Pop Culture Pulse: From Breathtaking African Wildlife to James Norton Getting Creepy

August always feels like the height of summer, but don't worry if you have no vacation booked. Our guide to this month's movie, TV, and music highlights is packed with bitesize chunks of escapism.
1. A NATURE DOC YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS
Africa's Wild Year
Each episode of this natural history series hones in on a different season. Appropriately enough, Africa's Wild Year begins with an insight into Spring, a time when new life thrives and the natural order can replenish. Premiering weekly, subsequent episodes focus on Summer, Autumn (Fall), and Winter, giving up stunning glimpses of the continent's flora and fauna, as well as each species' fight to survive. Prepare to be dazzled.

Africa's Wild Year premieres Saturday, August 6 at 8pm ET on BBC America and AMC+.
2. A NEW TREAT FOR THE WALKING DEAD FANS
Tales of the Walking Dead
The Walking Dead may be drawing to a close after 11 successful seasons, but the show's universe is expanding. This new anthology series comprises six standalone episodes featuring a few familiar faces from the OG show, plus new characters played by Terry Crews, Olivia Munn, Jillian Bell, Danny Ramirez, and Parker Posey. We're already excited for the return of Samantha Morton's formidable Alpha.

Tales of the Walking Dead begins Sunday, August 14 at 9pm ET on AMC and AMC+, with the first two episodes streaming that same night on AMC+. Subsequent episodes will stream one week early, beginning Sunday, August 21.
3. A HEART-RENDING STORY OF HUMAN RESILIENCE
Anne

Maxine Peake leads this harrowing miniseries about the aftermath of 1989's Hillsborough disaster, a fatal human crush at a Sheffield soccer stadium that claimed 97 lives. She plays Anne Williams, a Liverpool woman who spent years campaigning for justice for the victims, who included her teenage son Kevin. It's an incredibly sad story told here with sensitivity and a quiet intensity.

Maxine Peake in 'Anne'

Anne premieres Monday, August 22 on Acorn TV.
4. A POPCORN MOVIE THAT WILL TEST YOUR NERVES
Beast

In a fight for survival, we'd definitely want Idris Elba on our side. In this thriller film set in South Africa, he plays Dr. Nate Samuels, a widower who takes his two daughters on what should be a bucket list vacation to a game reserve. However, their party runs into trouble when they're spotted by a man-hunting lion, setting up an epic game of (big) cat and mouse. Frankly, this film is giving us the creeps already (in a good way).

Beast opens in theaters Friday, August 19.
5. AN APPEALING TRIP DOWN UNDER
Darby & Joan
This Acorn TV original series looks like a winning blend of road trip trama and odd couple comedy. Emmy winner Greta Scacchi plays Joan, a retired English nurse who embarks on a journey across the Australian Outback with Jack (Bryan Brown), a retired homicide detective who's more of a free spirit. Judging from the trailer, both of these "grey nomads" – older folks who move from place to place – will uncover a few surprises along the way.

Darby & Joan premieres Monday, August 8 on Acorn TV.
6. AN ALBUM OF SUMMER MOOD MUSIC
Calvin Harris: Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2

Scottish producer Calvin Harris may have made his name with thumping club hits like "This Is What You Came For," but in recent years he's embraced a more subdued and vibey sound. This new album, his first in five years, includes funky singles featuring Dua Lipa ("Potion") and Justin Timberlake ("Stay with Me)," plus appearances from Charlie Puth, Normani, and Jorja Smith. Listen with an open mind and you may be pleasantly surprised. 

Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 is released Friday, August 5 via Columbia.
7. A COMEDY SHOW THAT LEANS INTO THE DARK SIDE
Good Grief

If you appreciate a little gallows humor, this New Zealand sitcom could be for you. Co-creators Eve and Grace Palmer play Ellie and Gwen Goode, two very different sisters who come together when they inherit their grandfather's funeral home. Let's just say that Ellie takes the business rather more seriously, at least to begin with. All six episodes premiere at once on Sundance Now, so your next comedy binge-watch is sorted.

Good Grief premieres Thursday, August 4 on Sundance Now. The first two episodes then get their broadcast premiere Wednesday, August 17 at 11pm ET on IFC.
8. A MOVIE THAT WILL MAKE YOU JUMP
The Invitation
Game of Thrones alum Nathalie Emmanuel takes the lead in this intriguing horror flick. She plays Evie, a young woman who takes a DNA test and discovers she has a lost-long cousin she's never met before. However, when Evie is invited by her new family to a fancy wedding in the English countryside, the setting isn't quite as idyllic as she expected. Hugh Skinner (Fleabag) and Sean Pertwee (Gotham) co-star.

The Invitation opens in theaters Friday, August 26.
9. A HIGH-STAKES SLICE OF ESCAPISM
Stowaway
This AMC+ movie follows an attempted heist in the middle of the ocean. Ruby Rose (Batwoman) plays a spoiled socialist who has to dig deep to protect her family's luxury yacht when it's commandeered by a trio of armed intruders. Frank Grillo (Captain America) and Patrick Schwarzenegger (The Staircase) co-star in a thrill ride that will probably make you glad to have two feet on dry land. 

Stowaway premieres Friday, August 5 on AMC+.
10. A REAL-LIFE STORY YOU COULDN'T MAKE UP
Rogue Agent

This British thriller film gives James Norton a chilling role that he'll surely ace. He plays Robert Hendy-Freegard, an infamous conman who posed as an MI5 agent while actually working as a bartender and car salesperson. Gemma Arterton co-stars as Alice Archer, the woman who finally caught him out, while the supporting cast includes Killing Eve alum Julian Barratt and Star Trek: Discovery's Shazad Latif. Expect twists and turns to come thick and fast.

Rogue Agent premieres Friday, August 12 on AMC+ and in select theaters.
What are you looking forward to watching and listening to this month?