Pixar’s ‘Dug Days,’ 9/11 Documentaries on Netflix, Apple and National Geographic, Remembering Richard Pryor
The late Ed Asner reprises his role as Up’s lovably irascible Carl in the animated spinoff Dug Days, starring Dug, the irrepressible and easily distracted Golden Retriever. National Geographic’s riveting 9/11: One Day in America concludes, with more documentaries about that tragic day premiering on Apple TV+ and Netflix. ABC’s Superstar series profiles the influential and groundbreaking comedian Richard Pryor. A curated critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
A series of five animated shorts from Pixar, starring the good-natured (if easily distracted) Golden Retriever from the Oscar-winning Up, takes on added resonance because it represents one of the final performances of Ed Asner, who passed away earlier this week at 91. He reprises his role as the curmudgeonly Carl, though the focus is on the delightful Dug (voiced by writer-director Bob Peterson), who’s enjoying his first time out of Paradise Falls. Can’t think of a better way to spend these dog days of late summer.
The biographical docuseries looks at the bold and brilliant career and turbulent life of comedian Richard Pryor who influenced a generation of provocateurs with his unsparing and racially charged performances about being Black in America. Through ABC News archives, including a memorable interview with Barbara Walters, Pryor recounts his rise in show business and his struggles with drugs and disease.
Future of Work
Accompanied by a digital series on the PBS Voices YouTube channel, this three-part docuseries explores the ever-changing nature of the workplace and labor itself in America. After a year in which many workers adapted to remote communication or otherwise saw their employment affected by the pandemic, this could hardly be more timely. The premiere episode introduces Chris Francis, who reinvented himself as a seasonal worker after losing his job of 30 years in finance and accounting. Likened to the role of Fern in the Oscar-winning Nomadland, Chris travels in his van to wherever he can find work, including at an Amazon return center. Other episodes will examine the impact of technological advances on industries from health care to farming.
- 9/11: One Day in America (9/8c, National Geographic Channel): In the final episode of this immersive you-are-there series, two ex-Marines and a former paramedic work together at Ground Zero to look for survivors of the World Trade Center collapse, pulling off a miraculous rescue amid the soul-crushing disaster.
- Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror (streaming on Netflix): A five-part docuseries takes a broader look at how the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred and how the aftermath led to the longest war in U.S. history (and its messy and controversial end). Featuring interviews with government officials, ex-CIA members, U.S. military vets, Afghans from all sides, and survivors of the attacks, Turning Point attempts to explain how we get here from the events of that terrible day.
- 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (streaming on Apple TV+): Another angle shows the unfolding tragedy of 9/11 from the perspective of President George W. Bush and his advisors as they relive the critical decisions made during that day. (The special will be available to watch for free without a subscription on Sept. 11.)
Inside Wednesday TV:
- Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens (10/9c, Comedy Central); Emmy-nominated Saturday Night Live performer Bowen Yang is back in Nora’s (Awkwafina) life as cousin Edmund, mired in scandal and ready to start over — as an actor. While Nora supports him in her own snarky way at skeevy auditions, her dad Wally (BD Wong) is in literal pain when he suspects his girlfriend Brenda (Jennifer Esposita) is cheating on him with dating apps.
- Archer (10:30/9:30c, FXX): The late, great Jessica Walter gets a terrific showcase as spy boss Malory Archer, when she takes lead — in a catsuit! — on a mission to London that recalls her own glory days in international espionage. As for her current situation: “You work with the people you can get,” she sighs. Evil’s Aasif Mandvi and What We Do in the Shadows’ Kayvan Novak and Harvey Guillén are guest voices for a wild romp through Olde England. We couldn’t agree more with Walter when she assesses herself: “Still got it.”
- 48 Hours (10/9c, CBS): A new edition of the true-crime series, airing on a weeknight, revisits the grisly case of Chad Daybell, charged with wife Lori Vallow Daybell of murdering her children and burying them on his Idaho property. In a new interview, Chad’s own children come to their dad’s defense.
- Raid the Fridge (10/9c, Food Network) A new competition series challenges professional chefs to create impressive edibles from the ingredients within mystery refrigerators. It’s like a kitchen version of Storage Wars.
- Nine Perfect Strangers (streaming on Hulu): The hallucinations are becoming more vivid than ever in the trippiest episode yet. Among those freaking out is young Zoe (Grace Van Patten), whose birthday celebration is clouded by her visions of her late twin brother.
- Vera (streaming on BritBox): An 11th season of the British mystery, starring Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope, opens with the feature-length investigation into the death of a local builder found dead on the steps of Collingwood Memorial. (The 10th season is now exclusively streaming on BriBox as well.)