5 Biggest New TV Shows Of July 2023

July has old friends returning left and right.

Twisted Metal
Twisted Metal

In true form of the long hot summer, July’s shows touch on people behaving very badly indeed – be this kidnapping, running cults, or even a cheeky bit of cannibalism. But curiously, for the most part, the people engaged in this misbehaviour aren’t the big hammy villains but rather our heroes, the people we’re meant to sympathise with. This isn’t some wacky new development, granted, but it strikes on a recurring theme of mine – that we’re frequently better able to identify with people who have done wrong than we are with some good-natured upstanding prat. Here are the biggest new TV shows of July 2023.


New TV In July 2023

1. The Horror Of Dolores Roach | July 7th, 2023

Justina Machado’s finished a sixteen-year prison sentence for a crime she did commit. Now she wants to go straight, but, surprise surprise, society seems to want nothing more than to keep punishing an ex-con. So, she sets up an off-the-books massage parlour, and a real one too, nothing seamy, but then some horrible jobsworth sticks his oar in and next thing she knows she’s having to get rid of the body.

At about the point everything seems completely hopeless, it manages to get even worse when her pal who runs an empanada shop helps her move the corpse, the one way he knows how. In short order, things get all Sweeney Todd, although the trailer makes the empanadas look worryingly appetising.

Sample dialogue, from the trailer: “Wanna give me a hand?”, spoken by a man currently holding a severed arm. It’s a bit end-of-the-pier, but that’s the right tone for a show about becoming a serial killer by accident. I can only hope they keep the farcicality rate high beyond that setup.


2. Full Circle | July 13th, 2023

The trailer for Full Circle is scanty on exact details, but it’s about a kidnapping in New York that goes wrong somehow, and quickly spirals into dealings as far afield as Guyana – which, at the very least, has a fair few Guyanese TVholics looking forward to the show giving them their moment in the sun.

The cast includes cop-show stalwarts like Claire Danes, CCH Pounder, and also Timothy Olyphant, uncharacteristically not playing a king of the wild frontier. From the previews, it’s heavy on the circle imagery (like the name!), making much use of aerial shots of one of the USA’s very few roundabouts.


3. Praise Petey | July 21st, 2023

Annie Murphy – she of Schitt’s Creek, Kevin Can F**k Himself and Black Mirror fame – plays a New York socialite who returns to her hometown (no, not an amusingly named one bought as a joke) with a view to bringing her father’s backwoods cult kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Cults, as it turns out, are surprisingly robust comedy fodder. They informed the background of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, were front and centre in Everyone Else Burns, and both The Simpsons and South Park turned out classic episodes riffing on organisations I am legally discouraged from calling the Scientologists. It’s like mocking any trend or fad, with the additional hard edge that the cults are actively harming people, and as such are a more worthy target for a bit of mockery than, say, fidget spinners.

And the Poppinsy moderniser coming in from outside to shake up some fusty organisation is, too, a well-established trope (think every film or TV show about a kooky teacher who doesn’t play by the rules, but dammit, they get results). But cults are specifically designed to not let outsiders saunter in and mess with them, so there’s already a taut string of tension here from the start.


4. Futurama| July 24th, 2023

Alright, it’s not strictly a new show, but it’s returning after a good long hiatus. It’s been ten years since the previous revival of Matt Groening’s raygun vision of the future ended, and it’s alarming to think that Futurama’s original vision of the 31st century anno domini, with all the wacky technological advancement that entails, did not have smartphones and still used dial-up internet connections.

After presumably terse negotiations with John DiMaggio, they’ve managed to get the whole cast back together. The real issue is that Futurama has kept wrapping things up with a pretty bow on top, only to then have to awkwardly reopen the box on the multiple previous occasions they’ve been recommissioned. But, perhaps now expecting it, the last finale ended with the characters literally hitting a reset button. As Billy West’s Fry once told us “it was just a matter of knowing the secret of all TV shows – at the end of the episode, everything’s right back to normal”.


5. Twisted Metal | July 27th, 2023

Of all the types of adaptation out there, transmuting videogames for the screen still – even in the light of The Last Of Us – are about the worst-regarded. It’s an old stereotype but one that’s hard to shift considering some of the stinkers we’ve seen over the years, most of which aren’t the game industry’s fault so much as they are Uwe Boll’s, and you’re forced to imagine he only used games as raw material because the rights were cheaper.

But the Twisted Metal games were the kind of anarchic, basically-plotless messy fun that the process of adaptation can’t really ruin. It’s a Mad Max-y, post-apocalyptic, demolition derby world, and the main point they’ve chosen to adapt faithfully is the games’ recurrent nemesis Sweet Tooth, an evil clown who drives an ice-cream van (here played by Will Arnett).

The plot, such as it is, is Anthony Mackie having to deliver a package. In other words, a pure expression of the MacGuffin, where getting it from point A to point B is merely a device to get at all the stuff that happens along the way – in this case, presumably a lot of stunt cars being smashed up while Arnett hams it up like he’s auditioning for Animal Farm.

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