Worth Watching: Hot-Dogging It on ESPN's '30 for 30,' 'Alternatino,' Sci-Fi Classics on TCM
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
The Good, the Bad, the Hungry (8/7c, ESPN): Even if you have trouble swallowing the notion of competitive eating as an actual sport, Nicole Lucas Haimes's entertaining 30 for 30 documentary makes a compellingly cringe-inducing argument, serving as a curtain-raiser for the annual Fourth of July spectacle of the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at New York's Coney Island. As the special traces the growth of a local sideshow into an international event organized by Major League Eating, the focus falls on a classic rivalry between six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi, a slight youth from Japan, and his American nemesis Joey Chestnut. (This year's Nathan's contest will air live on July 4 on ESPN2.)
Alternatino (10:30/9:30c, Comedy Central): Arturo Castro's hilarious sketch comedy mixes the personal and the political, this week including an opening spoof on immigration and a bit where a climate change trade agreement dissolves among a not-so-United Latin Nations. Castro shows his comic range in a show-stopper as a drunk and bitter bridesmaid disrupting a friend’s wedding, and in a running gag as himself, is visited by two overbearing aunts committed to helping him get over his latest heartbreak. The half-hour zips by.
Out of This World: Celebrating Sci-Fi (Turner Classic Movies, 8/7c): From cinema's earliest days, filmmakers and moviegoers have been enraptured by science fiction with flights of outer-space fancy and tales of futuristic dystopia. On Tuesdays through July, TCM recaptures the genre's high points, starting with a lineup dedicated to "Early Sci-Fi," including Georges Melies' revolutionary 1902 silent film A Trip to the Moon, with in-camera special effects that may appear primitive now but were an influence on pioneering directors. Followed by Fritz Lang's silent 1926 epic Metropolis (8:30/7:30c), whose impressionistic production design illuminates a melodrama of social revolt against a mechanized future society.
Inside Tuesday TV: In a Deadliest Catch special, Mystery of the Destination (9/8c, Discovery), the show's captains look for answers in the 2017 sinking of the fishing vessel Destination, which rocked the Bering Sea crab fleet. The goal: to explain, and avoid, their friends' tragic fate… In the season premiere of Cooking Channel's Man v. Food (10/9c), Casey Webb investigates just how many 10-pound grilled cheese one man can eat without exploding. Sounds like the perfect companion piece to The Good, the Bad, the Hungry… Mark Valley (Fringe) guests on CBS's Blood & Treasure (10/9c) as Danny's (Matt Barr) jailbird dad, Patrick. The FBI needs his intel on paintings he stole 20 years ago before they'll help Danny and Lexi (Sofia Pernas) in their search for Cleopatra.