Worth Watching: A Season of Winners on ‘Survivor,’ ‘Modern Family’ Goes to Paris, ‘Nature’ Explores ‘Wild Florida’
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Survivor: Winners at War (8/7c, CBS): They outwitted, outplayed and outlasted, surviving to play another day. Which is why Survivor, the reality competition that started a prime-time revolution, has chosen to celebrate its 40th season by bringing together 20 champions from past seasons to play for a record $2 million prize. Among the returnees: inevitable “icons” “Boston” Rob Mariano (and wife Amber) and two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine, plus fan-favorite Ethan Zohn, the cunning Parvati Shallow and other former Sole Survivors. In the two-hour opener, the players fight for immunity in a classic Survivor challenge, and there’s a new twist involving fire tokens.
Modern Family (9/8c, ABC): With only a handful of episodes to go before finishing the run of one of TV’s most acclaimed and honored comedies, the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker extended family members head off on one last global road trip, to (oo-la-la) Paris. They accompany Jay (Ed O’Neill) as he accepts a lifetime achievement award for being a closet king, but for Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), there’s a personal mission as well: performing as Fizbo on the streets of Gay Paree, where clowns and mimes are reportedly welcome. And what’s behind Claire’s (Julie Bowen) secret rendezvous? Our lips are sealed.
Nature (8/7c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Public TV’s signature natural-history program goes deep into the Sunshine State’s diverse wildlife and threatened ecosystems in Wild Florida, showcasing the beaches, coral reefs, pine forests and, of course, the Everglades. But with an ever-growing human population and the impact of climate change, how wild can Florida remain? Fun fact: Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. (Not a terrible surprise: I lived in Central Florida for several years and well remember those nearly daily violent afternoon thunderstorms.)
More nature awaits on Smithsonian Channel’s six-part Big Cat Country (8/7c), traveling to Zambia’s Luangwa Valley to follow the conflicts between two neighboring prides of lions. With young males from each group seeking to stake their claim, which will get the last roar?
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (streaming on Netflix): If this title sounds familiar, it’s because this is a sequel to 2018’s YA rom-com To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, based Jenny Han’s novels. The new film, perfect as a Valentine’s Day curtain-raiser, catches up with Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and no-longer-fake boyfriend Peter (Noah Centineo) just in time for another recipient of her love letters to emerge, creating the possibility of a triangle: with former crush John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher).
Inside Wednesday TV: Mötley Crüe rock legend Tommy Lee plays a professor on ABC’s The Goldbergs (8/7c), counseling Barry (Troy Gentile) about whether it’s OK for him to date a teacher… On Freeform’s moving family drama Party of Five (9/8c), budding activist Lucia (Emily Tosta) steps into the spotlight to host a Dream for Justice fundraiser at the restaurant, and brother Emilio (Brandon Larracuente) sees it as a chance to reconnect with the band, The Natural Disasters, that he helped found but which has moved on without him… E’s catty The Soup (10/9c) is back, with comedian/actress Jade Catta-Preta assuming the host’s role of breaking down and mocking top moments from TV guilty pleasures, talk shows and — we presume — this week’s record-low-rated Oscars telecast.