A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Back (midnight/11c, IFC): Not-quite-sibling rivalry hits new heights of hilarity in the second season of this savagely funny showcase for the British comedy duo of David Mitchell and Robert Webb (Peep Show). The series, which is already available for streaming in its entirety on AMC+, features Mitchell as the miserably misanthropic Stephen, whose hopes of taking over his late dad’s village pub are stymied by the arrival at his funeral of the sly, smug and inscrutable Andrew (Webb), a mysterious former foster brother who insinuates himself back into Stephen’s bizarre family, which treats him like a favored prodigal son. For the Season 2 encore, premiering with back-to-back (get it?) episodes, we rejoin Stephen as he emerges from a therapeutic retreat following a breakdown, while Andrew appears discontented in his new life as a barkeep. In the second episode, Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) guests as the robust Charismatic Mike, one of Stephen’s mother’s (Penny Downie) many former lovers, who may or may not be Stephen’s biological father.
Resident Alien (10/9c, Syfy): One of the most enjoyable new series of 2021, this sci-fi comedy wraps its first season with alien-in-human-disguise Harry (the brilliant Alan Tudyk) facing his own humanity while on the verge of completing his mission of wiping the species off the planet. With alien hunters on his trail and more locals learning his secret, Harry may be lucky just to save his own fake skin. Happily, the show has already been renewed for a second season. Can’t wait.
Godzilla vs. Kong (streaming on HBO Max): Already a hit overseas, this clash of the titanic creatures is the latest big-screen blockbuster simultaneously premiering in movie theaters and streaming in homes. The lure of watching the giant lizard and the mammoth ape duke it out might just be enough to lure some of us out of our homes after a year of lockdown. Regardless of which beast wins, can movie theaters survive? Among the ridiculously overqualified cast observing the battle: Alexander Skarsgård, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, Brian Tyree Henry, and Demián Bichir.
The Laundry Guy (10/9c, HGTV; streaming on Discovery+): Get a load of this guy. Patric Richardson is a laundry expert who understands how attached people get to items of clothing with sentimental value, even when they seem irreparably ruined by stains and time. Richardson has the magic touch to restore these items, sharing his tricks in a series that premieres on HGTV, with additional episodes available for streaming. In the opening episodes, he helps bring an heirloom baby quilt and a silk boxing jacket back to life, while sharing recipes for favorite treats and drinks along the way.
Inside Wednesday TV: CNBC addresses a very current issue in a one-hour special, Race & Opportunity in America: The Asian-American Experience (8/7c)… As if a pandemic weren’t enough to worry about, nature expert Sir David Attenborough explores Extinction—The Facts in an hourlong PBS special (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org). With the last two surviving Northern White Rhinos as a case study, Extinction looks at how the increasing threat to biodiversity among a million endangered plant, insect and animal species could also impact humanity’s very existence on this planet… ABC airs season finales of American Housewife (8:30/7:30c) and The Con (10/9c)… As part of an all-new night of Chicago drama on NBC, Chicago Fire (9/8c) investigates a series of suspicious fires. But fans are even more concerned about the fate of poor, troubled Casey (Jesse Spencer).