Stay Tuned column: ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ is a pandemic-inspired take on romance
A gorilla searches for meaning, “Lucifer’s” charming devil returns, couples seek connection during the pandemic and a Colombian drug lord’s hippos try to avoid a veterinarian.
Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Apple TV+ ordered “My Kind of Country,” a music competition series which will feature a global search for the next country music star. Reese Witherspoon will be among the executive producers. The show is the third project Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, has set up at the streamer.
WWE is moving into the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida for the foreseeable future. The new set, named Thunderdome, will feature large LED screens that will allow fans to be virtually brought into the arena via live video. The first show to be filmed in the Thunderdome is “SmackDown Live.” You can catch it on Aug. 21 on Fox.
Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
Originally scheduled for a theatrical release, “The One and Only Ivan” (Aug. 21, Disney+), is about a 400-pound gorilla named Ivan, who shares a habitat in a suburban shopping mall with various other animals. He begins to question his life and purpose after he meets a baby elephant named Ruby. The film is a mixture of live-action and CGI and is based on Katherine Applegate’s award-winning 2013 book. It stars Bryan Cranston, and features the voices of Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito and Helen Mirren.
“Lucifer” returns for season five (Aug. 21, Netflix). In this installment, which is being split into two parts of eight episodes each, Lucifer’s twin brother, Michael, secretly replaces him on earth.
With his answer to how to work through a pandemic, Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton”), along with Nicolette Robinson (“The Affair”), executive produces and stars in four-part limited series, “Love in the Time of Corona” (Aug. 22, Freeform, 8 p.m. ET). The romantic dramedy about people searching for love and connection during these challenging times follows four interwoven stories. Filming was done using remote technologies in the cast’s real homes.
Nine-episode series, “The Vow” (Aug. 23, HBO, 10 p.m. ET), looks at the controversial self-help group NXIVM with commentary from insiders and former members.
You may know that notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s brutal reign left his country with a legacy of corruption, but I bet you didn’t know it also left it with a hippo problem. Yes, you read that right. In the 1980s, Escobar smuggled four hippos onto his $63 million estate outside Medellin to join his collection of exotic animals. After his death, they were left to their own devices, and now, the animals responsible for more deaths in Africa than lions or crocodiles number over 60 and are terrorizing villages and threatening vital ecosystems. Despite this, Colombians love their hippos and it’s illegal to cull them, which leaves the task of capture and sterilization to a dedicated veterinarian. “The Hunt for Escobar’s Hippos” (Aug. 26, Smithsonian Channel, 8 p.m. ET) tells the bizarre and fascinating story.
Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: Netflix renewed Spanish language crime drama, “Money Heist,” for a fifth and final season.
Losers: “Siren” (Freeform) was cancelled after three seasons.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.