Sometimes a true story is far more fascinating than anything Hollywood could dream up. If you’re a fan of interesting documentaries and you’ve already conquered Netflix’s detailed doc genre list, tune into HBO on Monday nights. The network has expanded its popular summer documentary series to a year-round schedule of entertaining, thought-provoking programming.
New offerings will be punctuated by re-screenings of popular, timely films you may have missed, every Monday at 9 p.m.
This week’s doc examines the recently declassified secret White House recordings by Richard Nixon between 1971-73. Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words (9 p.m. Monday, HBO) examines the extensive audio footage — which feature’s Nixon’s thoughts on minorities, the Vietnam War and the leak of the Pentagon Papers — to create a portrait of this complicated president.
Next Monday is Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, which follows the media frenzy that surrounded the trial of a 21-year-old woman accused of plotting her husband’s murder in 1990. The nation’s first fully televised case led the way for the 24-hour coverage of today’s sensationalized trials. And later this fall comes Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia.
WEDNESDAY JULY 30
Sharknado 2: The Second One (9 p.m., Syfy) – With Shark Week around the corner, it’s fitting that Sharknado makes its return — along with returning stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. This time around, the ’nado invades New York City. And Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath costars!
Wilfred (10 p.m., FXX) – Ryan takes on the responsibility of helping his mom (miss you, Mary Steenburgen) transition into her new life.
Elsewhere, Wilfred confronts a new nemesis.
The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (12:30 a.m., Comedy Central) – Comedian Emily Heller; party fouls.
THURSDAY JULY 31
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – The designers “shop” the cutting room floor, utilizing materials from film and theater sets.
Married (10 p.m., FX) – With the puppy’s medical bill paid for, Russ and Lina decide to take that romantic vacation after all. (Seriously, what do they do for money? Just ask the weird bearded friend?) Jess (the best character) gets caught sexting her neighbor.
Snack-Off (10:30 p.m., MTV) – Amateur chefs compete to make munchie-worthy treats with unconventional ingredients. Think Chopped: Stoners. Panel judge Chrissy Teigen sensually wolfs down said creations; male costars ogle.
SUNDAY AUG. 3
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Eric and Pam zero in on Sarah/Numi/the Hep V cure. Filled with guilt for infecting Bill, Sookie embarks on her own search for a cure. Because in True Blood, no one uses cell phones and Sookie makes terrible decisions. Elsewhere, Violet gives Adilyn and Wade some alone time at her place. Hey kids, you’re about to be step-siblings and this vampire is totally going to eat you! Also, if Violet has her own gothic-chic mansion, why is she shacking up with Jason in his double-wide bachelor pad?
Halt and Catch Fire (Season Finale, 10 p.m., AMC) -– Get in the ’80s spirit with a marathon of classics leading up to the finale: The Karate Kid Parts I and II followed by Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club starting at noon. In this finale, Joe and Gordon face more problems with the Giant as they try to ship the machine back to Texas. Will Cameron return with them, or head to Silicon Valley — perhaps joining the like-minded Macintosh crew?
The Leftovers (10 p.m., HBO) – Last week’s episode gave us one of the most brutal scenes on television. This week it’s all about Nora. She heads to New York for an annual conference of Departure-related occupations and practices. Upon arrival she discovers her convention ID has already been claimed, and the trip continues with more bizarre encounters.
MONDAY AUG. 4
Running Wild with Bear Grylls (8 p.m., NBC) – Celebs take a shot at survivalism with Mr. Man vs. Wild. This week, it’s Ben Stiller in Scotland.
TUESDAY AUG. 5
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., HBO) – Slightly less interesting when the Bengals aren’t at the center, but still an entertaining, raw look at the NFL.
Nathan For You (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Nathan works with a party planner, a dating website and self-motivation.
CONTACT Jac Kern: email@example.com or @jackern