Worth Watching: Dex’s Ex on ‘Stumptown,’ TCM Salutes Cinematographers, a Tragic Finale for ‘Dog’
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Stumptown (10/9c, ABC): One of the fall’s most enjoyable series, recently picked up for a full season, reveals new layers to its newly minted private-eye hero, Dex Parios (the terrific Cobie Smulders), when an ex rolls into town: Fiona (Ionna Gika), a famous musician who needs Dex’s help to protect her from a stalker. Will there still be romantic sparks between the bisexual PI and her new client? Kudos to this adaptation of the cult graphic novel for not soft-pedaling on its main character’s bisexual nature. Dex could use a little love, since she’s still holding a grudge against Grey (Jake Johnson) for putting her brother Ansel (Cole Sibus) in danger.
Image Makers: The Adventures of America’s Pioneer Cinematographers (8/7c, TCM): All month on Wednesdays, Turner Classic Movies salutes the American Society of Cinematographers on its 100th anniversary by celebrating the art of the director of photography, whose job it is to realize the director’s vision by lighting and photographing films and helping determine camera angles and movement. Daniel Raim’s 90-minute documentary special Image Makers follows some of the industry’s very first cinematographers as these innovators created a visual blueprint for future masters to follow. Included in the evening’s lineup is a screening of John Ford’s iconic 1940 Depression fable The Grapes of Wrath (9:45/8:45c), photographed by Oscar winner Gregg Toland (Wuthering Heights), whose work on Citizen Kane is legendary; and 1927’s silent classic Sunrise (1:45 am/12:45c), which won the first Oscar for cinematography for Charles Rosher (Mary Pickford’s favorite cinematographer) and Karl Struss.
Dog’s Most Wanted (9/8c, WGN America): In the emotional season finale, titled “Farewell to a Queen,” Duane “Dog” Chapman and his family are at his wife Beth’s side as she loses her fight against cancer. The episode features her moving memorial service, but also another bounty hunt, because life goes on—and so must Dog’s, and Beth’s, life’s work.
The Apollo (9/8c, HBO): It’s showtime for The Apollo in a fond documentary history of the fabled Harlem theater, as filmmaker Roger Ross Williams looks back at 85 years of musical history in a space that championed African-American performance, from Billie Holliday’s wrenching “Strange Fruit” to James Brown’s euphoric ’60s anthem, “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Among the celebrities weighing in on the theater’s culturally resonant history: Angela Bassett, Common, Jamie Foxx, Savion Glover, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Pharrell Williams and Paul McCartney. The film also makes an argument for The Apollo’s continued relevance, showing preparations for a multimedia stage version of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me.
Inside Wednesday TV: It’s the day Jeopardy! fans have been waiting for, as the Tournament of Champions (syndicated, check local listings) brings back sports gambler James Holzhauer for the first time since his 32-day winning streak. He’ll face five-time champ Alan Dunn and physician Lindsey Shultz. … Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey (9/8c) is back for a 10th season, but don’t dare ask any of them about their age. … Comedy Central’s South Park (10/9c) is in “lock him up!” mode, as the community is finally fed up with Randy’s antics with Telgedy Farms, and he’s thrown in jail. … Alex Rodriguez, who knows something about comebacks, hosts CNBC’s Back in the Game (10/9c), which revisits people in the public eye who are looking for a way back to financial stability, with A-Rod’s help. First subject: former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, who’s seeking to rebuild his brand.