Worth Watching: ‘Volcano Live,’ Premieres of ‘Dave’ on FXX and ‘Twenties’ on BET, ‘Party’ Finale
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda (8/7c, ABC): It’ll be a hot time in Nicaragua as the daredevil high-wire artist Nik Wallenda (seventh generation of the legendary Great Wallendas) attempts to outdo his ratings-grabbing Times Square stunt from last June. His latest show-stopper: a spectacular 1,800-foot-long walk — the longest yet attempted by Nik — over the active Masaya Volcano, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire with its very own lava lake. Besides his safety rigs, Wallenda will wear a gas mask to ward off the toxic fumes. Even so, expect nail-biting visuals.
Dave (10/9c, FXX): Dave Burd is not your ordinary rapper — wherein lies the humor in a quasi-autobiographical comedy series about the unlikely rise of his viral alter ego Lil Dicky (lyrics mostly unprintable). A congenitally nervous and awkward white Jew, who’s unnaturally obsessed with his back acne and three-in-one male hygiene products, Dave is so uncool and stressed that he’s actually cool in the eyes of the established rappers who could boost his street cred. Dave opens with back-to-back episodes, including his first public performing gig in the most uninviting of venues.
Twenties (10/9c, BET): Swelling Hollywood-music fanfares mash up against the raw realities of starting from rock bottom in a female buddy comedy written by Lena Waithe (Master of None, The Chi) when she was in her early 20s. It took success on small and big screen (Queen & Slim) for Waithe to finally get this personal project off the ground more than a decade later (with the show bouncing from BET to TBS and back to BET) — and the results are promising in the two-episode premiere. Newcomer Jonica “JoJo” T. Gibbs stars as Hattie, a queer twenty-something with dreams of becoming a TV comedy writer: “We are living in the new black renaissance, OK? I’m black and I’m gay — Hollywood should be knocking down my door,” she tells her BFFs, Marie (Christina Elmore) and Nia (Gabrielle Graham). Instead, it’s mostly hard knocks for Hattie, as she’s evicted from her L.A. digs and finds an entry-level job as a writers’ P.A. on an African-American sitcom.
Party of Five (9/8c, Freeform): TV’s best reboot in quite some time reimagines the ’90s family drama as the saga of the Acosta siblings, left to fend for themselves when their parents are deported to Mexico. The first season ends with the family on both sides of the border, as Ella (Audrey Gerthoffer) surprises boyfriend Beto (Niko Guardado) in Mexico, while back in the States, Emilio (Brandon Larracuente) turns to nanny/musical soulmate Natalia (Sol Rodriguez) for support when the family’s social worker returns.
Inside Wednesday TV: Joining the Disney+ library of hit Marvel movies: 2018’s Oscar-winning Black Panther… Season 1 winner T-Pain (“Monster”) sits in with the judging panel on Fox’s The Masked Singer (8/7c)… More March Madness, culinary-style, when Guy Fieri hosts Food Network’s Tournament of Champions (10/9c), a five-part tournament pitting East Coast celebrity chefs (including Rocco DiSpirito and Amanda Freitag) against West Coast chefs (including Richard Blais, Michael Voltaggio and Brooke Williamson) in cook-offs, where a machine called “the Randomizer” decides the protein, produce, equipment, cooking style and time limit… ABC’s underrated Stumptown (10/9c) gets serious when a new case triggers PTSD memories in Dex (Cobie Smulders) of her tour of duty in Afghanistan, forcing her to face the facts about Benny’s death. On a lighter note, her brother Ansel (Cole Sibus) gets advice from Grey (Jake Johnson) and Tookie (Adrian Martinez) on how to ask a girl on a date.