What’s on TV This Week: ‘House of the Dragon’ and U.S. Gymnastic Championships
Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, Aug. 15-21. Details and times are subject to change.
BETTER CALL SAUL 9 p.m. on AMC. The sixth and final season of this “Breaking Bad” prequel spinoff is finishing up its 13-episode arc on Monday, which came after a two-year break and an on-set health scare for Bob Odenkirk, who plays Saul Goodman. This episode will tie up lots of loose ends from an unexpected turn of events. The New York Times reporter David Segal wrote in last week’s episode recap that “the show has ditched the idea that this is a narrative about love. The show will culminate, it seems, by posing questions about fairness and justice and maybe mercy.”
LEONARDO 8 p.m. on the CW. After a successful first season run of this show in Europe and Canada, it is coming to the U.S. via the CW. The series stars Aidan Turner as a young Leonardo da Vinci in a fictional version of the real painter’s life. The first episode centers on Leonardo being arrested for poisoning Caterina de Cremona (which, for the record, did not happen in real life). The series also stars Matilda De Angelis and Freddie Highmore.
DARK SIDE OF COMEDY 9 p.m. on VICE. This original series from VICE is addressing how the unexpected fame, societal pressures and internal battles that come along with being a notable comedian can have an impact on addiction or depression. Each episode will feature a comedian who has battled with mental health struggles or died of suicide. The first episode features Chris Farley, the “Saturday Night Live” comedian who died at 33 from an overdose of cocaine and morphine in 1997. Other episodes in this 10-episode series will feature Andrew Dice Clay, Roseanne Barr and Artie Lange.
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA (1958) 6:30 p.m. on TCM. This film, based on the Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name, is about a Cuban fisherman (Spencer Tracy), his 14-year-old friend Manolin (Felipe Pazos Jr.) and the fisherman’s three-day battle with a huge marlin fish. “It is an impressive ordeal, as ordeals in catching fish go, and Mr. Tracy represents it in an admirably rugged, stubborn way,” the New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote in his 1958 review of the film. “He looks convincingly ancient, with lank white hair and stubbly beard, and he performs with the creaky, painful movements of a weary, stiff-jointed old man.”
THE BOURNE LEGACY (2012) 6:42 p.m. on STARZ. This movie is the fourth in the franchise — with “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004) and “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007) coming before. This movie does not actually feature the titular C.I.A. agent Jason Bourne because Matt Damon, who plays him, did not sign on. Instead, Jeremy Renner stars as the rogue spy Aaron Cross, who, having survived an assassination attempt, is on the run after Jason Bourne exposed black-ops programs to the public.
NEW YORK TIMES PRESENTS: SUPERSPREADER 10 p.m. on FX. This documentary series from FX in collaboration with The Times, which has included “Controlling Britney Spears” and “The Killing on Breonna Taylor,” is back with a new episode on Friday. This new episode takes a look at Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician in Florida, who has faced scrutiny and government regulatory action after spreading false information about the Covid-19 vaccine and instead recommending unproved and dangerous alternative treatments which benefits him financially. The episode will simultaneously air on FX and be available to stream on Hulu.
THE REHEARSAL 11 p.m. on HBO. With a six-episode arc, Nathan Fielder’s new show is wrapping up its first season. In this show, his follow-up to “Nathan For You,” Fielder directs rehearsals of staged scenarios featuring ordinary people to prepare them for the future events. “The show has a philosophical core: Is it ever possible to truly understand another person?” The Times’s television critic James Poniewozik wrote in his review of the show. “And there’s a tender, even beautiful side to its surreal moments.”
GASLIGHT (1944) 9 p.m., on PBS (check local listings). This spooky film noir, directed by George Cukor, stars Ingrid Bergman as Paula, a young woman who returns to her deceased aunt’s home in London with her new husband, Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer). Strange, unexplainable things happen in the house, but Gregory, who is not who he says he is, tries to convince Paula that it is all in her imagination and that she is hysterical. The verb “to gaslight” — to psychologically manipulate a person into questioning her own sanity — derives from this movie, J. Hoberman explained in his 2019 article in The Times.
U.S. GYMNASTIC CHAMPIONSHIPS 7 p.m. on NBC. The 2022 U.S. Gymnastics Championships are happening this week at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fl., and Sunday is the last day to watch the competition live. Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles will likely lead the women’s field and Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus will compete against Brody Malone as he tries to defend his 2021 title. With the 2024 Paris Olympics less than two years away, this championship acts as a preview for that competition. The gymnasts will participate in the all-around and apparatus competitions.
HOUSE OF THE DRAGON 9 p.m. on HBO. Though “Game of Thrones” has been off the air for three years, this prequel spinoff, based on George R.R. Martin’s novel “Fire & Blood,” is set 200 years before. “Dragon” also features a new cast as warring factions of the Targaryen family: Matt Smith as Prince Daemon, Paddy Considine as King Viserys and Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra. “The trick here is, you don’t want to just remake the original show,” Casey Bloys, the HBO chief content officer, said in a recent interview with The Times. “You want to make a show that feels related and honors the original, but also feels like its own.”