Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You | Photo Credits: Natalie Seery/HBO

As we enter the final full week of August, it’s time to reflect and think about how far we’ve come this year — no, wait, we’re exactly where we were in March. OK, so it’s a time to watch even more TV while trying not to melt in the excessive heat. Luckily, this week is offering up some truly exceptional movies, documentaries, and TV shows to pass the time.

Kicking things off is HBO’s new documentary series The Vow, which digs into the notorious case of the “self-help group” NXIVM that served as a recruitment pool for a sex cult. Also on deck this week is the Season 1 finale of I May Destroy You, a new movie on Hulu about three horndogs in high school trying to get laid on the one night a year people are allowed to get drunk and high, and the first two seasons of Cobra Kai, which are finally hitting Netflix. It’s a pretty good lineup, if we do say so ourselves.

If this isn’t enough and you’re looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, sign up for our free, daily, spam-free Watch This Now newsletter that delivers the best TV show picks straight to your inbox, or check out the best shows and movies this month on http://www.tvguide.com/news/the-best-movies-and-tv-shows-to-watch-on-netflix-in-august-2020/?ftag=, http://www.tvguide.com/news/the-best-tv-shows-and-movies-to-stream-on-hulu-in-august-2020/?ftag=, and http://www.tvguide.com/news/the-best-movies-and-tv-shows-to-watch-on-amazon-prime-in-august-2020/?ftag=.

The Vow

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Series premiere Sunday at 10/9c on HBO
You might be surprised to learn that The Vow, a new docuseries that digs into the “self-help group” NXIVM, which notoriously served to recruit women for a secret sex cult led by NXIVM’s co-founder Keith Raniere, is not all that salacious in nature. The doc, directed by Oscar-nominated husband-and-wife team Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, is less concerned with sensationalizing an already unbelievable story and more about examining and explaining how sound-minded individuals came to be brainwashed and part of the cult. Over the course of the series, former members reveal their experiences and just how easily Raniere was able to manipulate the organization’s members and exploit their weaknesses, and that is almost as horrifying as anything else depicted in the series. [TV Guide Review]

I May Destroy You 

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Season 1 finale Monday at 9/8c on HBO
The 11 gripping and sometimes breathtaking episodes of HBO’s I May Destroy You we’ve seen so far have all been an appetizer for the finale. Witnesses to this outstanding piece of television have seen Arabella (creator-performer Michaela Coel) lose herself as she tries to piece together what happened the night she was drugged and raped; part of her grieving and coping process meant alienating and the growing closer with her friends Terry (Weruche Opia) and Kwame (Paapa Essiedu) too. Yet many more lingering questions remain, namely, will Arabella heal from what happened? Will she revive her scuttled career? What exactly is her roommate’s deal? And of course, will she figure out who raped her, and will he meet justice? The finale answers those questions and prompts some more, putting a final fabulous flourish on a splendid season. –Malcolm Venable


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