Worth Watching: 'Awkwafina' on Comedy Central, A Day Off on 'Criminal Minds,' Guest-Star Bonanza on 'Modern Family'
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens (10:30/9:30c, Comedy Central): You couldn't ask for better timing than for Awkwafina's loosely biographical sitcom — think What's Wrong with THAT Girl? — to premiere in the wake of her historic Golden Globe win for The Farewell. Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) really is Nora — her actual name — and Nora from Queens casts her as a 27-year-old slacker still living at home with an indulgent dad (BD Wong) who calls her "princess" and a feisty grandma (Orange Is the New Black's Lori Tan Chinn) who calls her out on her hoarding and incessant pot smoking. As if she needed a reminder her life is going nowhere, even when she tries a stint as an easily distracted ride-share driver, Saturday Night Live's Bowen Yang recurs as her smug and upwardly mobile cousin. Little wonder she's a literal scream. (See the full review.)
Criminal Minds (9/8c, CBS): In the countdown to the end for the long-running crime drama, a true change of pace, depicting the BAU team on a rare Saturday off. Rossi (Joe Mantegna) and Prentiss (Paget Brewster) spend the day helping Simmons (Daniel Henney) put together a crib, while Dr. Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) meets a potential love interest (Rachel Leigh Cook) in the park. You know, normal stuff as a respite from their abnormal world. Or course it wouldn't be Criminal Minds without a brush with lawlessness, as Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) oversees a hacking competition that reveals a stalker.
Modern Family (9/8c, ABC): Also nearing its end this spring, the award-winning comedy opens its doors for a bonanza of guest stars, including the return of Benjamin Bratt as Javier, who's offering a big opportunity to his son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Also appearing: Josh Gad (of HBO's new Avenue 5) as the Dunphys' former neighbor, now a tech mogul; and Paul Dooley as a former resident of the house Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) lives in. The legendary Ed Asner is also on the guest list.
Inside Wednesday TV: So many crises in Chicago. First on NBC's Chicago Med (8/7c), the doctors handle the fallout from a school bus crash, while on Chicago Fire (9/8), the firehouse answers so many false alarms at a private school they find it hard to respond to actual emergencies… ABC's The Goldbergs (8/7c) honors its 1980s roots with guest appearances by Steve Guttenberg and Anthony Michael Hall… Adam Brody returns to ABC's Single Parents (9:30/8:30c) as Derek, after Angie (Leighton Meester) finally decides to let Graham (Tyler Wladis) meet his dad. But Derek may have to actually play the part when the whole household gets sick… Freeform's acclaimed new comedy Everything's Gonna Be Okay (see our review) gets a special one-time airing of its pilot episode on FX (10/9c). Yes, it's that distinctive.