Worth Watching: 'Vikings' Final Battles, 'Yearly Departed,' Got Leftovers?
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Vikings (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): The violent Norse saga concludes with the second half of the sixth and final season — although a sequel, Vikings: Valhalla, set 100 years later is reportedly in the works. The remaining 10 episodes pick up in the aftermath of a clash between the Rus and Vikings, with King Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) left for dead on the battlefield after being betrayed by half-brother and rival, Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen). Their ancestral home of Kattegat lies in the balance, and a showdown looms pitting Ivar against the King of Wessex, Alfred the Great, for the future of England. Who's got the bones to emerge triumphant? (These episodes are expected to air on History, the show's original channel, sometime in 2021.)
Yearly Departed (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): Have we ever looked forward to putting a year in the rear-view mirror as eagerly as 2020? Apparently not, as a gaggle of funny ladies gathers to deliver mock eulogies to the horrors of the past 12 months, including a pandemic, social unrest, murder hornets and Zoom fashion disasters. Among the participants at the comedic memorial service: Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, two Natashas (Leggero and Rothwell) for the price of one, Ziwe, Patti Harrison, and executive producer Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), who's maybe not feeling so marvelous these days.
Best Leftovers Ever! (streaming on Netflix): You are what you didn't finish eating in eight episodes of a culinary competition in which contestants are asked to revive their leftovers into something tasty and new. (Been there, just this week.) Jackie Tohn hosts, with David So and Rosemary Shrager judging the results and rewarding the most satisfying creation with a $10,000 prize.
Also new to Netflix: the Danish mystery Equinox, about a radio host (Danica Curcic) who tries to get to the truth about what happened to a bus full of students who mysteriously vanished 20 years ago. Only problem: In her search for answers, she somehow ends up changing the past.
Heroes on the Front Line (8/7c, The CW): Former TV Superman Dean Cain hosts a salute to the real-life heroes of 2020: frontline on-the-ground medical workers, small business owners, volunteers and neighbors who've helped their communities make it through the months of the pandemic… If that's not enough to warm the heart, the network repeats its Dogs of the Year special (9/8c) from earlier this month, featuring amazing canines including a firefighting pitbull and a service dog that detects seizures.
Inside Wednesday TV: It's an offer that's always hard to refuse. AMC's The Godfather Marathon (starts at 5:30/4:30c) presents all three parts of Francis Ford Coppola's epic mob-drama trilogy, with best picture Oscar winners The Godfather and The Godfather Part II (9:30/8:30c) followed by the problematic The Godfather Part III (2 am/1c), which Coppola recently reshaped into The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone… See how a comedy classic began when TBS repeats the 2007 series pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory (7/6c), introducing the world to Jim Parsons as exasperating genius Sheldon Cooper and Johnny Galecki as his long-suffering roommate, Leonard Hofstadter… Lifetime teases the next season of one of its hit franchises in Married at First Sight: Season 12 Matchmaking Special (8/7c), which reveals how the five new couples — including the show's oldest (38) and first divorced grooms — were cast. (A Kickoff Special on Jan. 6 will further tease the new season, so by the time it actually begins on Jan 13, it will almost feel like third sight)… National Geographic's investigative series Trafficked with Mariana Van Zeller (9/8c) follows the smuggling route of the cocaine trade from a Peruvian valley through Colombia to Miami.