What's On: Ed Helms’ ‘Fake News,’ Return of ‘Librarians,’ Flurry of Fall Finales
A critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
The Fake News With Ted Nelms (10/9c, Comedy Central): Former Daily Show correspondent Ed Helms, who left that gig long ago for a successful comedy career in TV (The Office) and movies (The Hangover), returns to the land of mock journalism, breathlessly delivering fake headlines with absurd gusto: “News me right in the face!” The tone of the desperately silly and fitfully amusing hour is in-your-face for sure, including inane hurricane coverage from a “Severe Weather Lounge” and frequent updates from a national crisis of the president being stuck in a well—from which he tweets until (horrors) his cell-phone battery dies. There’s nothing funny, of course, about the cynical “fake news” crusade against actual news that the government doesn’t like, but this hour of moronic satire is weightless fun, and that’s the truth.
The Librarians (8/7c, TNT): The fantasy adventure series returns for a fourth season with back-to-back episodes of pure escapism. Noah Wyle appears in seven of the season’s 12 episodes, including the opener, in which Flynn and his fellow Librarians take on a secret sect who have discovered the four cornerstones of the original Library—the fabled one of Alexandria. In the second hour, the team tries its luck at a casino where the owner possesses an artifact that can affect people’s fortunes.
Fall Finales: With Christmas fast approaching, many weekly series are airing their last episodes before the holiday break, while several cable favorites are signing off for the season. Some highlights: ABC’s The Goldbergs (8/7c) finds Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) starting a competition for who can host the best Hanukkah party. … James Van Der Beek guests on ABC’s Modern Family (9/8c) as the ex-boyfriend of Cam’s sister Pam (Dana Powell), and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) sees his arrival as an opportunity to get her out of the house. … Fox’s Star (9/8c) declares a winner of the Midtown Showcase, but any jubilation may be short-lived when Carlotta’s (Queen Latifah) salon is, according to Fox, “under fire in more ways than one.” … In the second-season finale of SundanceTV’s moving drama The A Word (10/9c), an end-of-year show at Joe’s (Max Vento) old school brings his estranged family together, but will the reunion hold? … The third season of USA’s Mr. Robot (10/9c) ends with Elliot (Rami Malek) trying to save Darlene (Carly Chaikin), while Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) must decide whether to intervene.
Inside Wednesday TV: How embarrassing if Will & Grace, and its star Eric McCormack, hadn’t been nominated for Golden Globes this year, given that he and co-star Debra Messing are hosting NBC’s two-hour Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special (9/8c), in advance of the Jan. 7 big event. … The streaming highlight comes from Belgium, where Walter Presents has unearthed the creepy thriller 13 Commandments, in which a serial killer is using the Ten Commandments as inspiration, fancying himself a Moses whose dark acts are intended to wake society up to its moral corruption. … A new edition of TBS’s Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (10:30/9:30c) will likely have something to say about the results of Tuesday’s election in Alabama.