Good Monday morning. As I type this, Irma sits south of Florida and prepares to head up the west coast, where family and friends live. But the hurricane is so massive it will affect the entire state, including here in Central Florida. This story will publish whether or not I still have electricity on Monday—we’re expecting the worst overnight Sunday—but after that it’s unclear when I’ll be back online.
Even while Florida gets pummeled by a hurricane, reality television will continue (both news coverage and the lighter, more entertaining kind), so here’s your look at what’s ahead this week.
10 reality shows debuting this week
10 unscripted series premiere this week, ranging from two new ghost shows to the Sunday debut of the first 90 minutes of Ken Burns and Lynn Novikck’s 18-hour, 10-episode documentary about (and called) The Vietnam War.
Here’s what’s ahead this week (descriptions in quotes come from publicity materials from that show’s network):
- Counting On (TLC, Sept. 11, Mondays at 9). The 19 Kids and Counting spin-off follows members of the Duggar family, who, yes, TLC kept on TV.
- Meet the Putmans (TLC, Sept. 11, Mondays at 10). Follows a “supersized family” in a home “where three generations live under one roof” and “share everything from one bank account to only two bathrooms.”
- Indie Lens Storycast (YouTube, Sept. 12). “a channel of short docuseries created by indie filmmakers, and developed by ITVS, showcasing stories that reflect the funny, strange, and dynamic world we live in.”
- Chrisley Knows Best (USA, Sept. 12, Tuesdays at 10). This season, “Chase celebrates his 21st birthday, Nanny Faye pulls an epic prank on Todd, Savannah hosts a fashion show, and the family comes together as Julie awaits word on an all-too-familiar health diagnosis.”
- Lace Up: The Ultimate Sneaker Challenge (YouTube Red, Sept. 13). “aspiring footwear designers from around the world battle it out to determine who can design, develop and produce the next great sneaker.”
- Bong Appétit (Viceland, Sept. 14, Thursdays at 10:30). “Host Abdullah Saeed is back with cannabis confisserie owner / chef, Vanessa Lavorato and marijuana expert Ry Pritchard to explore the making and eating of high-end cannabis-infused foods, themed around occasions for gathering and feasting.”
- Kindred Spirits (TLC, Sept. 15, Fridays at 9). “renowned ghost hunters Amy Bruni and Adam Berry … help real people tormented by paranormal activity in their homes.
- Evil Things (TLC, Sept. 15, Fridays at 10). “it’s not haunted houses but the objects inside them that are the terrifying focus of this new series”
- My Giant Life (TLC, Sept. 17, Sundays at 10). Follows “six women who are seemingly too tall for the average-sized world, standing at 6 feet 6 inches and above.”
- The Vietnam War (PBS, Sept. 17 to 21, and Sept. 24 to 28, 8 p.m.) Ken Burns’ latest epic documentary.
Saturn, MMA, celebrity makeup, and other docs
- Death Dive to Saturn (PBS, Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 9) follows the end of the Cassini-Huygens mission, which launched in 1997 and has spent the last 13 years studying Saturn. On Friday, its mission ends. PBS says this NOVA special “takes viewers on a suspenseful ride inside the mission’s last days, as Cassini attempts one last set of daring maneuvers—a series of dives between Saturn and its innermost ring, before making its final, fateful plunge into the planet’s atmosphere.”
- Mission Saturn (National Geographic, Friday, Sept. 15, at 9) also focuses on the Cassini-Huygens mission, and is “the first full feature documentary highlighting Cassini’s mission and its final signal back to Earth,” according to Nat Geo.
- After the financial crisis in 2008, no banks were prosecuted except one: The Abacus Federal Savings Bank, a small, family-owned business in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which is directed by Steve James and won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, airs as part of Frontline (PBS, Sept. 12) and “chronicles the Chinese immigrant Sung family’s fight to clear their names,” according to PBS.
- Beauty & The Beast In Me (Logo, Thursday, Sept. 14, at 9) is a documentary profiling Kevyn Aucoin, a celebrity makeup artist who shows off ” never before seen archival footage of some of the most iconic moments in fashion history, shot by Kevyn himself throughout his life and career,” according to Logo.
- Mixed martial arts and people who are involved in MMA are the subject of Tough Guys (Showtime, Friday, Sept. 15, at 9), a doc produced by Morgan Spurlock that “brings to life the loosely regulated mixed martial arts competitions of 1980s Pittsburgh that served as a precursor to what has now become a global phenomenon,” according to Showtime.
- Two Degrees: The Point of No Return (History, Friday, Sept. 15, at 10) explores why “we are nearing a fatal tipping point that will set into motion a cascade of natural disasters that will devastate the United States and the world,” according to the network.
- A 24-year-old math teacher, William Ford, was shot to death on Long Island in 1992. The man who shot him wasn’t even indicted. Strong Island (Netflix, Friday) is a documentary by his brother, Yance Ford, who “takes an emotional and unflinching look at his family’s devastation and lingering pain after the murder of their son and brother,” according to Netflix.