What's Worth Watching: The 50th Annual CMA Awards, Survivor, Rectify, Stan Against Evil and more for Wednesday, November 2
The 50th Annual CMA Awards (8/7c, ABC): Sometimes it seems as if there’s a country music awards show every other week, but none have the clout—or, most years, the ratings power—of the CMAs, which marks its milestone 50th anniversary this year. Once again, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley team up to host the ceremony, airing live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. They’ll also perform, along with a starry roster that includes Garth Brooks with Trisha Yearwood, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw and Kacey Musgraves. And yes, some of these performers are likely to go home with awards.
Survivor (8/7c, CBS): The elimination last week of flirty “Figgy” was one of the most satisfying moments yet this season, but in the wake of the latest blindside, several of the Millennials perform some damage control. They still have the numbers over the Gen X players, but anyone who’s watched this show knows how quickly the balance of power can shift.
Rectify (10/9c, SundanceTV): Last week’s very moving season premiere let us see how Daniel (Aden Young) was doing, if not exactly where he’s heading, in his new life in Nashville. This week, we revisit the family and community he left behind in Paulie, Georgia, and it’s just as powerful to see them carry on with their daily routines and tentative relationships, haunted by their separation and dislocation from their loved one in exile. In light of their new gigs on far more mainstream TV shows this season, it’s fascinating to watch Clayne Crawford (Lethal Weapon) and Abigail Spencer (Timeless) as these profoundly different and deeper characters.
Stan Against Evil (10/9c, IFC): No one does curmudgeonly better than John C. McGinley of Scrubs fame, and he’s the main reason to check out this cheesy Evil Dead knockoff set in the cursed town of Willard’s Mill, New Hampshire. McGinley is Stan, the burg’s unhappily widowed former sheriff, who finds himself combating evil spirits that hark back to the town’s mass witch burnings in the 17th century. His partner in the slay trade: new sheriff Evie (Janet Varney), who should have done her homework before accepting the badge. Compared to the operatic gore and rollicking fun of Starz’s Ash Vs. Evil Dead, this can feel like an amateur student film, providing chuckles only when Stan and Evie engage in pop-culture banter, including whether Starsky & Hutch was actually a “gay cop show.”
Inside Wednesday TV: With the election less than a week away, you could concede that it’s already gone to the dogs. Or you could watch Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s latest comedy special on Hulu. In Triumph’s Election Watch 2016: The Home Stretch (streaming Nov. 2), the mutt shows phony leaked tapes of both candidates to focus groups and performs at the closing of Trump Taj Mahal. He also discusses current events with Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein. … PBS’s purr-fectly diverting Nature series spends the next two Wednesdays telling The Story of Cats (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org), going back 11 million years to the species’ roots in Asia and Africa. Next week, we see how they came to the Americas. … Another signature PBS series, Nova, devotes three weeks to uncovering Treasures of the Earth (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org) in a visually spectacular travelogue that opens with the subject of “Gems.” From a Tiffany’s workshop in New York to China’s Forbidden City with its trove of jade, much is revealed about the science and chemistry of these precious stones. … WGN America resurrects the witches and demons of Salem (9/8c) for a third season, where the fate of wicked Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery) is revealed, while the devil runs rampant in the New World.