Worth Watching: ‘Love Fraud,’ MTV Video Music Awards, ‘Lovecraft’s Haunted House

Lovecraft Country
Eli Joshua Ade/HBO
Lovecraft Country

A selective critical checklist of notable Sunday TV:

Love Fraud (Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime): Dirty John, step aside. This juicy four-part true-crime docuseries follows a notorious Don Juan con artist who loved ’em and left ’em, sometimes after marrying them, leaving a string of broken hearts and emptied bank accounts over a 20-year period. The series follows a manhunt that ensues after several victims team up to hire a female bounty hunter to track and take down this sociopathic creep. It would make an awesome movie — or future season of Dirty John. (See the full review.)

2020 MTV Video Music Awards (Sunday, 8/7c, MTV and The CW): The show must go on — all around New York City’s boroughs, in socially distanced conditions — as MTV’s signature awards show teams for the first time with a broadcast partner, The CW (along with other ViacomCBS brands), exposing the music-heavy celebration to a wider audience. Keke Palmer hosts what is being conceived as an homage to New York City, with scheduled performances including Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, BTS (a VMA debut), Black Eyed Peas, The Weeknd and more.

Voices Magnified: Policing in America (Sunday, 9/8c, A&E): The network that gave audiences (and for the moment has taken away) the hit Live PD launches a new public-service initiative of specials and short-form videos focusing on issues of equality and social reform. First up is a documentary, narrated by Laurence Fishburne (black-ish), that examines a movement focused on reforming policing after the deaths of people of color that sparked protest movements across the country. The special focuses particularly on Los Angeles and its long, troubled history of law enforcement clashing with communities of color.

Lovecraft Country (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): The buzzy horror show shifts gears into haunted-house territory when Letitia (Jurnee Smollett), now back in Chicago after the tragic events in Ardham, decides to transform a run-down Victorian mansion into a boarding house on the city’s North Side. Harassment from racist neighbors she might have expected — but what about that cellar full of restless and vengeful spirits?

Inside Weekend TV: The new streaming channel VENN (Videogame Entertainment News Network) premieres the Fear Factor-style extreme competition Dare Package (Saturday, 6/5c), in which top streamers accept wild mystery challenges from air-dropped crates — everything from brain-teasing puzzles to cringe-worthy stunts… CNN picks up a timely and disturbing documentary, previously shown on HBO, After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News (Saturday, 10/9c), from director/producer Andrew Rossi and executive producer Brian Stelter (author of Hoax). The film studies the genesis and impact of false information, doctored videos and conspiracy theories, which when disseminated as actual news could pose a serious threat to the democratic process… The NBC Sports documentary Born to Run (Sunday, noon/11c) revisits Triple Crown-winning horse American Pharoah after retirement and his first generation of foals bred on a Kentucky stud farm. Ashley Judd narrates… Showtime’s The Circus: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign on Earth (Sunday, 8/7c) goes inside the Republican National Convention, staged during a time of pandemic and protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin… BBC America’s Top Gear (Sunday, 8/7c) kicks off a new season with a special outing for the team (Paddy McGuiness, Chris Harris and Freddie Flintoff) to the high altitudes of Nepal, where they navigate mountains, gorges and scenic but treacherous terrain in a journey from the capital of Kathmandu to the once-Forbidden City of Lo Manthang… Expect an emotional cliffhanger in the midseason finale of Syfy’s Wynonna Earp (Sunday, 10/9c) as Wynonna’s (Melanie Scrofano) rescue mission with baby-daddy vampire Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) hits some unexpected hurdles.