Following Dexter is Showtime newcomer Ray Donovan (10 p.m. Sundays), starring Liev Schreiber as a man with a messy job — one we’ve seen before. But that familiarity doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
Paraphrasing Vanilla Ice, if there’s a problem (yo), he’ll solve it. From surveillance work to getting rid of dead bodies, Ray Donovan is a “fixer” for Hollywood heavyweights. Like The Wolf in Pulp Fiction or Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad, Ray’s the man to call when you’re in a tight spot. And while the constant promise of celebrity scandals are a juicy perk of the show, seeing how Ray deals with them is the true draw. Apparently one man’s tranny hooker is another man’s treasure — Ray can remarkably take the “problem” of one client to solve that of another.
But it’s not all just Hollywood housekeeping — Ray has his own issues to fix along the way. It’s tough balancing the job with his wife and kids, his troubled brothers and his dangerous father Mickey (Jon Voight), who’s fresh out of prison. Ray is adamant about keeping his father away from his family, while Mickey wants the whole Donovan crew to stick together.
Ray Donovan is a perfect follow-up to the final season of Dexter. We’ll see if it stands on its own next year — Ray’s been renewed for a second run.
WEDNESDAY JULY 31
The Bridge (10 p.m., FX) – Sonya searches for Maria as the web feed of her demise continues to air. Marco bends the rules to work an interesting ransom angle.
THURSDAY AUG. 1
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – Unconventional challenge! The designers head to Coney Island and must create ensembles using carnival game prizes as materials.
Kelly Osbourne guest-judges.
Wilfred (10 p.m., FX) – Ryan tries progressive psychotherapy in an attempt to gain some insight into his past.
FRIDAY AUG. 2
Comedy Bang! Bang! (10 p.m., IFC) – It’s a Mr. Show reunion with David Cross and Bob Odenkirk joining former Show writer, host Scott Aukerman. Will Forte, Weird Al Yankovic and Tim Meadows also stop by.
Real Time with Bill Maher (Season Finale, 10 p.m., HBO) – Joining the circus for the final panel this season are: Business Insider politics editor Josh Barro, former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, programmer/writer/Occupier Alexis Goldstein, actor Larry Miller and Hip Hop mogul Jay Z (sans hyphen).
Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film (11 p.m., HBO) – Jay Z’s next-level high art offering, in which everyone from fans to Judd Apatow to Marina Abramovic interact with Hov.
SUNDAY AUG. 4
Shark Week (Discovery Channel) – Every Summer since 1987, Discovery devotes a week of programming to the king of the sea. A little gore, a little camp and lots of over-the-top deep-sea footage, Shark Week is now a pop culture phenomenon. Tune in at 8 p.m. Sunday for Air Jaws: Countdown to Shark Week followed by Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives at 9 p.m. and more fin-tastic programming daily through Friday. And in the immortal words of 30 Rock’s Tracy Jordan, “Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”
Dexter (9 p.m., Showtime) -– Zach Hamilton, the creepy kid whose father was questioned about the death of Norma Rivera in last week’s episode, totally killed that lady. Now, Vogel thinks he might be a perfect candidate to learn The Code. Dexter thinks he’d be a perfect fit for his table.
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Meet Violet: Ms. Numero Uno in Vamp Camp general population. Elsewhere in camp, Sarah discovers those who aren’t drinking the poisoned TruBlood and isolates them — in the room from Billith’s grave vision. More Bill-Warlow-Sookie love/hate triangle drama.
The Newsroom (10 p.m., HBO) – Maggie gets into much more than she bargained for during her trip to Africa; Will’s interview with an OWS protester goes south, weakening Neal’s ties to the group. Is anyone gonna get 30 minutes with Romney?
MONDAY AUG. 5
Casting By (9 p.m., HBO) – Casting directors don’t get a lot of limelight, but it is because of their choices that we recognize certain actors as their now-iconic roles — James Dean, Robert Redford and Christopher Walken were each plucked from obscurity by legendary casting director Marion Dougherty. This doc dives into Dougherty’s career of more than 50 years and the characters she helped come to life.
CONTACT JAC KERN: email@example.com or @jackern