Hearing Voices on 'Castle Rock,' ABC's 'CMA Fest,' Britain's 'Robot Wars'
A critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Castle Rock (streaming on Hulu): The slow-burning mystery continues to build as the spooky presence of "The Kid" (Bill Skarsgård) begins to affect more of the populace of the troubled Maine town in the wake of the Shawshank slaughter. Maybe this isn't the best time for retired Sheriff Pangborn (Scott Glenn) to be honored at the dedication of a bridge, with tormented soulmate Ruth (Sissy Spacek) in attendance. Just about everyone's suffering: Henry's (André Holland) ears are still ringing, and psychic Molly (Melanie Lynskey) is picking up unsettling signals, "like I was listening to the pain of everyone in this town all at once." As Castle Rock makes clear in each episode, there's a heck of a lot of supernatural pain to go around.
CMA Fest (8/7c, ABC): Nashville may be history, but country-music lovers can still revel in the 15th annual broadcast of the fan festival, filmed in June. Thomas Rhett returns as host for the third time, with Kelsea Ballerini back for a second. The line-up is a who's who of country stars, from A (Jason Aldean) to Y (Brett Young), with collaborations including a Dwight Yoakum-Dierks Bentley combo.
Robot Wars (10/9c, Science Channel): Because Battlebots isn't enough for some fans of motorized mayhem, this revived BBC series makes its U.S. premiere, with 40 of the top robot combat teams from around the world facing off in metal-crunching matches. Adding to the peril: "House Robots" patrolling the bulletproof arena, three times heavier than the competing robots, ready to wipe out any creation unlucky enough to wander into the Corner Patrol Zone. With names like Sir Killalot, Shunt, Dead Metal and Matilda, the house bots are primed for action.
The Sinner (10/9c, USA): Sounding somewhat like a Castle Rock character, protective mama bear Vera Walker (the terrific Carrie Coon) warns persistent detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), "My son is so far beyond anything you can understand, you have no idea." Skeletons abound as Harry pokes his nose into the mysterious compound of Mosswood Grove, where Vera rules with solemn authority and resists revealing anything that might explain why 13-year-old Julian (Elisha Henig) committed his murderous act.
Inside Wednesday TV: Esther (Esther Povitsky) plays nursemaid to Dean (Chris D'Elia) after an accident in the first of two episodes of Freeform's wacky buddy comedy Alone Together (8/7c). In the second, Dean gets his revenge by challenging brother Benji (Benji Aflalo) to sell a house where a murder occurred… Master craftsman Tim McClellan is DIY Network's Boomtown Builder (10/9c), in a new renovation series specializing in old homes from Arizona ghost towns that once were mining centers. Tim's first project: a former grocery market from the early 1900s, honoring its history by reusing some of the structure's original hardware.