‘SharkFest’ and Chris Hemsworth, ‘The Beast Must Die,’ A Hart-Felt ‘Celebrity IOU,’ ‘All-American’ Spinoff
The onslaught of summer shark programming begins with the launch of National Geographic’s SharkFest, kicking off with Thor’s Chris Hemsworth swimming among sharks. Cush Jumbo may have left The Good Fight, but she dominates The Beast Must Die, a British thriller about a grieving mother seeking vengeance. Kevin Hart honors his trainer with an emotional Celebrity IOU. The CW’s All American sets up its Homecoming spinoff with a backdoor pilot. A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth
The centerpiece of the ninth annual SharkFest’s opening night is a special in which movie star Chris Hemsworth (Thor) trades his hammer for scuba gear. His mission is to learn how humans can live more harmoniously with sharks, and his guide on a dive among nurse sharks is conservationist and legendary shark researcher Valerie Taylor. This special is flanked by the more alarming When Sharks Attack (8/7c) and Rogue Shark? (10/9c).
The Beast Must Die
The Good Fight’s Cush Jumbo gives an electrifying performance in a six-part British melodrama as a grieving mother who’s willing to go to extremes to get justice for her beloved 6-year-old son, killed three months earlier in a hit-and-run on the scenic Isle of Wight while on Easter holiday. “I am going to kill a man,” she muses in voice-over as the first episode begins. But which man? The opener follows her investigation, conducted without the knowledge of newly arrived Detective Inspector Nigel Strangeways (Billy Howle of Netflix’s The Serpent). When she confronts him with her rage and frustration on his first day on the job, it rattles his composure, already fragile from a PTSD condition he hopes to keep hidden from his peers. Can these broken souls find their way to the truth? Keep watching. (For the non-streamers, episodes will begin airing on AMC starting Monday, July 12.)
Dry eyes will be a rare commodity when comic actor Kevin Hart gets serious with Drew and Jonathan Scott about doing something special for his personal trailer Ron (aka “Boss”), who helped Hart get back on his feet after a serious car accident. With the brothers’ renovation knowhow, Hart helps transform Boss’ rotting backhouse into a retreat with its own custom barbershop.
The sports drama is spinning off, and if you want to be in on the beginnings of All American: Homecoming, don’t miss this backdoor pilot. The new show will revolve around Simone (Geffri Maya), a tennis hopeful from Beverly Hills who gets her first look at the Atlanta campus of HBCU Bringston University on a field trip with Spencer (Daniel Ezra), Olivia (Samantha Logan), and Jordan (Michael Evans Behling). Simone’s aunt Amara (Kelly Jenrette) is a journalism professor who’s about to expose a scandal within the school’s baseball program, which might affect the future of Homecoming’s male lead, Damon (Peyton Alex Smith), an elite baseball prospect from Chicago.
Inside Monday TV:
- Moneymaker—Behind Black Widow (streaming on ESPN+): A half-hour ESPN E60 documentary profiles the woman who executes some of Marvel superheroine Black Widow’s most impressive moves: Heidi Moneymaker, a former All-American gymnast who’s now best known as Scarlett Johansson’s stunt double. Johansson narrates the special, which not so coincidentally arrives on the same week as the July 9 launch of Black Widow in theaters and (for a Premier Access charge) Disney+.
- The Bonfire of the Vanities (8 pm/ET, Turner Classic Movies): The infamous 1990 movie version of Tom Wolfe’s satirical classic, the current subject of TCM’s “The Plot Thickens” podcast, makes its TCM premiere as part of a night devoted to director Brian De Palma. Following Bonfire are more successful films from his Hitchcockian period: Obsession (10:15/ET), Sisters (midnight/ET) and a personal favorite, 1981’s Blow Out (1:45 am/ET) with John Travolta as a sound engineer who accidentally records an assassination.
- Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta (8/7c, VH1): The musical docuseries marks its 10th season by welcoming new talents into the cast, including Yung Baby Tate, Renni Rucci and Omeretta the Great.
- Neutral Ground (10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): The 34th season of the POV documentary series opens with director CJ Hunt’s probing survey of Southern attitudes regarding the Civil War and the Confederacy as he tracks the debate over the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans.
- American Greed (10/9c, CNBC): In “Burned by Greed,” the series looks into the checkered and charred history of Pacific Gas & Electric, whose corporate utility policies may have helped fuel a series of devastating explosions and wildfires in California.