Worth Watching: Parenting Crisis Disrupts 'Party,' Fox & ABC Give the Royal Treatment, 'Next in Fashion'
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Party of Five (9/8c, Freeform): Does eldest Acosta sibling Emilio (Brandon Larracuente) have what it takes to be a responsible parent? Do any of his growing-up-too-soon brothers and sisters? In a strong episode of the reimagined family drama, it takes all of their will not to call out to their deported Mami and Papi in Mexico when baby Rafa is suddenly hospitalized with a mystery ailment. Adding to their anxiety is a drop-in visit by a case worker from the Department of Social Services to gauge the situation and determine who if anyone is at fault. It doesn’t help that Beto (Niko Guardado) is distracted by making time behind closed—even locked—doors with poor little rich girl Ella (Audrey Gerthoffer).
Royal Fixation: Figuring we can’t get enough of the tabloid-friendly situation of Meghan and Harry vs. The Crown, two networks weigh in—or should we say pile on?—with “news” specials. Fox’s entry, Harry & Meghan: The Royals in Crisis (8/7c), is described as a “TMZ investigation,” with an eclectic Saturday Night Live-worthy collection of commentators including Mark Cuban, Dr. Phil, Ryan Seacrest, Piers Morgan and Lisa Vanderpump. Two hours later, ABC offers the somewhat less hysterically titled Royal Divide: Harry, Meghan, and The Crown (10/9c), with correspondent Deborah Roberts reporting on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (no longer Royal Highness) and what lies ahead for the couple. Interviews include Harry’s friend and charity partner Nacho Figueras and Julie Montagu, aka Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, another American who married into nobility by wedding the heir apparent of the Earl of Sandwich. (That alone sounds like the fixings of a miniseries.)
Next in Fashion (streaming on Netflix): If Project Runway isn’t enough for you, the streaming giant offers its own fashion competition series, with Queer Eye’s Tan France hosting alongside designer/model Alexa Chung. With a long list of guest judges including Tommy Hilfiger, the show introduces 18 contestants who’ve worked for major brands and are looking to break out through challenges based on trends and design styles. The winner gets $250,000 and a chance to debut a collection with retailer Net-a-Porter.
Inside Wednesday TV: Samira Wiley (Orange Is the New Black) narrates Netflix’s hypnotic nature series Night on Earth, which uses new technologies to observe animals’ behaviors after lights out. … Titanic fever sweeps through ABC’s Schooled (8:30/7:30c), which also opens Lainey’s (AJ Michalka) eyes about CB’s (Brett Dier) feelings. … In the series finale of Investigation Discovery’s Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda (9/8c), the retired Colorado detective looks back at the case that caused him to face his own personal demons and consider a new career path. … A manhunt sends much of the S.W.A.T. (10/9c, CBS) team to Tokyo, where scenes were filmed on location, while third-generation S.W.A.T. officer Dominique Luca (Kenny Johnson), last seen in November, returns to duty, facing new personal challenges. … On Comedy Central’s Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens (10:30/9:30s), a road/guilt trip sends Nora to Atlantic City with Grandma (Lori Tan Chinn), where Nora becomes the life of the blackjack table—at least for a while—and Granny nearly starts a race war over a phone-charging outlet.