Back to IndieWire

7 New Netflix Shows in August 2020, and the Best Reasons to Watch

Netflix is saving its best forthcoming originals for September, but August still offers a handful of gems.

HOOPS (L to R) Jake Johnson as Coach Ben Hopkins and Ron Funches as Ron in episode 1 of HOOPS. Cr. NETFLIX © 2020

Jake Johnson and Ron Funches voice characters in “Hoops”

Courtesy of Netlifx

1. “Hoops” (available August 21)

Why Should I Watch? Between “Big Mouth,” “F Is For Family,” and “The Midnight Gospel,” Netflix has a strong slate of adult animated comedies, and that’s without counting the service’s now ended but endlessly re-watchable episodes of “BoJack.” “Hoops,” starring and executive produced by Jake Johnson, looks to join those lofty ranks. Created by Ben Hoffman, “Hoops” follows Coach Ben Hopkins, a “pathetic, angry, foul-mouthed” high school basketball coach who’s convinced he can make it to the big leagues if he can whip his wayward squad into shape. His father, Barry (voiced by Rob Riggle), is a former professional basketball star, and he wants to help his son succeed… even though he knows he’s a long way from being the man he should be. Hard-R hijinks ensue, with Chris Miller and Phil Lord (“Clone High,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”) also on board as executive producers.

Bonus Reason: If you’re not familiar with creator Ben Hopkins, perhaps you know him by the stage name Wheeler Walker Jr., a (comedic) country singer whose first album, “Redneck Shit,” debuted on PornHub. Rolling Stone called that release “unfathomably obscene and undeniably offensive” for tracks like “Can’t Fuck You Off My Mind” and “Sit on My Face,” and “Walker’s” follow-ups only pushed the “X-rated” satire further. (Yup, that’s another pull-quote from Rolling Stone.) Now, Hoffman is barely hiding behind another character via Coach Hopkins. Will the results be as extreme? Obscene? Offensive? Netflix has pushed those buttons to great success in other areas of late, so perhaps the strategy will help “Hoops” make a name for itself, too.

2. “The Legend of Korra” Books 1-4 (available August 14)

"The Legend of Korra"

“The Legend of Korra”


Why Should I Watch? If Netflix originals are doing a solid job with new adult animated offerings, than the streamer’s acquisition team is killing it in anime. After striking gold with “Avatar the Last Airbender” earlier this summer, Netflix invested in the sequel series to premiere this August. Created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino for Nickelodeon in 2012, “The Legend of Korra” follows the eponymous lead (voiced by “You’re the Worst” star Janet Varney) through four seasons (Books 1-4) of action, splendid (HD) visuals, and thoughtful commentary on real-world strife. Like Aang before her, Korra is an Avatar who can control the four elements: water, earth, fire, and air. Throughout the series, the hotheaded warrior has to maintain balance in a world facing political and spiritual unrest, though the final season sees her look inward in another imaginative pivot. It’s quite a journey for anyone already caught up in the “Avatar” world…

Bonus Reason: …and great prep for Netflix’s original adaptation. Back in 2018, the streaming giant announced plans for a live-action version of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” hoping to do right by a beloved anime property that many felt was mishandled by M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 movie. There’s still no word on a release date for the new series, but Netflix is certainly sparking renewed interest by releasing the original series and its sequel.

3. “Moesha” (available now)

Why Should I Watch? Brandy’s beloved ’90s sitcom, “Moesha,” is one of a handful of sitcoms focused on Black families that Netflix has licensed for release in the coming months. Originally planned for CBS before moving to its permanent home at UPN, the half-hour comedy centers on a well-off Black family living in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Moesha’s diary entries open and close most episodes (shortly before Carrie Bradshaw’s essays would do the same on “Sex and the City”), which capture the titular lead’s days in high school, as well as her family life. Whether you’re looking for a little nostalgia during your time at home or eager to finally see an oft-discussed comedy that’s been previously unavailable otherwise, “Moesha” will give you 50-plus hours of much-needed entertainment.

Bonus Reason: Besides making a star out of Brandy, “Moesha” followed the grand tradition of most great sitcoms by tackling a number of difficult issues head-on. (The later seasons take on an infidelity arc that’s a real humdinger.) So don’t worry: This isn’t a guilty pleasure or braindead bingeing; “Moesha” pushes the envelope, too.

4. “Aggretsuko” Season 3 (available August 27)

"Aggretsuko" Season 3 Netflix



Why Should I Watch? Still looking for more animated offerings in August? Netflix has you covered with the third season of its kawaii counterculture cartoon, “Aggretsuko.” Originally the mascot for Sanrio, a Japanese company that designs, licenses, and specializes in super-cute products, “Aggretsuko” debuted as an anime musical-comedy in 2018, following an accountant named Retsuko who takes out her frustrations via death metal karaoke sessions. Episodes are pretty short — about 15 minutes each — but the length helps maximize the juxtaposition between crazy adorable creatures (Retsuko is a red panda) pursuing aggressively extreme outlets. (Retsuko eventually turns to marriage as solace from her office aggravations.) Try them out for yourself and see what all the much-deserved fuss is about.

Bonus Reason: One? We’ve got five! For more hooks into “Aggretsuko,” check out our Season 1 breakdown. Here’s a small taste: Retsuko’s name roughly translates to “Rage-child” in English, which is awesome by itself.

5. “Immigration Nation” (available now)


“Immigration Nation”

Courtesy of Netflix

Why Should I Watch? A six-part documentary series from Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau (“Trophy”), “Immigration Nation” examines America’s immigration process through the daily lives of ICE agents, activists, lawmakers, attorneys, and a sizable number of undocumented immigrants. Schwarz and Clusiau, who shot footage for more than three years, look at an array of immigrant stories, including longtime residents and more recent arrivals, and asks the hard questions about how our nation can live up to the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

Bonus Reason: Early reviews have been strong. Variety’s Chief TV Critic Caroline Framke writes “‘Immigration Nation’ provides a damning indictment of the labyrinthe systems that make ICE so powerful, and a wrenching examination of the human cost its policies have wrought.” Time’s Judy Berman also utilizes the striking descriptor when calling the docuseries “as damning for the executive branch as it is illuminating for civilians.” Here’s hoping the timing of this release encourages voters to do what they can to change things.

6. “The Game” Seasons 1-3 (available August 15)

Why Should I Watch? Another popular UPN entry, “The Game” originated as a spin-off of the sitcom “Girlfriends” (which starred Tracee Ellis Ross) before running one season longer than its predecessor. Mara Brock Akil created both, and recent Emmy nominee Tia Mowry leads “The Game” as Dr. Melanie Barnett-Davis who, when the series begins, has given up an offer to study at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to support her husband’s professional football career. Melanie quickly befriends her new football family, including Tasha (Wendy Raquel Robinson) and Kelly (Brittany Daniel), while she learns to juggle her responsibilities to her sport with her passion for practicing medicine. Honestly, the real answer to “Why Should I Watch?” is simply Tia Mowry (now Tia Mowry-Hardrict), but for those who wanted a few more names or a hint at the plot, there you go.

Bonus Reason: In addition to Mowry, “The Game” featured a slew of famous or soon-to-be famous faces. “Moesha” star Brandy showed up in later seasons, along with future “Insecure” star Jay Ellis. Rick Fox, Lee Majors, and Janet Varney were all part of the recurring cast, while guest stars like John Singleton, Jennifer Hudson, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union, Serena Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Jennifer Lopez kept audiences on their toes week in and week out.

7. “Tiny Creatures” (available August 7)

Tiny Creatures Netflix

“Tiny Creatures”

Courtesy of Netflix

Why Should I Watch? What’s cuter than animal-centered nature docs? How about an animal-centered nature doc focused on tiny animals? Exotic butterflies, everyday mice, weird-looking lizards, and more take the spotlight in this new Netflix docuseries that dramatizes little animals’ big adventures across the United States. Expect plenty of slo-motion shots and close calls for these “Tiny Creatures,” all in bright, beautiful high-definition.

Bonus Reason: Who better to narrate a docuseries on tiny animals than a big, burly man with a buttery baritone? “Evil” star Mike Colter will talk you through each little creature’s story — though here’s hoping this show will avoid any demon sightings.

The Rest of Incoming TV

“Iron Man: Armored Adventures” Seasons 1-2 (available now)
“My Perfect Landing” Season 1 (available now)
“Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea” Season 1 (available now)
“The Next Step” Season 6 (available now)
“Operation Ouch” Season 1 (available now)
“Connected” (available now)
“Toradora!” Season 1 (available now)
“Transformers Rescue Bots Academy” Season 2 (available now)
“Mundo Misterio / Mystery Lab” (available August 4)
“World’s Most Wanted” (available August 5)
“The Rain” Season 3 (available August 6)
“Alta Mar / High Seas” Season 3 (available August 7)
“The Magic School Bus Rides Again Kids in Space” (available August 7)
“Nailed It: Mexico” Season 2 (available August 7)
“The New Legends of Monkey” Season 2 (available August 7)
“Selling Sunset” Season 3 (available August 7)
“(Un)Well” (available August 12)
“El rob del siglo” (available August 14)
“Glow Up” Season 2 (available August 14)
“Teenage Bounty Hunters” (available August 14)
“3% Season 4 (available August 14)
“Rita” Season 5 (available August 15)
“Stranger” Season 2 (available August 15)
“Glitch Techs” Season 2 (available August 17)
“DeMarcus Family Rules” (available August 19)
“Biohackers” (available August 20)
“Lucifer” Season 5 (available August 21)
“Rust Valley Restorers” Season 3 (available August 21)
“Trinkets” Season 2 (available August 25)
“Million Dollar Beach House” (available August 26)
“Cobra Kai” Seasons 1-2 (available August 28)
“I AM A KILLER: Released” (available August 28)

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox