What’s Worth Watching: The A Word, The CW’s docu-series My Last Days, Mr. Robot, Greenleaf and more for Wedndesay, August 17.
The A Word (10/9c, SundanceTV): I’m generally a fan of British TV’s less-is-more tendencies, with shorter seasons that tend to make each moment count, without self-indulgent filler. That’s certainly the case with this exquisitely rendered British import, an endearing drama about a family coming to terms with the autism of dreamy 5-year-old Joe (the remarkable Max Vento). Like NBC’s much-missed Parenthood in its method of easing tears through relatable humor, The A Word is over much too soon with the wrenching season finale. So what great news that it has been renewed for a second year. In the final episode, the family’s restaurant is finally about to open, but just when they should be pulling together, they’re falling apart. And making matters worse, Joe goes missing during the big celebration.
My Last Days (9/8c, The CW): An even more serious four-hanky alert for this deeply moving documentary series hosted and created by Jane the Virgin’s Justin Baldoni, airing over three nights (through Friday) with inspiring and unexpectedly entertaining profiles of real-life “superheroes” (Baldoni’s apt description), men and women with terminal illnesses who choose to live life to the fullest. In the opening segment, we meet 19-year-old spitfire Claire, who doesn’t let cystic fibrosis dim her ebullient spirit and gift for public speaking. Then comes 43-year-old “Darth Vader,” committed to conquering leukemia while participating in dozens of rugged Tough Mudder competitions. Naturally, he’s a softie when it comes to his daughter, who learns to face her own fears thanks to his example.
Unlocking the Truth (11/10c, MTV): A new entry to the thriving true-crime/justice genre centers on Ryan Ferguson, who spent 10 years in prison for murder before being exonerated. Now committed to helping others in his situation, he teams with an investigator from the Exoneration Project to look into the cases of three inmates who claim they’re not guilty of the crimes for which they were convicted. (A fictional version of this sort of crusade will air this fall in ABC’s Conviction.)
Inside Wednesday TV: With competition behind them, the Olympic gymnasts perform in an exhibition gala that airs during the day (go to NBCOlympics.com for the full schedule). In prime time (8/7c, NBC), track and field highlights include finals of the women’s long jump final, women’s 200m and women’s 100m hurdles, as well as women’s diving and the gold-medal final in women’s beach volleyball. . . . In a new episode of USA’s Emmy-nominated Mr. Robot (10/9c), just renewed for a third season to no one’s shock, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) and Elliot (Rami Malek) try to get along. Hasn’t worked so far. . . . Things are getting dicier by the week on OWN’s Greenleaf (10/9c), with parishioners bailing on Calvary, and Pastor Grace (Merle Dandridge) taken to court for custody of her daughter, Sophia (Desiree Ross).