Worth Watching: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Returns, Three New ‘Black Mirror’ Episodes, ‘grown-ish,’ CMT Music Awards
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
The Handmaid’s Tale (streaming on Hulu): Feeling more relevant than ever in its third season, the dystopian drama reveals a more active resistance movement against the oppressive Gilead regime when June (Elisabeth Moss) returns from sending her newborn baby north to Canada with Emily (Alexis Bledel). The fallout is most dramatically immediate in the home of the Waterfords, as Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) wrestles with her decision, while June adjusts to life in the household of mercurial and mysterious Commander Lawrence (a droll Bradley Whitford). Is he friend or foe? Either way, June is in for the long fight, remembering in voice over in the third episode, “There was a time when women were able to choose.” Any resemblance to current political battles is hardly accidental.
Black Mirror (streaming on Netflix): A fifth season of Charlie Brooker’s tech-driven anthology arrives with three new cautionary tales, several more hopeful in tone than the norm. Stars include Anthony Mackie, who discovers unexpected passions through his video-game avatar; Andrew Scott (Fleabag‘s “hot priest”) in a hostage-taking parable; and Miley Cyrus as a pop star whose new marketing tool, a chatty AI robot doll, takes on a life of its own. (See the full review.)
grown-ish (8/7c, Freeform): It may be summer, but school is back in session for Zoey (Yara Shahidi) and her college pals as the black-ish spinoff continues its second season. Life lessons are on the syllabus when Zoey deals with the consequences of being caught cheating on an exam, causing her parents to cut her off financially. Adding to the angst: her discovery that Aaron (Trevor Jackson) and Ana (Francia Raisa) have been hooking up.
2019 CMT Music Awards (8/7c, CMT, MTV, TV Land, Paramount Network): Expanding its reach to multiple channels in a first-ever simulcast, CMT’s ceremony from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena is hosted by Grammy winning country group Little Big Town, and features what CMT promises is a record-breaking number of performances. Among the country stars on the roster: Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Kelsea Ballerini, Zac Brown Band and plenty of collaborations, including Brandi Carlile with Tanya Tucker, Brett Young and Boyz II Men, Thomas Rhett with Little Big Town and Trombone Shorty, and Sheryl Crow performing with Maren Morris.
Inside Wednesday TV: In a new twist for an old favorite on CBS’s The Amazing Race (8/7c), racers engage in the first-ever public U-turn, in which they have to vote in front of each other. So much for backstabbing… The Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are tied with a win each, raising the stakes for the third game of ABC’s NBA Finals (9/8c)… Investigation Discovery’s new true-crime series Lone Star Justice (10/9c) introduces larger-than-life Sheriff J.B. Smith of Smith County, Texas, and his team of detectives as they recount memorable cases. First up: the 2010 gunshot slaying of a 19-year-old college student who was discovered by her younger brother.