Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

HBO takes The Vow to air a docuseries about NXIVM

Former NXIVM member Sarah Edmondson
Former NXIVM member Sarah Edmondson
Photo: HBO

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Sunday, August 24. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

The Vow (HBO, 10 p.m., series premiere): “NXIVM’s teachings are a mishmash of business jargon, wellness culture, and philosophy 101. Its materials have the lighting and production values of a corporate training video, and are full of vague platitudes about ‘maximizing potential’ and ‘changing the world.’ It’s pretty vanilla stuff, which directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer explore in sometimes excessive detail over the course of their nine-hour series, The Vow. The filmmakers have an immense treasure trove of footage to draw from, but only a few defectors willing to be interviewed on camera. At times, the whiplash between the banality of the source material and the extreme nature of the allegations is striking. At one point, an ex-member who was deeply traumatized by her experience pulls out a card sent to her by the group’s leader, Keith Raniere. ‘Dance like nobody’s watching,’ it says.” Read the rest of Katie Rife’s pre-air review.

Regular coverage

Lovecraft Country (HBO, 9 p.m.)
Lucifer (Netflix): binge coverage continues

For kids

Elena Of Avalor (Disney Junior, 7 p.m., 90-minute series finale): Elena’s pre-Queendom adventures come to an end tonight with her “Coronation”; expect guest voice performances from Jenny Slate and Mark Hamill, among others.

Wild card

Love In The Time Of Corona (Freeform, 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., first-season finale): Freeform’s remotely produced short series reaches the end of what we please, please hope is its only season. No offense to Love In The Time Of Corona, which looks great and has a terrific cast, but we’re hoping there will be no need for an encore, if you know what we mean.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!