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The Week in Superlatives: Best Verbal Smackdown, Show Within a Show, and the Most Fun Extortion Story

The Righteous Gemstones | Photo Credits: HBO

Fall is almost here, which means you should go ahead and starting preparing yourself for the pumpkin spice takeover and, of course, more new TV. For now, we're dishing out our weekly prizes for the stand-out moments of the week in TV below.

Most fun extortion story: Netflix's The Family, which details the secret, but ongoing collapse of America's foundational tenet of separation of church and state, contains some shocking truths about the inner workings of the American government. But if you're just too fatigued to wade any more serious political waters of that nature, The Righteous Gemstones offers a much more entertaining take on the business of megachurches. Danny McBride delivers some more of that ridiculous character work that made Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals such delights as his baptism-happy alter ego here is blackmailed for leading a double life as a seedy partier who pretends to be a religious conservative.

The overdue inclusion: Bachelor in Paradise broke its own mold this week in the best way. Demi Burnett from Colton Underwood's season came out as bisexual at the beginning of this season of the ABC reality-off and said she had been casually dating a woman named Kristian, whom she met through fellow Bachelor alum Catherine Agro. Demi's brief romance with Derek made her realize how strong her feelings for Kristian were, and as a result, her girlfriend was brought onto the show to share in their romance on-screen. It was the first moment in Bachelor Nation history that they've allowed a same-sex couple to be on any of the shows -- they've had bisexual contestants before but didn't bring in any queer people for them to potentially be with -- so it was a very big, and welcome deal. - Tatiana Tenreyro

Best verbal smackdown: Duffy (John Reynolds) finally got the harsh reality check he needed from Gemma (Zoe Boyle) in this week's episode of Four Weeks and a Funeral. Gemma finally, harshly, put an end to his self-pity with the most satisfying dress down speech we've heard in a while. Duffy had been whining his way through the entire season, and Gemma was just the right person to snap him out of it. She's done the show (and the world) a great service. - Megan Vick

Best show within a show: We're digging the meta moment that is happening on BH90210, but The CW's I Ship It is pretty special, too. The series started out as a CW Seed project, featuring a woman named Ella (Helen Highfield) who gets a PA job on the same network's other show Superstition. Considering she used to sling fan-fic for the series, this is the gig of her dreams. The first season did well enough on the streaming service, that it's now part of prime time, and with Ethan Peck leading its The Vampire Diaries-esque subshow, the whole thing is delightfully tongue-in-cheek.

Most sincere connection: The brilliant Netflix documentary American Factory spent a lot of its time highlighting the differences between Chinese and American factory workers in an Ohio windshield production line, but it was when the two sides found respect and joy from each other's company that the film was really moving. The most impactful moment came when Rob, a furnace supervisor, reminisced about the time he invited 13 Chinese workers -- it was just supposed to be a handful, but more workers became interested and he couldn't say no -- to his house to nosh on a Thanksgiving feast and shoot some guns. Teary-eyed, Rob said, "They talked about it for a week... that made me happy," in the most sincere and moving way. He later called the Chinese supervisor who was training him a "brother" and said he would do anything for him. American Factory is all about unity, so of course producers Barack and Michelle Obama were involved in it. - Tim Surette



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Best New Shows and Movies on Netflix This Week: 13 Reasons Why, Dave Chappelle

13 Reasons Why | Photo Credits: Netflix

Looking for something new to watch on Netflix? Here is a list of all the best new shows and movies released on Netflix the week of Aug. 23-29.

It's back to school time, so what better way to get the school year started than binge-watching one of the most controversial teen dramas of all time? One that developmental psychologists have said does more harm than good? One that involves suicide, murder, and rape? Yep, 13 Reasons Why is back, baby! But there are a few other things to watch this week as well, and even more if your thing is TV shows imported from other countries. You should be doing your homework anyway!

All titles are out Friday, Aug. 23 unless otherwise noted.

If you're looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, click over to our Watch This Now! page.


The Biggest Releases


13 Reasons Why, Season 3
Netflix's highly controversial but too-popular-to-cancel teen drama is somehow still on the air despite running out of story in Season 1. Season 3 gives a murder mystery a try following the killing of jocko Bryce Walker between seasons, and as expected, EVERYONE IS A SUSPECT. Even you! But the season will reportedly also try to redeem Bryce -- who raped two women -- because it just can't seem to stay away from controversy. The series has already been renewed for a fourth and final season. How many other students at this high school will die before it's all over?

Dave Chappelle: Sticks and Stones
The enigmatic Dave Chappelle can do whatever he wants, so he's surprise dropping (it was only announced last week) a Netflix stand-up special. Chappelle is always funny, so expect nothing different this time around. This is his fifth Netflix stand-up special. Writing blurbs for stand-up specials is hard. (Trailer / Monday, Aug. 26)


Everything Else


Falling Inn Love
I know what you're saying: Tim, you misspelled "in" in the title! Jokes on you, suckers, because that is actually some incredibly clever wordplay on Netflix's part. See, this rom-com follows a very pretty San Franciscan woman (Christina Milian) who wins a New Zealand inn in an internet contest, because that kind of shit happens all the time. In fact, I own so many bed and breakfasts in Queenstown that I can't even keep track anymore. There's probably someone ringing a bell on a front desk at one of them right now, but I just can't deal. Anyway, she goes to her new inn and falls in love or something. (Thursday, Aug. 29)

Hero Mask, Season 2
In this sci-fi anime, a cop and his lawyer partner uncover a conspiracy that sees enemies attacking the cops, prisoners long thought dead committing new crimes, and "bio-masks" that give their wearer superhuman abilities. Yeah, you will probably need to watch Season 1 to have any idea of what is going on. (Trailer)

El Pepe: Una Vida Suprema
This documentary film delivers an intimate portrait of former Uruguayan president José "Pepe" Mujica in case you were ever wondering, "Gee, I wonder what former Uruguayan president José "Pepe" Mujica is really like." I know I have. (Trailer)

Rust Valley Restorers, Season 1
This series about a guy who restores old cars already aired on History Channel Canada (wait, Canada has a history too? Huh!). (Trailer)

Million Pound Menu, Season 2
That's one heavy menu! Ha ha, I kid, I kid. This British competition series sees amateur restauranteurs (i.e., food cart owners) attempt to impress incredibly rich people looking to invest in new restaurant ideas. It's like MasterChef meets Shark Tank, and just as pompous as both of them combined. (Trailer / Tuesday, Aug. 27)

Trolls: The Beat Goes On, Season 7
This animated kids series debuted in January of 2018, and will release its seventh season this week. It's multiplying like a weed, or a disease, or a Tiffany Haddish guest appearance on something. (Trailer / Tuesday, Aug. 27)

Kardec
If you've ever wanted an Argentinian period drama about Allan Kardec, the 19th Century French author who founded Spiritism -- the science-based philosophical idea that we are all immortal spirits temporarily inhabiting corporeal bodies -- and attempted to legitimize the practice of spiritual mediums, then you'll just have to wait. This one is Brazilian. (Trailer / Thursday, Aug. 29)

Workin' Moms, Season 3
Those Canadian moms be workin' again. The comedy which has no shortage of breast milk jokes is back. (Trailer / Thursday, Aug. 29)

Stop searching, start watching! TV Guide's Watch This Now! page has even more TV recommendations.

The 52 Netflix Originals You Should Be Watching



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Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford to Exit DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford, DC's Legends of Tomorrow | Photo Credits: Bettina Strauss, Bettina Strauss/The CW

In case you were wondering, the latest news about DC's Legends of Tomorrow has confirmed that today is TERRIBLE.

Deadline reports and TV Guide has confirmed that series stars Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford will depart the CW show as series regulars during the upcoming fifth season. Routh has played Ray Palmer (aka Atom) since the character was introduced in Season 3 of Arrow and subsequently made his way to launch the Legends team. Ford joined the cast as the adult version of Nora Darhk (another character originated on Arrow) in Season 4 of DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

"Brandon and Courtney have been invaluable members of the Legends family," series executive producers Phil Klemmer, Grianne Godfree and Keto Shimizu said in a statement to Deadline. "They have always brought a level of passion and collaboration to their characters and to the show -- both on and off the screen - that we deeply admire and for which we are eternally grateful."

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Routh shared the news on Twitter, writing, "#LegendsOfTomorrow fans are the best fans! Thank you for embracing #RayPalmer/ #TheATOM. Thank you to: @TheCW, @warnerbrostv, @DCComics, @LoTWritersRoom @TheCW_Legends @mguggenheim and @GBerlanti."

Ford also took to Twitter to confirm the news and thank the writers, the crew, and most of all the fans. "Endless gratitude to the Legends fandom for embracing me so completely," she wrote. "Nora Darhk is a reflection of survivor's resilience. I hear you. I see you. Your stories and strength inspire me every day."

Though there are no details about how they'll exit the series, the decision was apparently made for creative reasons regarding their storylines. Routh and Ford are expected to film their final episode in October, and it's unclear whether they'll be able to return in a non-series regular capacity in later episodes or future seasons.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow will return Jan. 14 at 9/8c on The CW.



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