Worth Watching: Vampires Back in the 'Shadows,' 'Mrs. America,' 'Chicago' Finales, 'Riverdale' Does 'Hedwig'
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
What We Do in the Shadows (10/9c, FX): Time to get familiar again with the funniest TV vampires since Grandpa Munster, in FX's adaptation of the cult movie, now in its second season of supernatural hilarity. The hapless Staten Island vamps are under siege by assassins from the Vampire Council, but only Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), the underappreciated "familiar" – i.e., servant/would-be vampire in training — is aware of the threat, keeping his dim-witted master Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and married ghouls Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Laszlo (Matt Berry) in the dark. Adding to poor Guillermo's woes: an arrogant new familiar (Haley Joel Osment) who does none of the work but seeks all of the credit. In the second episode (10:30/9:30c), Nadja conducts a séance to rid their rotting mansion of ghosts, but only makes matters worse by conjuring new and familiar spirits, all needing to tend to unfinished business before they can move on. Not since Dark Shadows have I enjoyed the company of the undead more.
Mrs. America (streaming on FX on Hulu): Women rule in a thrillingly acted limited series that recreates the 1970s battle over ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Launching with three episodes (the remaining six episodes drop weekly), Mrs. America stars Cate Blanchett, chillingly poised as politically connected conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly. Her opposition is a who's-who of marvelously embodied icons: Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan, Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug and Uzo Abuda as pioneering African-American presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm. They'll need a bigger Emmy ballot for this one. (See the full review.)
Also streaming: Netflix's nine-episode docu-series The Innocence Files, from an acclaimed team of producer/directors including Oscar winners Alex Gibney and Roger Ross Williams, which examines cases of wrongful conviction that expose flaws in America's criminal justice system… Netflix also drops 10 episodes of Outer Banks, a YA mystery/drama about local teens at a North Carolina beach resort who chase adventure during the summer season… In the penultimate episode of Hulu's addictive Little Fires Everywhere, the chill between Elena (Reese Witherspoon) and Mia (Kerry Washington) escalates during the custody trial, as Elena threatens to have her lawyer husband Bill (Joshua Jackson) expose Mia's past during testimony. As Elena puts it: "Is fighting for someone else's child worth losing your own?"
Chicago Med/Fire/P.D. (8/7c, NBC): Dick Wolf's "One Chicago" triumvirate of procedurals grinds to a sudden halt with tonight's originals, the last completed before the outbreak halted production. In Med, Crockett (Dominic Rains) is paid an unwelcome visit by New Orleans detectives snooping into his past. On Fire, Lt. Severide (Taylor Kinney) works overtime to help a fellow crew member who's injured on a call. And P.D. wraps with Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) going undercover in a gun-trafficking ring, only to discover someone he knows also working incognito.
Riverdale (8/7c, The CW): After tackling the musical versions of Carrie and Heathers in previous seasons, Kevin (Casey Cott) revives Riverdale High's annual variety show, but clashes with Mr. Honey (Kerr Smith) over including a number from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. In revolt, each of the gang sings from the pop/rock musical with songs reflecting their inner angst.
Inside Wednesday TV: Get out the tissues. It's time for the family visits for the remaining castaways on CBS's Survivor: Winners at War (8/7c), always an emotional high point of any season. And then the backstabbing continues… For giggles, dress up and belt along with Fox's The Masked Singer (8/7c), which takes a break from the competition for its first "Sing-Along Spectacular," where viewers can follow along to the lyrics of some of Season 3's favorite songs… As AXS TV's The Big Interview with Dan Rather (8/7c) opens its eighth season, rocker Huey Lewis discusses his potentially career-damaging hearing loss with Rather… Actress Garcelle Beauvais joins Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (8/7c) for its 10th season as the show's first African-American housewife. Not sure this is something to brag about… Regis Philbin makes a random cameo as himself on ABC's Single Parents (9:30/8:30c), during a flashback in which each of the gang shares their birthing stories when Poppy's (Kimrie Lewis) ex's wife Sharon (Laci Mosley) goes into labor. Regis's daughter JJ is the comedy's co-creator and executive producer, so it's old home week… HGTV's ubiquitous Jonathan and Drew Scott are back for a new season of Property Brothers: Forever Home (9/8c), turning family homes into places no one would ever want to leave… On a somewhat smaller yet still epic scale, Fox's LEGO Masters (9/8c) challenges its final three teams to make their greatest builds yet to declare a winner in the season finale.