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Stay Tuned column: A strong cast and authentic stories on Starz drama ‘P-Valley’

Melissa Crawley
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The Chronicle Express

It’s a busy week for streaming services with several premieres and Starz debuts a solid new drama.

Dispatches: Weekly TV news

“An Oral History of ‘The Office’” will debut July 14 on Spotify. The 12-episode podcast will explore the story of how the obscure British comedy became an American TV hit. The project will take listeners behind-the-scenes of the series using interviews with creator Greg Daniels, stars Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson and others. Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone on the show, hosts.

Netflix and Pharrell Williams are teaming up for a new unscripted docuseries called “Voices of Fire,” which will follow the singer’s uncle, Bishop Ezekiel Williams, as he and a group of influential gospel leaders, build a gospel choir from undiscovered talent in Williams’ hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia. The series is set to premiere later in 2020.

The work of beloved children’s author, Maurice Sendak, will be reimagined as new series and specials on Apple TV+. The foundation that oversees Sendak’s catalogue, which includes “Where the Wild Things Are,” “In the Night Kitchen,” and “Outside Over There,” signed a multi-year deal with Apple to develop projects for its streaming service.

Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar

“Greatness Code” takes a look at the pivotal moments that define athletes’ careers (July 10, Apple TV+). The seven-part documentary series focuses on LeBron James, Tom Brady, Alex Morgan, Shaun White, Usain Bolt, Katie Ledecky and Kelly Slater.

Also on Apple TV+ July 10 is “Little Voice,” a coming of age drama that features original music from Grammy-winner Sara Bareilles. The story follows Bess King (Brittany O’Grady, “Star”), a performer trying to fulfill her dreams in New York City. The series is produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions.

Actor Zac Efron goes around the world in search of healthy, sustainable approaches to life on the travel show, “Down to Earth with Zac Efron” (July 10, Netflix).

New series, “P-Valley,” from playwright, Katori Hall, debuts (July 12, Starz, 9 p.m. ET). The action is set in a Mississippi Delta strip club called The Pynk and focuses on everyday life in the club as its dancers deal with earning a living, forging uneasy alliances and balancing nontraditional approaches to motherhood. The drama also takes the story beyond the club to the small town outside its doors. Told from the perspective of Black women and queer men, the series has skilled performances and thought-provoking storylines.

Season one of “Snowpiercer” and its 1,001 train cars comes to an end (July 12, TNT, 9 p.m. ET).

Six-episode reality competition show, “Killer Camp” (July 16, The CW, 8 p.m. ET), centers on 11 British strangers who think they have been cast on a reality show called “Summer Camp,” only to discover that they are competing in a horror mystery. Each night, one contestant will be “murdered,” and the remaining players must figure out who the killer is to avoid the same fate. Comedian Bobby Mair hosts.

Report Card: Ratings winners and losers

Winners: Netflix renewed “Dead to Me” for a third and final season.

Losers: The CW cancelled “Katy Keene” after one season.

Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at staytuned@outlook.com or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.