Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
The Innøcents
Photo: Netflix

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, August 17, and Saturday, August 18. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

The Innøcents (Friday, Netflix): Coming to Netflix tonight is a more solemn approach to YA science-fiction: a British drama that opens as a sweet story about star-crossed teen lovers running away from their restrictive home lives, and then quickly shape-shifts into The X-Men’s moody older sibling. June (Sorcha Groundsell) and Harry’s (Percelle Ascott) romantic road trip suddenly veers into nightmare territory when they discover just why June’s father (Sam Hazeldine) was so overprotective: June has the ability to shape-shift. It’s an ability she inherited from her mother, and one that is of great interest to a terrifyingly wrongheaded doctor (Guy Pearce), who is rounding up afflicted women, keeping them in a homestead in Norway, and performing experiments on them to “help” them “recenter.” And June’s abilities are presented as more disease than superpower— the episodic transformations the women undergo resemble epileptic seizures, and June’s own condition first manifests itself when she inadvertently transforms into her kidnapper (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson). If the show does nothing else for you, June’s particularly transformative teenage years might at least make you feel a bit better about your own.

Wild card

Drew Michael (HBO, Saturday, 10:00 p.m.): You may know Drew Michael from his work writing for SNL. Now, though, his latest project, a stand-up special with HBO, turns the spotlight on him, and him (literally) alone. Director Jerrod Carmichael questions whether the 50-minute piece can even be called a stand-up special. Michael stands in isolation, stripped of an audience, and performs for the dark and quiet in a way that utterly dismantles the medium. In a self-deprecating stream-of-consciousness monologue, he takes the existential, depressing thoughts that reverberate in his head and puts them onstage for your amusement. Co-starring Suki Waterhouse (Assassination Nation, The Bad Batch), Michael’s darkly comic art piece is a peek inside the mind of a troubled comedian—or, as he calls it, “an offering.”

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