As we approach the finals of Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world (which continues in London through Sunday), HBO presents a look at the intensity of the sport through the eyes of two world-class athletes and the spectators that watched their hard work and dedication come to fruition.
7 Days in Hell (Premiere, 10 p.m. Saturday, HBO) turns the serious sport on its head, toying with the athlete documentary/interview format. The mockumentary follows a fictitious 2001 one-week, five-set match between bitter rivals Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg of Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Charles Poole (Kit Harington, Jon Snow for life). Samberg personifies the cocky American athlete as mulleted bad-boy Aaron, while Harington plays up the dopey Brit pressured to bring the title home (all together now: “You know nothing, Charles Poole”).
Besides footage of a grueling marathon match that includes death and nudity, there are interviews from hilarious characters played by Fred Armisen, David Copperfield, Lena Dunham, Will Forte and many others.
Even Serena Williams (set to take on Maria Sharapova in the semifinals Thursday) gets in on the fun — apparently her dad took a young Aaron under his wing (“It was a reverse Blind Side,” Williams explains).
Why not take this to another meta level and air behind-the-scenes footage of the making of this 45-minute special? Samberg, Harington and the rest of the cast appear to be having so much fun, even a documentary about a fake documentary would probably be a hit.
Skin Wars (9 p.m., GSN) – Judge RuPaul calls in some queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race to serve as models for the artists to transform into recognizable musical divas. Come for the transformations, stay for the drama of a drag queen not being able to do her own makeup.
Key & Peele (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central) – President Obama and Luther meet Hillary Clinton; a football team gets pumped for a big game.
The Spoils Before Dying (Series Premiere, 9 p.m., IFC) – This satirical miniseries and follow-up to IFC’s The Spoils of Babylon places Michael Kenneth Williams, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Haley Joel Osment and more in a Jazzy 1950s murder mystery.
Why? with Hannibal Buress (Series Premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Known for his roles on The Eric Andre Show and Broad City and for calling out Bill Cosby ahead of the recent rape allegation firestorm, Hannibal Buress finally gets his own spot, featuring stand-up, on-street interviews, in-studio guests and sketches.
Hannibal (10 p.m., NBC) – Bedelia and Hannibal look into relocating; Jack and Will reunite, but Jack isn’t sure if he can trust him; Mason plans for Hannibal’s capture while Margot and Alana conspire on their own.
Lip Sync Battle (10 p.m., Spike) – Alison Brie takes on Will Arnett.
Sex with Brody (Series Premiere, 10:30 p.m., E!) – Hard pass.
Humans (9 p.m., AMC) – Anita comes to Toby’s rescue, but her behavior remains suspicious. Elsewhere, George tries to break away.
True Detective (9 p.m., HBO) – Shit’s going down.
Halt and Catch Fire (10 p.m., AMC) – Donna and Gordon continue to keep secrets from one another as the latter starts a new venture.
Scream (10 p.m., MTV) – Emma learns her mom has been hiding more secrets and gets challenged by the killer.
Another Period (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Beatrice and Lillian get glammed up for Newport’s Most Beautiful Pageant while Peepers teaches Chair some important skills.
CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected] or @jackern