Man, it’s hot outside! Just when we thought that it was safe to go outdoors — at least for the vaccinated among us — we’re dealing with a heat wave that makes us want to stay indoors in the air conditioning.
What to do now? How to entertain ourselves?
Well, there’s always TV and streaming. And there are a number of pretty cool (or at least potentially cool) shows coming our way, plus some you might have missed in the last few weeks.
Here, in alphabetical order, are 11 shows to keep your mind off the 100-degree temperatures:
“Black Widow” (Disney+ Premiere Access — an added fee of $29.99) • The first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in almost two years features one of the coolest characters in any of the films — Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansen). It’s not perfect, but it’s fun. Yes, there’s some stuff that doesn’t exactly make sense — but if everything in these Marvel movies had to make sense, there wouldn’t be many of them. (“Black Widow” is also in theaters.)
Celebrity Summer Renovation (Fridays, 7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) • If you can’t be a celebrity, be celebrity adjacent! This show is basically a rip-off of HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU” (Mondays, 10 p.m., but who doesn’t want to see the friends of people like Paula Abdul, Wayne Brady, Eve, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Chris Paul, Anthony Ramos and Emmitt Smith get cool home makeovers because their best friends are stars?
“Framing Britney Spears” (FX on Hulu) • Who would’ve thought that Britney Spears would still be cool in 2021? But this documentary (which first aired back in February) charts her trajectory her a heroine and a victim at the same time, and set her on the road to #FreeBritney.
“The Good Fight” (Paramount+) • If you’ve never seen an episode of this series, I envy. I adore this show, I adore it’s star, Christine Baranski, and I would sit down and watch it again from the beginning if I only had time. You lucky newcomers have 47 episodes from the first five seasons to watch. (Season 4 was cut short by COVID, but Episode 1 of Season 5 catches the narrative back up.) This show tackles tough issues AND it’s hilarious. You can’t get any cooler than that.
“Gossip Girl” (HBO Max) • This is a sequel to the 2007-2012 series that aired on The CW — rich, privileged kids doing bad things. (They think they’re cool, at least.) It’s an entirely new cast and I’m not sure I should have included it on this list. The original had the dumbest, least believable finale ever — so this is the series’ shot at redemption. Or not.
“Hacks” (HBO Max) • If you’re an HBO Max subscriber and you missed this series in May and June, make time to watch it now. The ultra-cool Jean Smart is stellar as an aging Las Vegas comedian looking to attract a young audience. She hires a down-on-her-luck, Gen Z comedian (Hannah Einbinder) to write more material for her. If you don’t love Smart already — and you should — you’ll fall for her watching “Hacks.”
“Love, Victor” (Hulu) • Season 2 of this gay teen soap is even better than Season 1. (If you haven’t seen Season 1, go back and watch it!) There’s comedy. There’s drama — teen drama, family drama. It’s a sequel of sorts to the 2018 film “Love, Simon,” set in the same world and featuring occasional appearances by characters from the movie. In Season 1, Victor (Michael Cimino) struggled to come out. In Season 2, he’s out, and he’s got struggles with his boyfriend, his mother and more. The supporting characters have more to do — and Season 2 has the coolest cliffhanger this summer.
“The Patrick Star Show” (Fridays, 5 p.m., Nickelodeon — with tons of repeats on Nick and Nicktoons) • If “SpongeBob Squarepants” isn’t crazy enough for you — or if the 497 episodes of “Spongebob” to date aren’t enough for you — be sure to check out “Patrick Star.” It’s a prequel, with somewhat younger characters somehow acting even crazier than the lunatic versions of themselves we’ve come to love.
“Schmigadoon!” (debuts July 16 on Apple+) • From the writers of “Despicable Me” and the producer of “Saturday Night Live,” this parody of old-timey musicals — specifically, “Brigadoon” — casts Keegan Michael Key and Cecily Strong as a couple who find themselves trapped in a town where the locals live like they’re trapped in a movie musical. There’s comedy, romance, big production numbers and a beyond-cool cast that includes Fred Armisen, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenweth and Jane Krakowski.
“The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime) • Barry Jenkins’ (“Moonlight”) adaptation of Colson’s Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is not without its flaws — including a lead character who sometimes seems more like a caricature and uneven pacing that’s sometimes glacial. But from production quality (amazingly cool!) to narrative themes, “The Underground Railroad” might just be the best series of the year. Overall, it’s outstanding. But watch one episode at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.
“Wellington Paranormal” (Sunday, 9 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30) • If you aren’t watching the vampire comedy “What We Do in the Shadows” on FX, what the heck is wrong with you? It’s hilarious! (It’s also streaming on Hulu.) But, um, this mockumentary is another spinoff of the original 2014 “WWDITS” film, focusing on three idiot paranormal policing officers (Karen O’Leary, Maaka Pohatu and Michael Montague). It was created and produced by beyond-cool duo Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, and it’s OLD. It arrives on The CW after first airing three years ago in New Zealand. But it’s funny, occasionally hilarious and — if nothing else — a perfect excuse to revisit “What We Do in the Shadows” in all its forms. (Two episodes air back-to-back on The CW; episodes will stream the following day on HBO Max.)