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Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp saves summer

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): The cult summer camp comedy goes back to the past (and onto Netflix), exploring the first time Coop, McKinley, Beth, Andy, Katie, Gene, the can of vegetables, Neil, Susie, Ben, Victor, Gail, and the rest of the worst camp counselors in the world met at Camp Firewood. Every funny person in the world is involved in this prequel series—where the actors are now playing even younger versions of the characters they were ten years too old to play in the first place—and Joshua Alston has his double-necked flying vee guitar and distressingly short jean shorts all ready for his episodic reviews, starting Friday (and appearing every other day after that so he can collect himself in between). Meanwhile, Erik Adams rolls his 20-sided die in his TV Review and says the season successfully dodges any falling space debris.


Also noted

We Bare Bears (Cartoon Network, 6:30 p.m., Friday): Kevin Johnson drops in to give his take on the first week of this endearingly odd animated series about three variously eccentric bears (voiced by Eric Edelstein, Bobby Moynihan, and Demetri Martin) trying to act like people. Weird, weird, hairy people.

Catastrophe (Amazon, noon, Friday): If Molly Eichel’s reviews don’t make you want to watch this extraordinary sort-of rom-com series, well, good luck to you:

This is a show about how hard relationships are. Sharon and Rob may have come together out of odd circumstances, but they are still together, experiencing these universal problems that extend beyond this happily ever after narrative. Their meet-cute was essentially a meet-fuck. Their happy ending turned into a fight. Their lives are not perfectly, the course of true love is not running smooth This wasn’t Catastrophe’s best episodes, but Catastrophe is still one of the truest shows about relationships. Thank the rom com gods season two is being written. I need more Catastrophe.


Strike Back (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): Those burly British terrorist-punchers are back in this final season premiere. Les Chappell brings us his TV Review of the first four episodes—and gets understandably excited that the show is bringing the amazing Michelle Yeoh in to class (and bust) the joint up a little bit.

Strike Back: For all your exploding jet ski chase needs (Cinemax)

Power (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): It’s Ghost versus Lobos in a showdown between two guys with really cool names. Joshua Alston’s name game might not be as strong, but his review game is top notch.

Hannibal (NBC, 10 p.m., Saturday): Will enlists the help of Hannibal Lecter to get inside the mind of “The Tooth Fairy” killer, Francis Dolarhyde. Molly Eichel would like Will to know that both of those things are going to go very, very badly for him. She has this feeling.


Elsewhere in TV Club

Wet Hot American Summer-mania sweeps The A.V. Club, with all hands on deck for an exhaustively annotated look at every possible cultural marker in the classic original movie. Then your favorite A.V. Club contrarians pick their favorite maligned works they like better than the celebrated stuff in this week’s AVQ&A. And, in his For Our Consideration, Greg Cwik looks at how Brian Eno’s “ouroboros of a song” “The Big Ship” has been used to great effect in a pair of recent movies.


What else is on

Defiance (Syfy, 8 p.m., Friday): There’s a new monster in town, as Nolan and Irisa attempt to hunt down the creature that’s been murdering people all around Defiance (formerly St. Louis). Meanwhile, Doc Yewll examines the victim, rubs the spot right between her eyes, and muses, “Yep, that’s just what this war-torn, alien-infested city needs—another killer monster. Spiffy.”


Catching Hell (ESPN, 8 p.m., Friday): Alex Gibney’s documentary about the horrifying crapstorm of abuse unleashed against a guy who had the temerity to snag a foul ball at a baseball game eloquently addresses how readily sports fans turn into garbage people with the slightest provocation.

Killjoys (Syfy, 9 p.m., Friday): The sexy space bounty hunters uncover the shocking secret behind D’avin’s missing memories—he was meant to be on Dark Matter all this time!


Degrassi: The Next Generation (TeenNick, 8 p.m., Friday):Say, “bye, now” in this two-part season finale before the most politely troubled Canadian teens move to the province of Netflix next year.

Dark Matter (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): On episode eight, Six is out for revenge, and One finds out something shocking. Two through Five? You digits are allll right.


Bunk’d (Disney, 10 p.m., Friday): In this series premiere, a trio of tweens are sent off to a wacky Maine summer camp. Being from Disney and all, it’s relatively unlikely they’ll have a camp cook who smears mud on his ass.

Atlanta Plastic (Lifetime, 10 p.m., Friday): Three black plastic surgeons nip and tuck in this documentary series premiere.


Cedar Cove (Hallmark, 8 p.m., Saturday): “Jack gives Olivia space in the wake of their quarrel.” There has never been a more perfect encapsulation of this Hallmark series than that sentence.

The Perfect Girlfriend (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): Considering this is a Lifetime original movie, let’s just collectively guess that said girlfriend my, in fact, not be all that perfect, right?


Mythbusters (Discovery, 9 p.m., Saturday): Backyard ammo and a glass guillotine—band name! Called it! Boom!

Hell On Wheels (AMC, 9 p.m., Saturday): Cullen…riots in Chinatown…the Swede…the Mormons—that should be enough to entice the remaining fans of this AMC railroad drama.


Aquarius (NBC, 9 p.m., Saturday): David Duchovny’s impressively named Hodiak investigates the murder of a Black Panther. Not a black panther, but a Black Panther. But not the Black Panther. Anyway, we’re done with weekly coverage of this one, so let us know how that whole panther/Panther/Panther thing turns out. Oh, and if they ever catch that Manson fellow.

Jay Pharoah: Can I Be Me? (Showtime, 10 p.m., Saturday): SNL vet and master impressionist Pharoah asks every impressionist’s question in his new standup special. Tune to see if Pharoah’s Obama material is any better than the mushy stuff he’s usually given to do by the SNL writers.


Moneyball (FXX, 11 p.m., Saturday): Before he was Star Lord, Chris Pratt was pretty great in the slightly less-buff supporting role of former Oakland A, Scott Hatteberg, in this eminently re-watchable movie about smart people exploiting dumb people in professional baseball.

Pratt, working a goofy base on balls (Columbia Pictures)

Atlantis (BBC America, 11:00 p.m., Saturday): Jason returns to Atlantis to rescue his friends (yes, again) and decides—for real this time—that Queen Pasiphae must die. Seriously. Regicide city.

The sport

PGA Tour Golf: Quicken Loans National (CBS, 3 p.m., Saturday)
MLB: Angels At Dodgers (Fox Sports 1, 4 p.m., Saturday)
Special Olympics (ESPN, 7 p.m., Saturday)
UFC 190 (Fox Sports 1, 8 p.m., Saturday) Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia, people.


In case you missed it

Review: Emily L. Stephens is stuck with the A.V. Club letter grade system, but we’ll go ahead and call her “A-” for the second season premiere of Andy Daley’s brilliantly painful comedy series four and a half stars out of five.


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