Movies and TV Shows

What to Watch This Week on TV : ‘Queen Sugar’ and ‘Atlanta’


Fall TV: It’s finally beginning. If you see someone running down the street, high-fiving a million angels and going on and on about “Queen Sugar,” that’s me. Stop me and say hello; we’ll go get a coffee and talk about whether “Masters of Sex,” returning Sept. 11, can get good again.

The bounty is so great that we have shows for you every day this week. Happy watching, cupcakes.

Your Daily TV Recommendations: Monday

Nicole Byer is the latest comedian to have a marginally autobiographical show about a young performer trying to make her way in the entertainment biz, with the help of a few weirdo sidekicks. But luckily this sneaked in just before we reached utter saturation — the series is funny and filthy in all the right ways.

If you like “Broad City,” but wish it were more cynical and less joyous, this is for you. The show’s worldview is still underdeveloped, and the aesthetics could be fancier, but the sense of comic freedom bordering on abandon is exhilarating. I only wish MTV were releasing more episodes at once.

Also Recommended

“Rizzoli & Isles,” 9 p.m., TNT. It’s the series finale, which means it’s the last chance for Rizzoli and Isles to finally, finally kiss.

“POV: The Birth of Saké,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listings). Hello, it is I, the person who will watch and love any documentary about old-world expertise threatened by modern society’s indifference.

“The Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe,” 10 p.m., Comedy Central. I’m fundamentally not interested in this roast qua roast, but I’m curious how Comedy Central will edit it down, given the content of the actual event.


“Atlanta,” 10 p.m., FX.

In his long-awaited dramedy, Donald Glover stars as Earnest “Earn” Marks, stymied and frustrated and radiating defeat. Lacking other options, he decides to try to manage his cousin’s budding rap career. “Atlanta” isn’t a music-industry show, really, and it’s certainly not a tightly-paced comedy. It’s not even primarily plot oriented. It’s lovely, even poetic, sometimes, but ambient — the show surrounds you more than it comes toward you.

Queen Sugar,” 10 p.m., OWN.

Ava DuVernay, the director of the movie “Selma,” and Oprah Winfrey are the executive producers behind this ensemble family drama that does indeed live up to the hype. The show is about three adult siblings who, following individual and collective calamities, return home to their family’s Louisiana sugar cane farm. If you’re already missing “Greenleaf,” which finished its run this past Wednesday, this will more than meet your needs.

“Queen Sugar” is one of the sexiest shows in recent memory, and that plus some familiar prodigal-child story beats might make it seem like an expendable soap. But the show’s languid pace and sense of compassion for its characters make it stand out. It’s a grown-up show for grown-ups about grown-ups who have grown-up problems — not shenanigans, not stupid misunderstandings, not things that can be resolved with one big hug.

Also Recommended

“A Season With Florida State Football,” 10 p.m., Showtime. Last year’s “A Season With Notre Dame Football” was an absorbing look at the endlessly fraught world of college football.


“Gaycation,” 10 p.m., Viceland.

Ellen Page’s travel-cum-advocacy series returns for its second season, kicking things off in India. I sometimes wish the show had a more expansive understanding of non-Western structures of sex and sexuality, but it’s a start.

Also Recommended

“Queen Sugar,” 10 p.m., OWN. “Sugar” airs two episodes this week; this is its regular time slot.


“Better Things,” 10 p.m., FX.

One more comedian-auteur show this week! This one stars Pamela Adlon of “Louie” as Sam, an actress and single mom to three daughters. Adlon and Louie C.K. created the series, and it has an atmosphere of smart exasperation you’d expect from another of their collaborations. If surly and screaming TV teens and tweens stress you out, this isn’t for you. But if you like grounded comedies and miss Adlon’s weary style, you won’t do better than “Better.”


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