Mid-August used to be a time when we were exclusively looking ahead to fall premieres. But, with the advent of streaming TV and the constant churn of new shows, August is no longer a dead zone — just ask this week’s premieres.
On Netflix alone there are two high-profile shows in very different veins: First, there’s Painkiller, a dramatized look at the opioid crisis from various vantage points. If that seems too heavy, there’s also Zombieverse, a reality show about living through a zombie apocalypse.
Apple’s taking a chance with Strange Planet, an animated show based on the popular blue alien comic of the same name. There are also big names back on Hulu, with Only Murders in the Building coming back for a third season. This time around, Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, and Martin Short are joined by Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd. Not too shabby!
Of course, there’s also a ton of TV to catch up with, including at least one notable season finale this week (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds). Here are all the significant TV premieres (and one finale) this week:
New shows on Netflix
Genre: Fictional re-creation drama
Release date: Aug. 10, with all episodes
Showrunner/creator: Peter Berg
Cast: Uzo Aduba, Matthew Broderick, Taylor Kitsch, Dina Shihabi, West Duchovny, John Rothman
This scripted limited series looks at the opioid crisis from all the angles it can: from peddlers to victims, origins to aftermath, criminal acts to the legal ones. That’s not necessarily anyone’s idea of “fun,” but Painkiller hopes to make at least an enlightening time as it dramatizes the invention and impact of OxyContin.
Genre: Zombie reality show
Release date: Aug. 8, with all episodes
Showrunner/creator: Park Jin-kyung and Moon Sang-don
Would you survive a zombie apocalypse? This Korean reality show puts that question to the real test — well, almost. The apocalypse is fake, but the accompanying challenges are real, and let us really understand how much cardio you need in order to survive in a post-zombie world.
New shows on Hulu
Only Murders in the Building season 3
Genre: Murder mystery
Release date: Aug. 8, with two episodes
Showrunner/creator: Steve Martin and John Hoffman
Cast: Selena Gomez, Martin Short, Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, Paul Rudd, Jesse Williams, and more
The three true-crime fans turned podcasters have now solved two murders in their building. One might wonder: How could there possibly be a third? Well, as the second season finale showed, the star of Oliver’s (Martin Short) show, Ben (Paul Rudd), keeled over onstage at the opening night of the production. And once again, all is not what it seems.
New shows on Max
Release date: Aug. 13 at 10 p.m. EDT on HBO and Max
Showrunner/creator: Adam Bhala Lough and Sam Lipman-Stern
Sam Lipman-Stern joined Civic Development Group in 2001 as a 14-year-old high school dropout. Telemarketers starts off with his early days as a telemarketer there — filming classic office antics and whatnot — before zooming in on the dubious fundraising practices behind the organization itself.
New shows on Paramount Plus
Billions season 7
Genre: Moneygrubbers drama
Release date: Aug. 11 on Paramount Plus; Aug. 13 on Showtime
Showrunner/creator: Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin
Cast: Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, David Costabile, Condola Rashād, Asia Kate Dillon, and more
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Betrayals might be afoot in Billions. Deals are getting made, and alliances just could be corrupted. What we do know: Damian Lewis is back! Scoundrels are out and about and out to make their (sorry) billions! The financial world is full of snakes, and they are all slithering around the world of Billions season 7.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 finale
Release date: Aug. 10
Creators: Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet
Cast: Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, Ethan Peck, Jess Bush, Celia Rose Gooding, and more
We’re capping off the second season of Strange New Worlds, a season that has adventurously and gamely taken on everything from a crossover episode to the first-ever Trek musical episode. Last season ended with Una’s arrest, so suffice it to say the stakes could be high at the end of season 2.
New shows on Apple TV Plus
Genre: Gentle goofy alien comedy
Release date: Aug. 9, with three episodes
Showrunner/creator: Nathan W. Pyle and Dan Harmon
Cast: Danny Pudi, Tunde Adebimpe, Demi Adejuyigbe, Lori Tan Chinn, Hannah Einbinder, and more
Based on the beloved webcomic of the same name, Strange Planet follows blue aliens who are kindly, curious, and very verbose. Their adventures are small-scale — navigating a promotion! Planning a surprise party! — but their flowery language is big and (true to the comic) mostly quaint.