Worth Watching: Grammys’ ‘Sounds of Change,’ ‘Operation Varsity Blues,’ ‘Alien’ on Ice
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
A Grammy Salute to the Sounds of Change (9/8c, CBS): Going for inspiration over sensation, this musical special brings together contemporary artists to reinterpret classics that underscored and propelled movements and moments of great social change. Common hosts, with a lineup including Cynthia Erivo (singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”), Gladys Knight (with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”) John Fogerty (with his own “Fortunate Son” and “Weeping in the Promised Land),” plus Oscar nominee Andra Day, Yolanda Adams, Patti Labelle, Brad Paisley, Billy Porter, Leann Rimes and more. The special also features memorable performances from past Grammy telecasts.
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (streaming on Netflix): With dramatized recreations taken directly from FBI wiretaps, this documentary reveals how Rick Singer (played by Matthew Modine) lured deep-pocketed clients to cheat the system to get their privileged kids enrolled in top universities. WandaVision’s Josh Stamberg and CSI’s Wallace Langham are among those playing the elites on the other side of Singer’s persuasive and damning phone calls.
Resident Alien (10/9c, Syfy): The inspired sci-fi comedy takes on a somewhat more serious tone when alien-in-disguise Harry (Alan Tudyk) finds himself in mortal danger after falling through a glacier’s icy crevasse, with his would-be rescuers Asta (Sara Tomko) and D’arcy (Alice Wetterlund) also hanging on for dear life. Adding to his peril: the heretofore unknown fact that when weakened, his species begins to lose its camouflage ability, so little Max may not be alone for long in being able to see Harry’s true colors.
Chicago Med (8/7c, NBC): Leading off an all-new night of Windy City procedural action, Med finds nurse Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett) putting aside her own personal trauma to tend to a mother in need, while arrogant Dr. Dean Archer (Steven Weber) keeps getting on everyone’s nerves. On Chicago Fire (9/8c), Casey (Jesse Spencer) takes a bad blow to the head, and on Chicago P.D. (10/9c), Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) takes it personally when a business owner is gunned down in the neighborhood he once patrolled.
Inside Wednesday TV: The costume parade continues as Fox’s The Masked Singer (8/7c) welcomes “Group B” to the stage… Who’s got a fear of heights? We’ll find out on CBS’s Tough as Nails (8/7c) when the contestants are tasked to clean a skyscraper’s windows… Stay up with Syfy for two new offbeat animated series: The Pole (11:15/10:15c), a twisted political allegory told in six 15-minute chapters, set within Santa’s (Bobby Moynihan) workshop at a polarized North Pole, followed by The Summoner, a five-minute sitcom about a 20something (Charlie Hankin) who shares a two-bedroom apartment with the title character (also Hankin), a magical alien who can summon anything to his location.