A Barney Backlash, ‘Home Economics’ Flashback, Phantom of the ‘Masked Singer,’ an ‘Easy-Bake’ Cooking Contest

A new documentary asks how a lovable dinosaur like kid-TV phenom Barney could spark such intense hatred among grown-ups. ABC’s Home Economics looks back to the wedding of Tom and Marina in the early 2000s. Musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who knows something about masked characters, joins the Masked Singer panel as new contestants sing from his catalog. A Netflix cooking competition spotlights easy-to-make taste treats.


I Love You, You Hate Me

Documentary Premiere

For millions of kids in the 1990s, Barney the purple dinosaur (of PBS’ Barney & Friends) was infinitely huggable. Many adults, however, fantasized bashing the friendly beast in a vicious backlash that is the basis for this two-episode (available for binge-watching) documentary. Love/Hate explores how something so benign could generate venom of such epic, Jurassic-size dimension. Sadly, the culture of hate proliferates even without Barney around.

Karla Souza and Topher Grace dance at their wedding
ABC/Temma Hankin

Home Economics

Are we already nostalgic for the early 2000s? Guess so, because the adult family comedy is flashing back to the wedding day of Tom (Topher Grace) and Marina (Karla Souza) and what is described as a “catastrophic reception.” Among the attendees: closeted sister Sarah (Caitlin McGee), whose date is played by recent Saturday Night Live alum Alex Moffat, and a tragically trendy Connor (Jimmy Tatro).

Abbott Elementary Tyler James Williams
ABC/Pamela Littky

Abbott Elementary

Among the scariest memories of many grade-school students: the threat of being sent to the principal’s office for bad behavior. Not so at Abbott, where Gregory (Tyler James Williams) learns to his chagrin that students sent for “disciplinary time” with Ava (the hilarious Janelle James) are actually having a great time. Outside of work, Janine (Quinta Brunson) gets cooking lessons from Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter), though her real agenda is getting the tough cookie to heal her rift with her equally abrasive sister Kristin Marie (Lauren Weedman).

Andrew Lloyd Webber
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

The Masked Singer

His most successful musical has only a few months left on Broadway, and The Phantom of the Opera composer Andrew Lloyd Webber finds himself again amongst masked creatures as he joins the so-called judging panel on TV’s goofiest singing competition. Three new contestants—Maize, Mermaid and Robo Girl—enter the mix, performing songs from the Lloyd Webber catalogue, including Phantom and Jesus Christ Superstar. (And, we figure, Cats.)

Easy-Bake Battle: The Home Cooking Competition

Easy-Bake Battle: The Home Cooking Competition

Series Premiere

Inspired by the iconic Easy-Bake Oven, but thankfully not limited to the inedible edibles that toy produced, a new cooking competition celebrates the ingenuity of home cooks who have found crafty shortcuts to prepare delicious meals. Antoni Porowski is the giddy host over eight episodes, as contestants face off making good food the easy way for big money.

The Handmaid's Tale Elisabeth Moss

The Handmaid’s Tale

In a game-changing episode, June (Elisabeth Moss) and husband Luke (O-T Fagbenle) are captured in the No Man’s Land between Canada and Gilead (the former USA), and the former Handmaid Offred finds herself schooling her supportive mate in the rules of survival. (She’s been caged before, in so many ways.) When Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) learns that her nemesis is once again in custody, the stage is set for another memorable confrontation.

Welcome to Wrexham Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney

Welcome to Wrexham

Season Finale

The diverting docuseries’ three-episode season finale brings new team owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny closer to the brink, as they watch their Wrexham A.F.C. Red Dragons soccer club from Wales play a major match at London’s Wembley Stadium, with Hollywood stars in attendance. A second episode reveals how Ryan and Rob bonded over the sport, and the finale answers the critical question of whether the embattled team will be promoted out of the National League after 14 years.

Inside Wednesday TV:

  • The Conners (8/7c, ABC): A death in the extended family brings a jaded teenage nephew into their world. But who’ll take custody?
  • The Challenge: Ride or Dies (8/7c, MTV): A new iteration of the long-running competition series pairs fan-favorite veterans with friends, family and significant others to take on grueling weekly challenges for a $1 million prize. Followed by the series premiere of relationship game show Love at First Lie (9:30/8:30c), hosted by Tori Spelling, where couples guess who among them are really in love and who’s faking it.
  • Chicago Fire (9/8c, NBC): Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) catches a glimpse into the chaotic personal life of firefighter Sam Carver (Jake Lockett), the 51’s newest member, who she never much liked when they were academy classmates.
  • Computers v. Crime (9/8c, PBS): Nova explores the new policing trend of leaning on artificial intelligence to decide matters including bail, parole, sentencing and who even gets policed. The investigation calls out hidden biases, privacy risks and design flaws.
  • Big Shot (streaming on Disney+): The sports dramedy is back for a second season, with coach Marvyn Korn (John Stamos) and the Westbrook Sirens girls’ basketball team facing new challenges—not the least of which is Westbrook going coed, which threatens to expose the inequalities between male and female sports programs.
  • Wild Croc Territory (streaming on Netflix): Outback Wrangler Matt Wright headlines a thrilling nature series in which the Australian conservationist relocates crocodiles in the wild, taking them out of harm’s way, protecting them and any who might cross their paths.