Just when you thought the withdrawal symptoms from the end of prime HBO shows like Barry and Succession were only going to get stronger, August is coming in hot with some absolute bangers. Netflix’s adaptation of the acclaimed manga/ anime One Piece is easily the saving grace this month, where an ambitious pirate with a straw hat heads out on an epic voyage, searching every inch of the vast blue seas for a fabled treasure. The 10-episode series captures the introductory chapters — East Blue Saga — and sets sail on August 31 (close call for the month). A week before that, Ahsoka Tano is finally getting her standalone live-action series, headlined by Rosario Dawson, as she investigates an emerging threat to a vulnerable galaxy. Ahsoka premieres August 23 on Disney+ Hotstar.
Jimmy Sheirgill-led Choona fires things up on the Indian originals end, tracing a revenge drama with an astrological twist, where an unlikely group of six band together to take down a corrupt politician’s empire. Described as a heist comedy set in Lucknow, Choona is out August 3 on Netflix. Then, Sony Liv has got a climate thriller lined up for us — delving into the exploitation of natural resources for human greed, which leads to some fatal consequences for the denizens of the mining state of Orissa. The Jengaburu Curse — created by Nila Madhab Panda (Kadvi Hawa) premieres August 9.
Other notable releases this month include the third season of Only Murders in the Building, which picks up from theatre actor Ben Glenroy’s (Paul Rudd) death, as our trio of true crime-obsessed podcasters are whisked into another murder case. While the season premiere is set for August 8, Disney+ Hotstar in India may or may not delay the release by a couple of days — as we saw with The Bear season 2. You can read more about all these TV shows and more below — and feel free to discover the complete list of upcoming web series at our entertainment hub.
Physical season 3
When: August 2
Where: Apple TV+
It’s a bit baffling to see Apple TV+’s Physical not getting the attention it deserves, because that’s where Rose Byrne puts forward her best performance. Tormented housewife Sheila Rubin (Byrne) is headed on a healthy path to recovery, having established her aerobics video class and thriving in her business’ success — expanding into meditation courses, Lamaze, and pottery classes. Sheila is on the precipice of something huge, that is until Kelly Kilmartin (Zooey Deschanel), a new fitness instructor on the rise starts stealing the thunder, threatening to take away everything she’s worked for. Given Sheila’s past with her inner demons, you might as well expect this new character to occasionally invade her mind, stirring doubts about her fitness empire and self-image.
The world of aerobics was a source for Sheila to find release and empowerment, and with this new threat rising on the surface, she digs deep to uncover any secrets that could harm Kelly’s reputation — starting with her arrest records, followed by a face-to-face confrontation that only screams trouble. This unhinged season marks the final chapter of Physical, which is still poised to leave some things open-ended for its fans. Much of the original cast reprise their roles, including Rory Scovel (Babylon) as Sheila’s husband Danny Rubin, Paul Sparks (House of Cards) as her lover John Breem, and Dierdre Friel as her wise friend Greta Hauser.
The first two episodes of Physical season 3 are out August 2 on Apple TV+, after which it will follow a weekly release schedule — dropping every Wednesday — until September 27.
When: August 3
Jimmy Sheirgill (A Wednesday!) plays Shukla, a corrupt politician obsessed with astrology, in this heist comedy from Pushpendra Nath Misra, as he navigates his plan to overthrow the government and become the next CM of his state. However, he has a quirk — his day-to-day activities are carefully planned based on whether the stars and planets align in his favour, which also determines whether it’s the right time for him to commit an act of violence. In his meteoric rise to the top, Shukla has created a bunch of enemies, all of whom were somehow wronged by him, now looking for revenge by conjuring a disorganised plan to steal Rs. 600 crore from under his nose.
The heist team includes an astrologer (Atul Srivastava), a past love interest (Monika Panwar), a mute man (Chandan Roy), a shape-shifting informer (Namit Das), a small-time crook and student leader (Aashim Gulati), an alcoholic contractor (Vikram Kochhar), and a demoted police officer (Gyanendra Tripathi). Only one problem though – Shukla’s party office is heavily fortified with armed men, over 100 physically-fit goon-ish workers, and CCTV cameras on every corner. Our band of infiltrators, on the other hand, are ordinary townsfolk with no experience ziplining from a window, forcing them to rely on astrology to fool or rather, apply choona to the man.
All eight episodes of Choona drop August 3 on Netflix.
Heartstopper season 2
When: August 3
Having just come out to his mother in the season finale of Heartstopper, Nick (Kit Connor) is ready to explore his newly-forged relationship with Charlie (Joe Locke), which he still finds a bit weird considering they started out as best friends. With exams on the horizon and a school trip to Paris — couldn’t be more romantic — tough, footballing jock Nick must figure out what it means for him to be bisexual, as he grapples with the weight of having to reveal his sexuality publicly. Charlie, being the concerned boyfriend that he is, wants to ensure that his partner’s coming out experience isn’t as traumatic as his own, promising a fairytale romance in season 2.
Let’s not ignore their close friends either, particularly Elle (Yasmin Finney) and Tao (William Gao), who struggle to keep their friendly relationship platonic, while Tara (Corinna Brown) and Darcy (Kissy Edgell) face unforeseen challenges in their relationship. Charlie is a bit envious of the latter though, as Nick’s inkling to maintain a public image as a straight sportsperson prevents them from openly reciprocating their love for each other. It’s good that Alice Oseman, the person who wrote and drew the original Heartstopper webtoons and graphic novels, is the lead writer on the Netflix show as well — ensuring that her true vision is portrayed on the screen.
Season 2 brings a bunch of returning characters, including Tobie Donovan as the quiet kid Isaac, Sebastian Croft as the misguided Ben, and Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman (The Favourite) as Nick’s accepting mother Sarah Nelson.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
When: August 4
Where: Amazon Prime Video
When Alice Hart (Alycia Debnam-Carey) was little, she was involved in a mysterious yet tragic fire accident, losing her parents in the process and being moved to live with her estranged grandmother June (Sigourney Weaver) at the Thronfield flower farm. Growing older and developing a strange connection with the Australian native flowers, she learns some revealing secrets about herself and her family’s past — a betrayal of her trust that causes her to leave and carve out her own story. It is implied that June’s farm is, in fact, a refuge for traumatised people, who like the nine-year-old Alice were broken.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart draws from the eponymous 2018 novel by Holly Ringland, which uses the vast open spaces of central Australia to convey a moody survival thriller that’s shot in atmospheric quality. It’s a tale spanning two decades, transcending between flashbacks of Alice’s time with her violent father, some good memories with her mom at the beach, and a celestial crater in the central desert. The seven-episode series also stars Alyla Browne as the young Alice Hart, Asher Keddie (Nine Perfect Strangers) as a concerned woman at the farm Sally Morgan, Leah Purcell (Wentworth) as Twig North, and Frankie Adams (The Expanse) as Candy Blue.
All seven episodes of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart are directed by Glendyn Ivin (Safe Harbour), and they’ll be available to stream August 4 on Amazon Prime Video.
Only Murders in the Building season 3
When: August 8
Where: Disney+ Hotstar
Only Murders in the Building season 3 picks up exactly where we left off, with Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd) dying on stage during the opening night of Oliver’s (Martin Short) Broadway play. With his leading man no longer alive, the only way to continue his show would be to once again team up with his true crime-loving podcast group — Mabel (Selena Gomez) and Charles (Steve Martin) — and find the killer. Every cast member’s photo is pinned up on a wall, turning them all into suspects in the whodunnit mystery, which would occasionally jump back in time to reveal their relationships with Ben. Prolific Academy Award nominee Meryl Streep is joining the cast this time as Loretta, who’s had some friction with Ben for being a bad performer at table reads. She wants the part in the theatre play, but Ben wanted her out, giving her the motive to kill.
Then there’s the TikTok-addicted starlet Kimberly (Ashley Park) who is accused of doing it as part of an internet meme, and an unnamed documentarian played by Jesse Williams (The Cabin in the Woods) who seems way too interested in the murder investigations proceedings — to the point where he goes on a date with Mabel. There’s a lot to unpack in this new season, from dance and musical performances to a collapsing theatre, to Charles and Oliver struggling with Gen-Z terms, and even Mabel showing up in a wedding dress.
The first two episodes of Only Murders in the Building season 3 are currently set to drop August 8 on Disney+ Hotstar, albeit this could get delayed by a few days going by past record. The remaining eight episodes will follow a weekly release schedule — every Tuesday — until October 3.
The Jengaburu Curse
When: August 9
Where: Sony Liv
There’s something amiss about the small town of Jengaburu, Orissa, which recently started receiving deals worth hundreds of crores, turning it into a lavish metropolitan hub. Priya Das (Faria Abdullah), a London-based financial analyst, who returned home when her father went missing, finds the advancement quite perplexing and gets dragged into a dark international conspiracy surrounding an illegal mining operation. Around 3,000 feet under the ground, an agency seems to have excavated strange radicals that are tied to a secret nuclear operation, with its unsuspecting miners suffering deaths in hundreds due to radiation exposure.
It’s a bit hard to ascertain what The Jengaburu Curse’s plot is, but it’s implied that the Bondriya tribe was wiped out from the map to exploit resources from their original dwelling. Nila Madhab Panda’s — best known for Kadvi Hawa — climate-fiction series delves into how the notion of how exploitation of natural resources to satisfy human greed could have fatal consequences. The show also stars Nassar (Ponniyin Selvan: I), Makarand Deshpande (The Fame Game), and Sudev Nair (Monster).
All seven episodes of The Jengaburu Curse will be available to stream August 9 on Sony Liv.
When: August 9
Where: Apple TV+
Strange Planet is set in a whimsical pastel landscape of cotton candy pink and light purple, where a group of lanky beings explore the absurdity of everyday human life. A lot of it goes over their heads though, from the concept of drinking ‘jitter liquid’ (coffee), understanding what irony means, or why anyone would trash their place with confetti for celebrations. Other times, they’ll embark on epic adventures soaring around in a hot air balloon and remaining bizarrely calm when their flight crash-lands into the sea, all while coming to terms with their existence’s ruleset where both good and bad moments will pass by eventually.
The 10-episode show is based on author Nathan W. Pyle’s eponymous graphic novel and social media posts, offering a perceptive look at a distant world similar to ours. He also serves as co-creator on the show, partnering with Dan Harmon, best known for making Rick and Morty. It stars the voices award nominees Danny Pudi (Community), Lori Tan Chinn (Turning Red), Hannah Einbinder (Hacks), and Tunde Adebimpe (Rachel Getting Married).
The first three episodes of Strange Planet are out August 9 on Apple TV+, followed by new episodes every Wednesday until September 27.
When: August 23
Where: Disney+ Hotstar
Following her brief appearance in The Mandalorian, Rosario Dawson returns as Ahsoka Tano, the Togruta Jedi on the prowl for a bigger fish – Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) – who is bound to return as heir to the Galactic Empire. The women of Star Wars: Rebels take centre stage in the series, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane) assuming the role of ace pilot general Hera Syndulla and Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Guns Akimbo) as the Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren. The latter has a strained history with her master Ahsoka, who abandoned her mid-training, just like Anakin Skywalker did to the Togruta years ago. Speaking of which, Hayden Christensen is reprising his role as the said Jedi Knight, who would eventually be known as Darth Vader.
Regardless of their personal feelings for each other, the trio launch into the galaxy far, far away to prevent another war. Lucasfilm isn’t too keen on providing plot details for Ahsoka, though I really hope it answers the burning question of how the aforementioned Sabine, who was once in possession of the Darksaber, lost it to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). We’d also be treated to a cinematic lightsaber battle between Ahsoka and Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson), ally to Thrawn and master to the dark Force user Shin (Ivanna Sakho). Marking Stevenson’s first release since his demise in May, Ahsoka is being brought to the small screen by showrunner and writer Dave Filoni, who’s been involved in pretty much every Star Wars TV project with Jon Favreau.
Ahsoka debuts August 23 with a two-episode premiere on Disney+ Hotstar. It will then follow a weekly release schedule, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday until October 4.
When: August 31
Let’s be honest, Netflix hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to adapting anime to a live-action medium, with key examples of failure being Cowboy Bebop and Death Note. A One Piece adaptation has been gestating for years now, with the streamer ordering a 10-episode first season that would chronicle the East Blue Saga — which looks wackily promising. In it, you follow Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy), an enthusiastic loudmouthed pirate possessing a rubber-like body, on a quest to find the ultimate titular treasure. But before setting sail on a perilous adventure across the Grand Line, he must find a ship and more importantly, assemble a crew of adept pirates — or rather, comrades — whom he could trust blindfolded.
We’ll meet the green-haired triple swordsman Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu), the enigmatic thief Nami (Emily Rudd), the cunning Usopp (Jacob Romero Gibson), and the uber-talented romantic chef Sanji (Taz Skylar), who seeks the fabled All Blue, which holds fish from all four seas. The villainous Buggy the Clown (Jeff Ward) will also make an appearance, being able to split his body into pieces and command each part to do his bidding. You’ll encounter more such out-of-the-box characters, who’ve consumed the Devil’s Fruit to gain superhuman abilities — one of them being Luffy himself, who can stretch his appendages like rubber to perform wildly dynamic finishing moves like the infamous Gum-Gum Pistol attack.
Yes, this means that a lot of the fight sequences will be reliant on heavy CGI work, which if not detailed enough can be a point of criticism for fans. Not to mention, Netflix is condensing the first 100 chapters of the East Blue Saga manga into a mere 10 episodes, which could leave out a chunk of character development. Only time will be the judge of how the One Piece live-action series plays out, though the original mangaka Eiichiro Oda remarked that numerous reshoots were done until he got what felt genuine to his vision.
All 10 episodes of the One Piece live-action series are out August 31 on Netflix.