Worth Watching: 'Irishman' Comes to Netflix, 'Survivor' Reckoning, 'NewsHour' Tackles Plastics
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
The Irishman (streaming on Netflix): Because it's never too early to start marking your Oscar ballots, plan to find time over the long Thanksgiving weekend for Martin Scorsese's epic mob drama (clocking in at 209 minutes), arriving on Netflix after a run in selected theaters. (If the film is still playing on a screen in your vicinity, consider leaving the house for this one.) The Irishman reunites the fabled director with Robert DeNiro in a decades-spanning role as Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a WWII vet and truck driver who falls in with mobsters — including another Scorsese vet, Joe Pesci — and becomes an associate of notorious Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino, who somehow never worked with Scorsese before).
Survivor (8/7c, CBS): Having sent two of the most aggressive players (Missy and Aaron) to the jury last week in a double elimination of back-to-back blindsides, the tribe is now balanced in favor of females, 6 to 3, and they're still acting like there's nothing wrong with keeping Wandering Hands Dan on board. (The other two men, Dean and Tommy, may be seen as physical threats — but only in competitions.) How the next Tribal Council goes down could depend on who heads next to the Island of the Idols, where Boston Rob and Sandra will test a castaway on how well they know their fellow players, with a game-changing opportunity at stake.
On a Thanksgiving Eve when most networks are in repeats or airing specials, CBS follows Survivor with all-new episodes of SEAL Team (9/8c), in which Ray (Neil Brown Jr.) takes over as team leader when Jason (David Boreanaz) is sidelined with an injury; and S.W.A.T. (10/9c), where the team joins with the L.A. Organized Crime division to rescue an officer who's kidnapped during an undercover assignment.
The Plastic Problem (10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): From PBS NewsHour, arguably the most distinguished nightly news operation anywhere on TV, comes a timely prime-time special that follows up on reporting from a Peabody-winning five-part NewsHour series in 2018 that looks at the environmental damage from plastic pollution while exploring potential alternatives. The hour includes reports from Malaysia, Costa Rica and the remote rocky beaches of Easter Island.
Inside Wednesday TV: Our dependence on plastics also figures into the cautionary tales of Netflix's Broken, an investigative docu-series exposing the flaws in our consumer culture, which should get everyone's Black Friday off to a cheery start. Subjects include the dangers of counterfeit cosmetics, the controversy over e-cigarettes and vaping, shoddy furniture and the aforementioned plastics industry… Get your Peanuts on with ABC's rebroadcast of 1973's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (8/7c), paired with the historical bonus cartoon This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyages… Hallmark pairs two fan favorites, Cameron Mathison (Home and Family) and Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell, in The Christmas Club (8/7c), about a dance teacher and business consultant who learn to pay it forward when they help a woman replace her lost Christmas Club savings. Will romance beckon? What do you think?… A holiday edition of NBC's slapstick Ellen's Game of Games (8/7c) finds one poor turkey of a contestant swimming in an oversize entrée of Grandma's Mystery Casserole.