Worth Watching: The Mueller Hearings, 'Last Cowboy,' 'Planets' on PBS
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
The Mueller Hearings (8:30 am/7:30c, many channels): Chances are you've heard of, but perhaps not read, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and investigation into whether the president obstructed justice. In a long-awaited spectacle of political theater, Mueller will take questions in hearings before the House Judiciary Committee for three hours and (at noon/11c) the House Intelligence Committee for approximately two hours. Most major networks and all news channels will provide complete coverage from Washington, D.C.
The Last Cowboy (11/10c, Paramount Network): I suspect many fans of Paramount's dark contemporary Western Yellowstone are like me and enjoy the scenes with the rugged cowboys even more than the blistering domestic drama. Doubling down on this aspect, series creator Taylor Sheridan presents a companion piece in an unscripted series following eight men and women who compete in the arena of professional reining, which honors the cowboy tradition as they guide horses through a series of exacting circles, spins and stops. The series builds to what is being billed as the largest competition in the sport's history — "The Run for a Million," scheduled for August in Las Vegas — which will be showcased in the season finale.
The Planets (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): PBS's signature science program Nova goes beyond our current fascination with the moon to take viewers through the vast solar system. The ambitious five-part series studies each of the planets in fascinating detail, featuring CGI imagery and footage captured by orbiters and rovers. Narrated by Zachary Quinto (Spock in the new Star Trek movie franchise), the first hour explores the "Inner Worlds" of the planets closest to the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars — with the latter the focus of the second hour, charting Mars' evolution from a blue water-world to a frozen desert planet.
Earlier in the evening, PBS launches the three-part Ancient Skies (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org), which takes a more historical view of mankind's obsession with the cosmos. The opening hour covers Mesopotamian creation myths, iconic monuments including Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza, and early astronomical instruments that may date back to the Bronze Age.
Inside Wednesday TV: Freeform's grown-ish (8/7c) takes a serious turn when Aaron (Trevor Jackson) discovers one of his residents may have contemplated suicide, inspiring a campaign to raise campus awareness of black mental health… Recently renewed for an 11th season, FXX's Archer: 1999 (10/9c) continues its space mission with Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) convinced an otherworldly object is making the crew act weird. How could he even tell?… Detroiters may be history, but Comedy Central now turns its focus to hapless dreamers in Chicago in South Side (10:30/9:30c), written by and starring Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle. It's the story of community-college grads who hope to make it big — if they can ever escape the daily grind of their jobs at Rent-T-Own.