Worth Watching: ‘BH90210’ and Other Finales, Remembering 9/11, ‘NFL: The Grind’
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
BH90210 (9/8c, Fox): It’s hard to get more meta than BH2010, a show about a show attempting a reboot that is itself an amusingly self-aware attempt at a reunion/reboot. In the season finale (already?), the cast awaits word about whether Fox will pick the show up after the problem-plagued production of the fictional reboot pilot. And given how the ratings have dropped in the weeks following the actual show’s promising premiere, it’s fair to assume the real actors playing heightened versions of themselves are also in anxious limbo wondering if they’ll get a second summer to devote to this bizarre lark. Among the plotlines as the soap-within-a-soap wraps, Gabrielle (Carteris) introduces her (fake actor) husband to current love interest Christine (Elias), while her co-stars all also have (scripted) relationship issues. The only way this could get weirder is if they all wake up next summer on Love Island.
In a sign that the official fall season is soon to begin, many more summer series are signing off, including The CW’s buddy-cop import Bulletproof (8/7c), in which the mysterious truth about Pike’s (Ashley Walters) father, Director-General Ronald Pike Sr. (Clarke Peters), comes to light amid general mayhem; Hulu’s misbegotten twist on Four Weddings and a Funeral, which jumps forward a year after Maya (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Ainsley (Rebecca Rittenhouse) severed their friendship, when another wedding could force a happy ending (what are the odds?); OWN’s Queen Sugar (9/8c), which brings the Bordelon family back together after numerous trials and tribulations; NBC’s terrific musical competition Songland (9/8c), which brings Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic into the studio to hear pitches from songwriters, one of whose songs will be adapted and recorded by the group; IFC’s rollicking parody Sherman’s Showcase (10/9c), in which Sherman (Bashir Salahuddin) finds himself in an alarming alternate universe where Ray J is hosting the Showcase; and FX’s drug drama Snowfall (10/9c), which is promising a new path for Franklin (Damson Idris) as South Central changes forever.
9/11: Control the Skies (11/10c, National Geographic Channel): In one of the more unusual and fascinating tales of heroism as we mark the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this uplifting documentary visits the remote outpost of Gander, Newfoundland, where a sleepy but expansive airport — once a major refueling stop in the early days of transcontinental air travel — was suddenly a hive of frantic activity when U.S. and Canadian air space was closed in the wake of the terrorists’ use of planes as weapons. In under four hours, a crew of overwhelmed air traffic controllers (many interviewed for the special) are able to land 224 planes in Gander and six other local airfields, with 33,000 displaced passengers, without incident. The Gander story is the basis for a successful Broadway musical, Come From Away, and one of the major characters of that show is also interviewed: Beverley Bass, a pioneering female pilot who was the first female captain for American Airlines, flying AA Flight 49 that fateful day, and describing how they had to dump fuel to reduce weight before they could join the wide-bodied jets finding temporary shelter in Gander.
Among other new programming looking back at the events of 9/11 in 2001: History’s 9/11: Inside Air Force One (9/8c), a two-hour documentary tracking the chaos of the tragic day within Air Force One and other command centers of the administration as President George W. Bush (who is interviewed) finds his way back to Washington, D.C. to respond to the horrors. And HBO’s In the Shadow of the Towers: Stuyvesant High on 9/11 (9/8c) takes a more personal “you are there” approach, interviewing alumni of the prestigious public high school in NYC, located mere blocks from World Trade Center, as they recall the trauma in their midst.
Inside Thursday TV: As the 100th season of the NFL gets underway, the premium Epix channel launches The Grind (9/8c), hosted by Rich Eisen, which enlists a team of pro-football greats as commentators, including Hall of Famers Brett Favre, Charles Woodosn and Terrell Owens, to go deep inside the stories behind the games… PBS bides adieu to its Animal Babies (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) as they experience growing pains at the end of their first year, including Fela the Arctic fox fending for himself in Iceland after his mother rejects him, while in Uganda, mountain gorilla Nyakabara is now free to roam the forest, which may not be as easy as it looks… On OWN’s moving David Makes Man (10/9c), newly unemployed Gloria (Alana Arenas) gets more involved in her sons’ lives, urging David (Akili McDowell) to take his crush, Tare (Teshi Thomas), to the school dance, an attempt to shield him from her own difficulties when it comes to just paying the rent.