From a guest shot on P-Valley to co-hosting The Tonight Show, rap queen Megan Thee Stallion is having a busy summer. The CW imports the teen dramedy Bump, about an overachieving high-schooler who unexpectedly gives birth. Six Alone veterans return to battle Frozen conditions in the franchise’s latest spinoff. Major League Baseball gets nostalgic, returning to Iowa’s “Field of Dreams” ballpark with the Reds and Cubs in vintage 1900s uniforms.
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The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Fresh and familiar faces have been keeping things interesting in late night during summer’s dog days. Joe Walsh is the latest music legend to sit in for a week’s residency on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been welcoming guest hosts all summer—David Alan Grier is scheduled to fill in tonight—and working alongside Jimmy Fallon for a one-night stand as co-host is superstar rapper Megan Thee Stallion. Having just made a splash as Tina Snow on the Starz drama P-Valley, she’ll help deliver the monologue with Fallon and interview guests including Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer. Hard to imagine she won’t also groove with The Roots before the night is over.
Roadshow Rough Diamond
Until she went into labor at school, not even knowing she was expecting, overachieving high-schooler Olympia Chalmers-Davis (a soulful Nathalie Morris) thought her upcoming presentation in class was her biggest headache. Shock becomes denial—“Get that thing away from me,” she growls at the nurse bringing her newborn for inspection—in a sensitive Australian dramedy that explores the impact of this surprise arrival on Oly’s family, including her currently estranged parents, and that of Santiago (Carlos Sanson Jr.), the student athlete whose identity Oly is keeping secret. For now. The half-hour series opens with back-to-back episodes.
Bump where to stream
Raising the stakes, and possibly a few chilblains, the Alone franchise pushes the misery envelope in an icy spinoff. Six former participants—survivalists Greg Ovens (season 3), Woniya Thibeault (season 6), Michelle Finn (season 8), and from season 7, Callie Russell, Mark D’Ambrosio and Amós Rodriguez—are stranded with few supplies off the North Atlantic Coast of Labrador, Canada as winter sets in. Frigid conditions including incessant rain and fierce winds, plus a dense population of polar bears, make this version of Alone allegedly the most extreme to date. Those who stick it out for 50 days will share a $500,000 cash prize. For us at home, this might at least take our minds off the latest heat wave.
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MLB at Field of Dreams
Baseball and movie fans got chills of sentimental nostalgia a year ago when the White Sox and Yankees met on the iconic Iowa ballpark immortalized in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, with players in vintage uniforms emerging from the cornfield to play ball. When they played it, we came to watch—drawing robust enough ratings to merit a sequel, pitting two teams from the Midwest: the Cincinnati Reds (which I grew up cheering in their Big Red Machine 1970s heyday) and the Chicago Cubs. Players will again be decked out in uniforms reflecting the early 1900s, and viewers will be plugged into the action with Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Cubs outfielder Ian Happ wearing mics to interact with broadcasters Joe Davis and John Smoltz between plays. (Expect a tribute to the late Dreams star Ray Liotta.)
Having lived for years with someone who’s lactose intolerant, I can appreciate a food competition for folks with tricky dietary restrictions. Vegan foodie host Tabitha Brown recruits a revolving panel of judges (with Maneet Chauhan the mainstay) to sample cuisine from four chefs who each week take on challenges like Southern food with only plant-based ingredients or a gluten-free noodle dish or a dinner party minus fruits and veggies. Home cooks might even learn some new tricks along the way.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Great Chocolate Showdown (9/8c, The CW): TV foodies can also savor a new season of the sweet-tooth competition, with 10 home bakers starting their journey by filling a chocolate carousel with mini-desserts, then making a personal statement in the elimination challenge by using the Cabinet of Curiosities for inspiration.
- Top Gear (10/9c, BBC America): In the season finale, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness test-drive innovative energy-efficient new cars in an attempt to prove that going green can still be exciting.
- The Ms. Pat Show (streaming on BET+): The Emmy-nominated sitcom based on Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams’ life story returns for a second season, with Ms. Pat and her family still adjusting to the Indiana suburbs after a turbulent existence in Atlanta.
- Send Help (streaming on ALLBLK): Jean Elie stars in a half-hour dramedy as a Haitian-American TV actor who wonders how he’s going to support his demanding family after his show gets canceled. Are there second acts in Hollywood?
- Titans: The Rise of Hollywood (streaming on Curiosity Stream): A six-part docuseries depicts the birth of the motion picture and the business pressures that led moguls to create a profitable Dream Factory in Los Angeles.
- Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story (streaming on Netflix): A documentary profile of the trans skateboarder focuses on Baker as the 2020 Olympics approach and tough personal decisions must be made.