Worth Watching: Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming,’ ‘Brockmire’ Finale, ‘Mrs. America’
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Becoming (streaming on Netflix): Announced little more than a week ago, this documentary follows former First Lady Michelle Obama on a 34-city tour following the publication of her best-selling memoir, Becoming. It’s an intimate account of her encounters with groups of all ages and sizes as they reflect on the idea of “becoming,” with all of the hopes, worries and dreams that entails. Like last week’s special reunion episode of Parks and Recreation, it’s also a tribute to community. In a note provided by Netflix, Obama notes: “I treasure the memories and that sense of connection now more than ever, as we struggle together to weather this pandemic, as we care for our loved ones, tend to our communities, and try to keep up with work and school while coping with huge amounts of loss, confusion and uncertainty.”
Brockmire (10/9c, IFC): With the current baseball season in indefinite suspension, the series finale of the caustic sports satire takes on unusual poignancy as it envisions a future (circa 2034) in which “America’s greatest pastime” is even more endangered by external and internal pressures. In a storyline that could have been borrowed from Westworld, although more coherent, commissioner Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria) is facing not only his own mortality but an uncertain future for his beloved sport, which is in danger of being consumed and ruled by the artificial intelligence called Limón. Can he, and baseball, survive?
Mrs. America (streaming on FX on Hulu): The brilliantly entertaining docudrama about the battle over the ERA in the 1970s turns its focus on divisions within the President Ford-led GOP. With the first lady in favor of the ERA, and influential party operative Jill Ruckelshaus (Elizabeth Banks) heading a high-profile but underfunded national commission on women’s rights, Eagle Forum leader Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett) stays on mission, because she knows she has at least one ace up her designer sleeve to gain influence within the party: her mailing list.
What We Do in the Shadows (10/9c, FX): The last ghoul you’d expect to go on a power trip is Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), the nerdy “energy vampire” who sucks the energy out of any room he enters. But when Colin is given a promotion at work, he begins to feed on the power of bossing others around, which creates an uproariously funny reversal in the hierarchy back home with his more traditional vampire roomies. At first Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) is skeptical: “He’s not a wild card. He’s the card you get at the top of the deck that has instructions on it, so you throw it away.” But there’s no dismissing Colin’s affect on the others, who eventually become so drained they lose their bite to fight back. Is it even possible for the undead to be bored to death?
Inside Wednesday TV: CBS’s Survivor: Warriors at War (8/7c) airs back-to-back episodes in its penultimate episode, and at this point it looks like it’s Tony’s to lose. (Even Boston Rob was heard calling the excitable player a “boss” from the jury side of the last tribal council.)… Reflecting how many of us are eating in front of the TV these days, TBS is packaging repeats of The Big Bang Theory for the next four Wednesdays with a “Chew & View” culinary theme. Starting at 8/7c, a five-episode mini-marathon features a burgers-and-sandwiches theme, starting with Season 1’s “The Hamburger Postulate.” … The CW’s Riverdale (8/7c) closes its fourth season with Jughead (Cole Sprouse) spinning a twisted tale for a college assignment that envisions the gang’s revenge fantasy against Principal Honey (Kerr Smith). Mädchen Amick directs the episode… With spinoff Schooled taking the week off, Lainey (A.J. Michalka) heads back to ABC’s The Goldbergs (8/7c) for a visit — which could disrupt Barry’s (Troy Gentile) new relationship with Ren (Kelli Berglund)… ABC’s Single Parents doubles up with episodes at 8:30/7:30 and 9:30/8:30c, in which Angie (Leighton Meester) rethinks her feelings for her ex, Derek (real-life husband Adam Brody), which naturally alarms Will (Taran Killam)… Like many others, my travel plans this spring were canceled, but that shouldn’t stop us from tagging along with British adventurer Steve Backshall as the first season of PBS’s Expedition with Steve Backshall resumes (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org). In a new episode, he plunges 400 feet down into a subterranean Mayan cave in Mexico, dodging vampire bats as he seeks ancient artifacts.