Binge Guide

7 TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch This August

Ozark, Ballers, Better Call Saul, and Insecure are among the month's top binge TV offerings.

by | August 1, 2018 | Comments

Late-summer TV is underway, and we’ve got a nearly equal number of years-running returning series and sophomore season entries. From corrupt lawyers and Hollywood producers to megachurch pastors and struggling millennials, there’s plenty to choose from to get you through this last leg of the hot months, so curl up, cool off, and get ready to binge.


Better Call Saul 97% (AMC)


What it is: Ever wonder how, exactly, Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman got to be so darn slimy? AMC’s acclaimed spin-off, Better Call Saul, is here to help. The companion series satisfyingly builds on the original Vince Gilligan drama, while also coherently etching an identity of its own for viewers of all proclivities.  

Why you should watch it: The series takes a character we think we know — the Saul Goodman who Breaking Bad’s Walter White eventually meets in that Albuquerque, New Mexico, strip mall — and breaks him down to his nuts and bolts, starting at Jimmy McGill. Played wonderfully by Bob Odenkirk in what could become his career-defining (certainly career-changing) role, Saul/Jimmy and his uneasy partnership with Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut make for must-watch hours for any lover of prestige TV, Breaking Bad die-hard or not. Season 4 premieres August 6 on AMC.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 23 hours


Ballers 69% (HBO)


What it is: From creator and multi-Emmy nominee Stephen Levinson (Entourage), Ballers stars movie star of the world Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore, a Miami Dolphins retiree who finds a second-wind career as a financial manager for the footballer pros and rich industry friends he left behind.

Why you should watch it: Yes, Johnson ranks among the world’s highest paid and biggest movie stars (and that’s not just in terms of his 6′4″, 260 lb. build), but Ballers is definitive proof that he’s got the acting chops to back up his paycheck and larger-than-life appeal. Plus — like Entourage before it — watching high-rolling men butting heads and behaving badly often makes for entertaining TV. Ballers season 4 premieres August 12 on HBO.

Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, HBO NOW, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 15 hours


Get Shorty (Epix)


What it is: The sheen of Hollywood and its surrounding City of Angels can turn even the coldest heart to one of gold — at least that’s the underlying notion behind Get Shorty, which charts hit man Miles Daly’s (Chris O’Dowd) unlikely journey to becoming a Hollywood producer.

Why you should watch it: There’s something inherently funny about a murderous mobster finding his inner artist and sensitively grappling with those two divisions of his character. We saw it play out to great success earlier this year with Barry on HBO, but Get Shorty really mastered the formula nearly 30 years ago with Elmore Leonard’s 1990 novel and its 1995 film adaptation starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, and Danny DeVito. That film, however, Get Shorty the series is not. Darker and more character-driven than its feature counterpart, Get Shorty also boasts a welcome return to form for Ray Romano, whose B-movie producer Rick Moreweather is his juiciest role in years. Season 2 premieres August 12 on Epix.

Where to watch: Amazon, Epix, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 8 hours


Insecure 97% (HBO)


What it is: Inspired by creator Issa Rae’s web series Awkward Black Girl, Insecure follows the awkward day-to-day happenings of Issa Dee, her best friend Molly, and her love-on-the-rocks boyfriend, Lawrence, with notes as often comedic as they are heart-wrenching and true-to-life.

Why you should watch it: Issa Rae is utterly fearless, and Insecure is all the better for it. The freshly minted Emmy nominee weaves hot-button issues like gentrification, race, gender, and poverty into solid storytelling and character development. If you want to see what tough love and hard truths look like both in friendship and romance, Insecure serves those down-deep, human universals in spades — and it’s among the best series on television to do so. Season 3 premieres August 12 on HBO.

Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, HBO NOW, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 8 hours


Mr. Mercedes 93% (Audience Network)


What it is: From esteemed showrunner David E. Kelley (most recently of Big Little Lies fame), Mr. Mercedes is a cold-blooded, small-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s Bill Hodges Trilogy. The series follows longtime career detective Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) as he’s forced out of retirement by ruthless serial killer Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), who knows just how to get under Hodges’ skin and into his mind.

Why you should watch it: Gleeson is the kind of actor who offers a natural gravitas to any situation, but Detective Hodges especially gives him a lot to chew on. Met mark-for-mark in this twisted game of cat and mouse by an impressive Treadaway (previously of Penny Dreadful) and a reliably pitch-perfect supporting turn from Holland Taylor as Hodges’ neighbor Ida, Gleeson’s latest isn’t just one of his strongest projects in recent memory — it’s one of TV’s finest hidden gems. Seek it out. Season 2 premieres August 22 on the Audience Network.

Where to watch: Audience

Commitment: Approx. 8 hours


Greenleaf (OWN)


What it is: An original scripted drama from Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, Greenleaf stars Broadway veteran Merle Dandridge as Grace, a pastor who returns to her estranged family — megachurch bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield) — after a 20-year absence. The occasion? The mysterious death of her sister Faith.

Why you should watch it: Greenleaf packs an emotional punch, thanks largely due to its trio of lead performances and a hearty supporting turn from Ms. Winfrey herself. To little surprise, the drama in this Tennessee family runs thicker than their shared blood, and it makes for a savory and soapy hour of must-watch TV. Season 3 premieres August 28 on OWN.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 20 hours


Ozark 70% (Netflix)


What it is: Ozark, from creators Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams, is the story of Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman, who also directed six of the first season’s 10 episodes), a financial adviser in Chicago who’s been laundering money for the cartel with his partner for years. But despite his meek, follow-the-leader personality, Marty talks his way out of a death sentence when things go awry with his crime boss and moves his family — including wife Wendy (Laura Linney) — to the Ozarks to keep the dealings afloat and the family alive.

Why you should watch it: Ozark isn’t the first series of its kind to portray good people doing bad things, but it’s about as good as those series come. Now sitting pretty with three Emmy nominations going into September’s ceremony (including both Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series nods for star and director Jason Bateman), the series conjures an all-encompassing bleakness situated snug in the apparent beauty of the Ozarks, and it establishes Bateman as so much more than the comedic actor most know him as today. Even more than just a vehicle for Bateman, however, it’s an ensemble drama (with an equally stellar Laura Linney, no less) that tackles the power of wealth and greed, human nature, and the ties that bind within family and beyond. Season 2 premieres August 31 on Netflix.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 10.5 hours

Tag Cloud

Drama Comedy Central unscripted Food Network TV Apple Countdown Calendar Shudder Lifetime Marvel Pirates Holidays mockumentary Logo Cartoon Network DGA MCU E! Emmys Syfy Nat Geo Lionsgate Brie Larson TCA History political drama Superheroes crime drama BBC America Western Animation binge medical drama technology vampires Netflix Action GLAAD FXX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sundance Now Thanksgiving Pixar ABC Family Extras USA Network 45 Sundance Starz Best and Worst PaleyFest Certified Fresh sequel cats YouTube Red First Look Toys Premiere Dates Masterpiece facebook Esquire Adult Swim Winter TV GIFs Superheroe period drama cinemax Podcast 20th Century Fox IFC Films Horror aliens Lucasfilm casting Super Bowl NYCC zombies Infographic ABC 21st Century Fox comic VICE crossover Disney Channel adventure Rock SDCC Shondaland Country FOX thriller IFC CMT Box Office TruTV Biopics transformers Nickelodeon San Diego Comic-Con Interview Universal The Arrangement Black Mirror 2016 police drama Sneak Peek ITV CW Seed Watching Series composers Warner Bros. supernatural Music RT History Mystery A&E green book Amazon BET LGBTQ Dark Horse Comics Walt Disney Pictures President YouTube Premium Awards El Rey based on movie DirecTV HBO Creative Arts Emmys Tumblr Paramount 24 frames Photos television sitcom Year in Review CNN 2015 ratings Schedule DC streaming service Marathons Winners docudrama discovery talk show Captain marvel See It Skip It TCA 2017 Reality SXSW TNT Spectrum Originals biography blaxploitation GoT Freeform TLC Cosplay Trailer serial killer 2018 Rom-Com Summer 007 Election cops E3 Amazon Prime zombie mutant Ellie Kemper Musicals justice league Comics on TV golden globes Acorn TV diversity TCM American Society of Cinematographers singing competition Ovation Red Carpet Star Wars Mary poppins CBS BBC Rocky Fall TV Fox News X-Men Crackle TIFF spider-man APB Columbia Pictures Kids & Family Star Trek PBS Comic Book National Geographic Mary Poppins Returns streaming Trivia war DC Comics travel Martial Arts robots award winner The CW Paramount Network NBC Sony Pictures Awards Tour OWN doctor who TV Land romance Epix DC Universe Musical politics dramedy AMC Quiz Teen Mary Tyler Moore jamie lee curtis Reality Competition Grammys miniseries comiccon Video Games Sci-Fi Opinion what to watch Anna Paquin Spike hist crime Mindy Kaling USA VH1 Disney Christmas New York Comic Con 2017 Bravo TBS science fiction Pop sports dc Valentine's Day Polls and Games harry potter WGN CBS All Access 2019 cults SundanceTV ESPN Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Britbox Showtime Trophy Talk Character Guide psycho finale Tomatazos dceu MSNBC boxoffice historical drama cooking social media crime thriller FX MTV Writers Guild of America adaptation YA Set visit Song of Ice and Fire Hulu Fantasy Ghostbusters Spring TV anime Oscars Nominations festivals spy thriller Comedy