m. truTV; Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, 9 p.m. CMT
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later: I can't wait until they get to the 25th reunion show. Netflix
Also: Comrade Detective, Amazon, and Voltron: Legendary Defender, Netflix
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming: Charo! And sharks. Who could ask for anything more? 7 p.m. Syfy
Also: Life of Kylie, 8 p.m. E; Ray Donovan, 8 p.m. Showtime
Carpool Karaoke: It was only a matter of time before the popular late-night show segment turned into a prime-time special and then a series all its own. Celebrities take turns behind the wheel, singing with stars. Apple Music
Also: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Netflix
Get Shorty: The Elmore Leonard novel-turned-John Travolta movie gets another makeover as a series starring Ray Romano and Chris O'Dowd. Epix
Bachelor in Paradise: Scandal, and not the made-up kind either, has touched this version of the show before it even aired as taping was suspended earlier in the summer to investigate alleged misconduct. Season 4 will premiere with a two-hour tour, um, show, at 7 p.m. on ABC.
Marlon: Loosely based on the real life of star Marlon Wayans, the series is a one-pot stew made up of dollops of other family sitcoms; the pilot owes as much to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as it does to, well, name a show. It's edible, but you might not want it every day. It also means that you will laugh out loud -- not as often as you'd like -- and you'll come away with some memorable lines. Essence Atkins, an alum of lots of family sitcoms (Are We There Yet?, Half & Half, Smart Guy) and a film with Wayans (A Haunted House), plays it straight as the ex-wife to Wayans' madcap father of two. The series premieres at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Also: MTV Undressed, 10 p.m. MTV
Halt and Catch Fire: The final season of the dramatic look at the business of nurturing the internet will start with a two-hour premiere. 8 p.m. AMC
Episodes, 9 p.m. Showtime; The Last Ship, 8 p.m. TNT; Survivor's Remorse, 9 p.m. Starz
Disjointed: Kathy Bates in a stoner comedy series. For Netflix? I'm in.
Death Note: A book granting the power of death falls into the hands of an initially well-meaning teen in this movie based on Japanese manga series. Netflix
The Tick: "Spoon!" I've been waiting to write that ever since Amazon put out the first episode during its pilot season. Creator Ben Edlund takes another crack at a live-action series adapted from his comics, this time focusing on sidekick Arthur (Griffin Newman).
Also: DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge, Netflix