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18 great shows to watch in July

"SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" airs July 12 on

"SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" airs July 12 on Nickelodeon. Photo Credit: Nickelodeon

Summer's here and the time is right to watch these noteworthy programs premiering in July:

JULY 4

STRANGER THINGS (Netflix)

Yes, the gang’s all back and (yes) danger still lurks beneath in cursed Hawkins in Season 3.

JULY 8

CHASING THE MOON (WNET/13, 9 p.m.)

As part of its so-called Summer of Space initiative, Ch. 13 will air this three-parter, which will explore the full history of the space race leading up to the lunar landing 50th anniversary on July 20. This will be directed by Oscar-nominated Robert Stone (“Radio Bikini”), whose 2013 “Pandora’s Promise” made the case for nuclear energy.

JULY 9

LOVE ISLAND (CBS, 8 p.m.)

Based on the highly successful British reality show, in this version couples are placed in a “stunning villa” on some tropic island, then forced to “couple-up” every few days  In a musical chairs twist, he or she that remains “uncoupled” gets the boot while viewers ultimately vote for the winner, or as CBS explains, “as always, the road to love never runs smoothly, as [contestants] must not only choose their partner wisely, but also win the hearts of the public.” That’s not quite the big deal here. That would be this: “Love Island” will air every weeknight this month. The season finale arrives Aug. 7.
 

FARRAH FAWCETT FOREVER (A&E, 9 p.m.)

Farrah Fawcett died 10 years ago this past June, while this film makes the case that her “influence on pop culture has been underestimated.” Promises “new” interviews with Alana Stewart, Jaclyn Smith, Suzanne de Passe, Robert Duvall, Sherry Lansing and Cicely Tyson.

BRING THE FUNNY (NBC, 10 p.m.)

Veteran stand-up Amanda Seales (who recently had her own HBO special, “I Be Knowin’ ”) will host this comedy competition series — a sort of “America’s Got Talent” for comedians.

THE DISAPPEARANCE (WGN America, 10 p.m.) This six-parter is about the disappearance of a 10-year-old boy on his birthday, and his family‘s subsequent search for him.

JULY 10

SNOWFALL (FX, 10 p.m.).

This drama about the Los Angeles crack epidemic of the 1980s returns for its third and possibly final season. Showrunner John Singleton died in late April.

JULY 12

SPONGEBOB’S BIG BIRTHDAY BLOWOUT (Nickelodeon, 7 p.m.)

While there have been many SpongeBob blowouts of one sort or another, this one — arriving on the 20th anniversary — intrigues for a few reasons, most notably its fusion of live and animated. Also: David Hasselhoff returns for another ‘Bob cameo.

JULY 16

BIOGRAPHY: JFK JR. — THE FINAL YEAR (A&E, 9 p.m.)

This special marking the 20th-year anniversary of John Kennedy Jr.’s death promises “the most substantive documentary to date” about his death, and his possible future.
 

JULY 17

PEARSON (USA, 10 p.m.)

Gina Torres returns at long last to that long-expected spinoff of her “Suits” character, Jessica Pearson. Jessica has been disbarred and becomes a fixer for the Chicago mayor (Morgan Spector). This arrives just as “Suits” goes; that long-running series begins its final season at 9 starting July 17.


8 DAYS: TO THE MOON AND BACK (WNET/13, 9 p.m.)

This BBC coproduction blends original footage with CGI- re-creations
 

JULY 24

SOUTH SIDE (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.)

Standups Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle created and star in this scripted comedy about a pair of recent college grads in Chicago.

NOVA: THE PLANETS (WNET/13, 9 p.m.)

This five-parter (ending Aug. 14) heads out into the solar system, with a look at neighboring planets and some of those famed NASA missions that brought most of them just a little bit closer. Includes “close- ups" of Saturn’s rings and Neptune’s ferocious winds. Meanwhile, a companion series, “Ancient Skies” — about the long history of astronomy — also launches this night, at 8.

JULY 25

CHASING THE CURE (TNT/WNET/13, 8 p.m.)

This 10-parter hosted by Ann Curry is about “seeking solutions worldwide” for people who have mysterious undiagnosed (or misdiagnosed) illnesses. The two-hour launch will be simulcast.

JULY 26


ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix)

“OITNB’s” seventh and final season drops, as Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is finally released from Litchfield and has to make her way in the world a free woman — without, for the time being, Alex (Laura Prepon), whom she married at the end of the sixth.

VERONICA MARS (Hulu)

At long last, “Mars” (2004-07) is back. Set in present day, expect most of the original cast (of course, Kristen Bell as Veronica) and a few newcomers, too, including J.K. Simmons and Patton Oswalt. Eight episodes drop on this day.

  THE BOYS (Amazon Prime Video)

This eight-parter from Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen is yet another adaptation of a Garth Ennis (“Preacher”) comic book series, this one about vigilantes who go after corrupt superheroes; stars Karl Urban, Elisabeth Shue, Chace Crawford, Jennifer Esposito, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott and Jessie T. Usher

JULY 31

FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL (Hulu)

The 1994 Britcom hit gets a 10-episode remake, courtesy of Mindy Kaling. Premise remains essentially the same (romantic adventures, misadventures at four weddings and a funeral), but obviously a different cast, and character names. Nathalie Emmanuel, Brandon Mychal Smith and Rebecca Rittenhouse star; the movie’s co-star Andie MacDowell is back in a new role.

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