The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of June 27, 2016

Which TV series will your friends (and the entire internet) be talking about this week? Stay informed — or at least be able to fake it — with SideReel's weekly guide to The Most Important Shows on TV.

 

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee: S1E17

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

Monday at 10:30 p.m. on TBS

Why: In the leadup to her show's debut, Samantha Bee did two things that captured my attention: she responded to a magazine spread featuring the male late-night hosts but excluding her (despite her high-profile show's announcement) like a boss, and she anticipated the vitriol she would attract from trolls by launching the Samantha Bee Rape Threatline. Everything she's done since the show's premiere in February has captured my heart. This lady is straight fire. Whether she's taking on the NRA, dismantling the antiquated arguments of ancient white lawmakers, or roasting racists, she is producing modern, enlightening, and funny TV. Some have argued that she should have taken over The Daily Show, but as her recent TCA Award nominations suggest, Bee has found the perfect home and format for her unique and powerful voice.

Prepare to talk about: Bee's pitch-perfect delivery; the latest target of her righteous anger.

 

Gold Medal Families: S1E1

Gold Medal Families
(Series Premiere)

Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Lifetime

Why: The countdown to Rio has begun. While Olympic officials desperately retest the water of Guanabara Bay and worriedly eye every mosquito that zips by, athletes around the world continue going to extraordinary lengths to get to Brazil. Lifetime's new docuseries showcases six Olympic hopefuls and their families, revealing the sacrifices required for an elite athlete to reach the podium. Among those profiled are gymnast Aly Raisman, who hopes to add to her collection of medals after winning gold in 2012; boxer Jajaira Gonzalez, who, when not training, cleans houses alongside her mother to help make ends meet; and diver Jordan Windle, a national champion who was adopted from a Cambodian orphanage and who co-wrote a semi-autobiographical children's book with one of his two dads.

Prepare to talk about: Why any country would want to host the Olympics anyway (what a nightmare); how at just 22, Raisman is considered old.

 

The Great British Baking Show: S3E1

The Great British Baking Show
(Season Premiere)

Friday at 9 p.m. on PBS

Why: Take everything you love about U.S. food/cooking shows, remove the phoniness, add a dash of Himalayan pink salt, and you've got this perfectly prepared British vittle. The winning comedy duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins lead contestants through the challenges with real care and plenty of puns. The impossibly named Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry both look like they'd be annoying judges, but they're delightful — and fair. The contestants come from diverse backgrounds and support each other. There are no celebrity cameos, no producers prodding bakers to throw shade at each other, and no crazy cash prizes. Just exciting challenges, gorgeous production value, and a genuine love of baking. This summer, PBS is airing what the BBC showed last fall. But whether you know it as the former's Great British Baking Show or the latter's Great British Bake Off, it truly is the most satisfying cooking show on TV.

Prepare to talk about: Whether we can trade Gordon Ramsay for Paul Hollywood; how terribly polite everyone is; the correct way to pronounce "scone."

 

T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He hopes Mary Berry is taking the Brexit news well. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments

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scotwotContributor
Jun 24, 2016 8:52PM EDT

Great list, T.J.

I LOVE Samantha Bee, she was great on the Daily Show and truly deserved her own show. The Olympics show is one I haven't heard of so will definitely watch that...

The baking is extraordinarily good on TGBBakeOff, how they accomplish such beauty in a sweltering hot tent is beyond me, yet they do, lovely show to watch... :)

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Jun 25, 2016 7:59AM EDT

I am curious to see how Gold Medal Families portrays their subjects. I hope it isn't more docudrama than documentary. Samantha Bee continues to be a delight to watch. Great list T.J!

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zazerhContributor
Jun 27, 2016 12:19PM EDT

OMGGGG YASSSSSS British Baking Show!

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scotwotContributor
Jun 27, 2016 12:50PM EDT

Paul Hollywood's beautiful blue eyes...*swoon* :D

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Jun 28, 2016 9:36AM EDT

Yay time for the Bake Off! Can't wait for to see lots of delicious treats and contestants squirming under Pauls icy stare. :P

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mia1290
Jun 28, 2016 10:46AM EDT

@T.J. DeGroat wrong way round "whether you know it as the former's Great British Baking Show or the latter's Great British Bake Off"

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Jun 28, 2016 1:16PM EDT

@mia1290 when I say "the former" I'm referring to the PBS reference in the previous sentence. PBS calls it "Baking Show" (a name change I'll never understand).

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