Worth Watching: 'Survivor,' 'Jeopardy' Team Tournament, 'Documentary Now!'
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Survivor (8/7c, CBS): When you’re starting a 38th season of anything, it’s understandable to try to shake things up. Which is why the venerable Survivor is introducing an element called “Edge of Extinction,” referring to an island that will test the contestants’ will to survive and continue in the game. When voted out, players can decide whether to go home or go to the “Edge of Extinction,” in hopes of making it through that challenge and being allowed back into the tribe. Four returning players — Joe Anglim, Aubry Bracco, Kelley Wentworth and David Wright — are among the 18 contestants playing for $1 million in Fiji, and after the introductions, a giant puzzle decides the first immunity challenge.
This season 18 castaways — 14 newbies and four veterans — compete for the $1 million prize.
Jeopardy! (syndicated, check local listings): Another long-running favorite alters its format with a two-week tournament being billed as “Jeopardy! All-Star Games,” a team competition featuring 18 elite contestants in six teams. Team Captains include some of the most popular and successful players ever: Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, Buzzy Cohen, Colby Burnett, Julia Collins and Austin Rogers. The winning team shares a $1 million prize.
Alex Trebek, Pat Sajak, and Vanna White aren't going anywhere.
Documentary Now! (11/10c, IFC): Meticulous parodies of non-fiction filmmaking are the draw of this brilliant cult series, back for a third season. (See the full review.) The two-part opener, Batsh*t Valley, spoofs Netflix’s Wild Wild Country and stars Owen Wilson as the zonked spiritual leader of a bizarre commune that goes to war with a rural Oregon town. Michael Keaton appears in the second half as an FBI agent embroiled in the whimsical standoff.
This season of the IFC series takes on 'Wild, Wild Country,' artist Marina Abramovic, Stephen Sondheim's 'Company,' and more.
You’re the Worst (10/9c, FXX): On their rocky road to marriage, Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) try something new: making “couple friends,” becoming attached to a husband and wife (Timm Sharp, Janina Gavankar) who delight in gaming and mocking the system almost as much as our romantic anti-heroes do. As usual, a “be careful what you wish for” syndrome kicks in, as privacy goes out the window, and Gretchen’s revenge for Jimmy’s recent indiscretion takes a most unsavory turn.
The executive session also covered the future of Ryan Murphy programming, given his recent move to Netflix.
Inside Wednesday TV: A Chicago crossover begins on NBC’s Chicago Fire (9/8c), when a firehouse lockbox key goes missing and may be the cause for a series of robberies. The investigation continues on Chicago P.D. (10/9c)… Never the twain should meet on an oddly timed episode of ABC’s Modern Family (9/8c), when Jay’s (Ed O’Neill) home is the site of a Super Bowl party — and Claire’s (Julie Bowen) baby shower for Haley (Sarah Hyland)… Volcanoes are the focus of new episodes of PBS’s Nature, with “Living Volcanoes” (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org), and Nova’s “The Next Pompeii” (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org), about a lesser-known volcano in the shadow of Vesuvius that could put the city of Naples at risk.