Worth Watching: Strike Is Back in ‘Lethal White,’ Inauguration Day & ‘Celebrating America,’ CW’s Wednesday Returns
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
C.B. Strike: Lethal White (10/9c, HBO): Previous adaptations of the Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J.K. Rowling) mysteries aired on Cinemax, which is no longer in the original-series business — and Strike was always a rather odd fit with the more visceral programming that channel was known for. With the company’s emphasis now fully on HBO Max, where the four episodes of Lethal White will also stream, C.B. Strike moves to the mothership. The story jumps forward a year from Robin Ellicott’s (Holliday Grainger) wedding and uneasy honeymoon, when she and detective boss Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke) are entangled in a case involving a disturbed young man’s childhood memory of witnessing a murder, which is somehow connected to a government minister (MI-5‘s Robert Glenister) who turns to Strike for help in a blackmail plot. The scowling, forlorn war vet Strike and the intrepid but anxiety-prone Robin make a memorable team.
Celebrating America (8:30/7:30c, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, PBS): Following the events of an inauguration day and ceremony like no other, where Lady Gaga is scheduled to sing the National Anthem and Jennifer Lopez perform for a socially distanced gathering, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has prepared a prime-time celebration with an emphasis on those watchwords of unity, heroism and American resilience. Tom Hanks hosts the special, with remarks from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria introducing inspiring stories of young people making a difference in their communities. For entertainment, music superstars including John Legend, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons and Foo Fighters perform virtually from iconic locations across the country.
Riverdale (8/7c, The CW): The network is getting back to business as usual after months of pandemic-related production delays with the return of its dark revisionist twists on pop-culture icons. First up: Archie (KJ Apa) and the Riverdale gang finally get to suit up for prom, though Archie is also busy preparing for a boxing exhibition against the ominously named KO Kelly (Zane Holtz). Followed by the second-season premiere of the spooky Nancy Drew (9/8c), in which the young sleuth (Kennedy McMann) is taken into custody for questioning as a suspect in the assault of a comatose girl.
The Big Interview with Dan Rather (8/7c, AXS TV): Who’s having a more productive and celebrated career than Oscar- and four-time Emmy winner Regina King? She opens up to Rather about her directorial debut in the acclaimed One Night in Miami (streaming on Amazon Prime Video) and her award-winning TV work in Watchmen, American Crime and Netflix’s Seven Seconds, which she considers her most difficult role. She also discusses race as it affects her work, her life in quarantine with her son, and the heroes who have inspired her rise to the top.
Inside Wednesday TV: In a sly nod to the historic events in Washington, D.C., Turner Classic Movies devotes its daytime schedule to movies that are all about Joe, starting with the 1976 drama Ode to Billy Joe (6 am/5c) and including The Story of G.I. Joe (10:45/9:45c), the musical Pal Joey (4:15/3:15c) and 1949’s King Kong homage Mighty Joe Young (6:15/5:15c)… The Netflix docuseries Spycraft shines a light on real-life Q’s and the gadgets and techniques that have been developed to help international spies get intel on their targets… Begging the question of how can we miss you if you never go away, Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County (9/8c) stages the first of a two-part socially distanced reunion, concluding next Wednesday.