Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Umbrella Academy reconvenes, The Muppets take Disney+, and Beyoncé Beyoncés

Clockwise from top left: Kermit, RuPaul Charles (Photo Disney+); Beyoncé (Travis/Matthews/Disney+); Robert Sheehan, Justin H. Min, Aidan Gallagher, Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman (Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix)
Clockwise from top left: Kermit, RuPaul Charles (Photo Disney+); Beyoncé (Travis/Matthews/Disney+); Robert Sheehan, Justin H. Min, Aidan Gallagher, Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman (Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix)
Graphic: The A.V. Club

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, July 31, and Saturday, August 1. All times are Eastern.


Top picks

The Umbrella Academy (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete second season): “The Umbrella Academy was annoyingly watchable in season one. The characters were fun, the performances were good, and the world was just wacky enough to suggest the potential for exciting developments; but the frustrating way it obfuscated virtually everything about the plot just so it could make a shocking reveal later on made getting to those exciting developments a pain. The best thing that can be said about season two, then, is that it is that same show but good. Not perfect, certainly, but if Sir Reginald Hargreeves has made any of his terrible lessons abundantly clear, it’s that people will continue to improve if you repeatedly tell them that they’re bad and you don’t love them.” Read the rest of Sam Barsanti’s pre-air review. Caroline Siede’s binge recaps will run daily, beginning today.
Can you binge it? Indeed you can, and we suspect that Netflix would really like it if you would. If you’ve already watched it—or haven’t but would rather just jump in on season two—you can prepare with our catch-up guide to the show’s characters.

Muppets Now (Disney+, Friday, 3:01 a.m., series premiere): “Be it Kermit, Miss Piggy, or Animal, in an off-the-cuff conversation or a scripted bit, [The Muppets have] always allowed whomever they’re talking with to slip away from the unstated rules and social contracts of human interaction. Keep believing, keep pretending, and in that moment, you too could be a Muppet. That’s the guiding principle of Muppets Now, the Muppets’ new streaming series and Disney’s best effort to date at bringing Henson’s most famous creations back to TV. It’s not the entirety of what makes the Muppets work (and some of those other qualities are, fortunately, on display here, too), but it’s a good starting point. On Muppets Now, the Muppets get grown adults to answer deeply personal questions, smear their faces with makeup, and splatter a pizza parlor’s entire menu against a wall. It’s the kind of show where a tense taco cook-off between Danny Trejo and The Swedish Chef ends, like Kermit and Joey’s ABCs standoff, in a heart-melting show of affection.” Read the rest of Erik Adams’ pre-air review.
Can you binge it? You cannot! This sucker arrives weekly, the old-fashioned way.

Black Is King (Disney+, Friday, 3:01 a.m., premiere): Look for Shannon Miller’s coverage of Beyoncé’s new visual album, which is Lion King-related in some way.

Regular coverage

Wild cards

Time for another wild card lightning round.

Brassic (Hulu, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete first season, U.S. premiere): Preacher’s Joseph Gilgun created this series, the latest of Hulu’s recent crop of British imports. He stars as Vinnie, “just a bipolar thief who lives in the woods—but we’ll get to that.”

Get Even (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete first season, U.S. premiere): Netflix has fun accents, too! In this BBC series, four “teen enemies” join forces to take down bullies and wind up framed for murder. Naturally.

The Go-Go’s (Showtime, Friday, 9 p.m., documentary special premiere): “In the early ’80s, The Go-Go’s were the epitome of bright, breezy fun-girl pop, cresting the first wave of MTV stardom. But the true story of the band is much darker, awash in depression, drug addiction, and intra-band squabbles that belied the group’s candy-colored façade. Documentarian Alison Ellwood continues her encyclopedic efforts to chronicle the California music scene (following History Of The Eagles and Laurel Canyon) with a new Showtime documentary on the first all-girl band in the U.S. to have a No. 1 record playing its own instruments and writing its own songs. As one member of the band says in the movie’s intro, ‘People automatically assume that we were put together by some guy, but we did it all ourselves.’” Read the rest of Gwen Ihnat’s pre-air review.

Upside-Down Magic (Disney Channel, Friday, 8 p.m., premiere): What if you went to Hogwarts (but, like, American Hogwarts, but not Ilvermorny, somewhere else) but got sorted into a separate house that’s just for weirdos who turn into bat-cat-llamas? That’s this movie.

Martha Knows Best (HGTV, Friday, 10 p.m., series premiere): Like many of us, Martha Stewart is spending a lot of time doing household projects and Zooming with her friends. Unlike the rest of us, she got to turn that into a TV show.

Sugar Rush (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m, complete third season): Aaaaaand cakes.