'Brockmire' Finale, 'Yellowstone' Premiere, A 'Handmaid's' Waiting Game
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Brockmire (10/9c, IFC): Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria) may have met his match in self-destructive behavior as he reconnects with the seriously wacked-out Elle, played to the chaotic hilt by Emmy winner Carrie Preston (The Good Wife, currently on Claws). Their encounter in the harrowing second-season finale of the super-dark comedy leads to yet another reckoning for the addiction-prone sportscaster. Where this season ends up you’ll never see coming — and the best news is that IFC has renewed this spectacularly extreme character study for two more seasons.
Yellowstone (9/8c, Paramount Network): The TV Western is still raring for a comeback, and Kevin Costner’s commanding performance as a Montana ranching mogul is another reason to watch this grim contemporary fable about the (what else) dysfunctional Dutton family, led by patriarch John. In his first series lead role, Costner channels Gary Cooper at his most stoic as this solemn businessman, at war with shady local developers who want to take his water and with local Native Americans who contrive to get their land back. John’s offspring are a conflicted lot, played by Dave Annabel, Kelly Reilly (a brazen breakout), Wes Bentley and Luke Grimes as military hero Kayce, torn between two worlds as he raises John’s sole grandson on the reservation with his Native American wife. Yellowstone is engrossing even when the downbeat trail feels awfully familiar.
The Handmaid’s Tale (streaming on Hulu): Tension mounts in the Waterford home as Offred/June’s (Elisabeth Moss) pregnancy nears its completion. Serena Joy (the excellent Yvonne Strahovski), shaken by recent reminders of her former independence and what could have been if not for Gilead, has already declared she wants the birth mother out of the house as soon as possible. The Commander (Joseph Fiennes), fed up with the willful women under his roof, has his own oppressive notions of how to regain control, which includes making a generous (within reason) gesture toward Offred that leads to one of the most emotionally wrenching sequences yet this season.
June Brides on TCM: Here come the cinematic brides in Turner Classic Movies’ two-week salute (concluding next Wednesday) to a month known for memorable nuptials. (Somehow Prince Harry and his betrothed, Meghan, missed the memo and jumped the gun a month early.) The prime-time lineup begins with 1940’s sophisticated The Philadelphia Story, featuring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart (Oscar winner) in their prime. Bette Davis appears back to back in the 1948 comedy June Brides (10/9c) opposite Robert Montgomery, and gets more serious as a working-class mother planning A Catered Affair (midnight/11c) in Gore Vidal’s adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s teleplay. Stay up really late for a showing of Mike Nichols’ 1967 The Graduate (3:45/2:45c), with its memorable wedding-escape climax.
Inside Wednesday TV: The fifth and final season of Freeform sitcom Young & Hungry (8/7c) kicks off with Gabi (Emily Osment) and Josh (Jonathan Sadowski) now officially a couple, which precipitates a period of adjustment for their friends and co-workers… As The CW’s The Originals (9/8c) continues its final season, an uprising of purist vampires leads to a showdown. I know I haven’t watched this show in quite some time, but what are purist vampires?… In yet another countdown to the end, the final season of CBS’s Code Black (10/9c) finds Rox (Moon Bloodgood) joining Willis (Rob Lowe) and his brother Martin (David Clennon) to an army buddy’s funeral, where Willis decides to investigate what happened to his brother’s unit.