Celebrating Freddie Mercury, Time Tripping with ‘Russian Doll,’ A ‘Miracle Panda,’ A Notorious Killer

A new documentary looks back 30 years to the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, honoring the dynamic Queen vocalist. Netflix’s cult-favorite Russian Doll returns, with Natasha Lyonne tripping through time. Smithsonian Channel celebrates the first birthday of Miracle Panda Xiao Qi Ji, born at D.C.’s National Zoo during the pandemic. The Conversations with a Killer docuseries returns with audio recordings of notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy.


Queen Freddie Mercury
Keystone/Getty Images

Freddie Mercury: The Final Act

Documentary Premiere

They came to praise the powerful lead vocalist of Queen in song, with a message of raising AIDS awareness and combating prejudice and fear. A new documentary revisits the famed Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, staged 30 years today, with new interviews from bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor and rehearsal and concert footage including such superstars as Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, and Annie Lennox. Other performers including The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, and Lisa Stansfield recall the last years of Mercury’s life and share stories about this memorable event.

Russian Doll Season 2 Natahsa Lyonne and Annie Murphy
Courtesy of Netflix

Russian Doll

Season Premiere

The question for Season 2 of the trippy fantasy isn’t what is Nadia (star-creator-director Natasha Lyonne) now up to? It’s when? Four years have passed since she was trapped in a fatalistic time loop in the rear-view window, and now she and similarly unmoored pal Alan (Charlie Barnett) board a literal crazy train that becomes a portal through time. Seeing herself as more of a “time prisoner” than traveler, Nadia discovers the way out of this latest mind-bending dilemma may have something to do with unfinished family business involving stolen South African Krugerrands, a search that leads her to the 1980s-era East Village. (Look for Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy in a surprising role.)

The Miracle Panda
Smithsonian Channel

The Miracle Panda


The August 2020 birth of giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji at D.C.’s Smithsonian National Zoo was a bright light during a dark time. A highlight of this week’s many Earth Week specials, this documentary goes behind the scenes as the zoo prepares to celebrate the panda’s first birthday, shedding light on the 50-year collaboration between experts in the U.S. and China to help save the still vulnerable species from extinction. Bonus: The adorability factor.

Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes

Conversations With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes

Season Premiere

From Joe Berlinger, who gave us access to The Ted Bundy Tapes, a new installment of Conversations is a grim three-part study of the notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a part-time clown who was deadly serious about his secret mission to murder young men and boys, at least 33 in all between 1972 and 1976. Combing through 60 hours of unearthed audio between Gacy and his defense team, the docuseries explores how Gacy got away with his crimes for so long, including interviews with key participants in the investigation and testimony from one of his survivors.

Inside Wednesday TV:

  • Survivor (8/7c, CBS): With the merge, the remaining castaways are all now one tribe, and their first order of business is negotiating with Jeff Probst to get four days’ worth of rice.
  • Changing Planet (8/7c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Conservationist Dr. M. Sanjayan launches a seven-year project in which he will monitor climate change in key spots across the globe, returning each year for seven years to check on progress or lack thereof. Locations include California’s West Coast, the Maldives, Cambodia, Kenya, Iceland, and Brazil.
  • Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain (8/7c, Showtime): Photographer/director Estevan Oriol profiles the L.A. rap group that for 30 years has cultivated a unique sound influenced by their Latin roots.
  • The Wonder Years (8:30/7:30c, ABC): The good news: Bill (Dulé Hill) makes tenure at the university. The bad news: His focus on academia leads his band to drop him. So is now the time to go solo?
  • Chicago Fire (9/8c, NBC): The centerpiece of an all-new night of Chicago procedurals, Fire goes to work on a blaze caused by a dropped jet engine, but in the aftermath, one of the crew is accused of theft.
  • Snowfall (10/9c, FX): In the Season 5 finale, Franklin (Damson Idris) hits rock bottom while the family fractures and Teddy (Carter Hudson) looks to secure his future.
  • So Dumb It’s Criminal (streaming on Peacock): Snoop Dogg hosts eight episodes of an unscripted comedy series in which he enlists comics including Deon Cole, Jay Pharoah, Jim Jefferies, Loni Love, and Ron Funches to quip along with videos of the world’s most hapless crooks.
  • The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans (streaming on Paramount+): Once a reality star, always a reality star. Or so it seems as cast members of the 2000 “Big Easy” season reunite in the Crescent City.