Worth Watching: Back to Work on ‘Tough as Nails,’ the Tuskegee Airmen, Netflix on the ‘Crime Scene,’ ‘Resident Alien’
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Tough as Nails (8/7c, CBS): Hard hats and a rugged work ethic are essentials to make it through what may be TV’s least glamorous reality competition. Host Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race) returns for a second season with 12 working-class contestants taking on grueling challenges — in the season opener, making concrete decides who becomes crew bosses of the two teams, a task that could give Liz “Knuckles” Nichols an advantage, given her day job as cement mason. A $200,000 grand prize and 2021 F-150 Ford truck await the ultimate winner, but those who “punch out” early stick around to earn cash through team challenges. Among other professions represented this season: tugboat mariner, pipe welder, construction foreman, travel nurse, bricklayer, UPS delivery driver, truck repair, lineman, steelworker and retired Air Force Colonel. No pushovers here.
Tuskegee Airmen: Legacy of Courage (8/7c, History): Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts, whose late father Col. Lawrence E. Roberts was a Tuskegee Airman (serving in Korea and Vietnam), narrates and produces a special honoring the pioneering Black military pilots whose exploits in World War II helped end segregation in the armed forces in 1948 and set a path toward the civil rights movement. One of the last surviving pilots, Gen, Charles McGee, shares his story alongside archival footage and commentary from activists and experts.
Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (streaming on Netflix): Some places just seem haunted by tragedy. A new Crime Scene docuseries will visit notorious locations associated with memorable crimes — starting with the four-part Cecil Hotel from director Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost). The downtown Los Angeles hotel has a long and sordid history, from housing serial killers to many incidents of guests who check in only to check out for good. Vanishing recounts the 2013 case of college student Elise Lam, who was staying at the Cecil when she mysteriously disappeared, causing a media sensation.
Resident Alien (10/9c, Syfy): The complications mount in this inspired sci-fi comedy when Dr. Henry Vanderspeigle (the brilliant Alan Tudyk), the crash-landed alien in human disguise, begins to experience those all-too-human emotions of fear and nervousness. Why? It may have something to do with a local fisherman snagging a foot — presumably the real Henry’s — from the lake, which could blow the faux Henry’s cover. Making matters worse for this ET-out-of-water: the taunting of little Max (Judah Prehn), who can see the actual bug-eyed monster within.
Inside Wednesday TV: How time flies on The CW’s Riverdale (8/7c), which jumps forward seven years after graduation, with Archie (KJ Apa) returning to a much-changed town that’s under the thumb of Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos)… When Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) threatens to get more involved in Adam’s (Sean Giambrone) school on ABC’s The Goldbergs (8/7c), he and Principal Ball (Stephen Tobolowsky) conspire to put the smothering mother through Quaker Warden training, which doesn’t go quite as planned… Will Arnett (LEGO Masters) joins the panel on Fox’s The Masked Dancer (8/7c) to unmask one of the Final Four dancers… In the finale of HBO’s C.B. Strike: Lethal White (10/9c), Robin (Holliday Grainger) and Strike (Tom Burke) near the end of their complicated investigation, but will Robin’s panic attacks put them and their case in danger?