Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, August 7. All times are Eastern.
Broadchurch (BBC America, 10 p.m.): BBC America is premièring this murder mystery series just in time to cash in on the Doctor Who-fever induced by the recent (and rather elaborate) announcement that Peter Calpadi will portray the 12th Doctor. While this ensemble drama about two detectives trying to solve a young boy’s murder in the sleepy small town of Broadchurch doesn’t share many plot points with the sci-fi show about a time traveling alien, it does features several Who alum (including Arthur Darvill and David Tennant) and was created by a former Who writer (Chris Chibnall). The show, which partners up Tennant with Olivia Colman, was a huge ratings success when it aired in the UK and Fox is planning to create an American version in 2014. Alasdair Wilkins will try to solve the mystery, count the Doctor Who references, and report back on David Tennant’s hair.
MasterChef (Fox, 9 p.m.): It’s redemption night on MasterChef. One of the former contestants gets the chance to re-enter the competition, if they can cook the most fried eggs and survive a blind-taste-test involving salmon. Remember contestants, Phil Dyess-Nugent prefers his yolks runny and his salmon en papillote.
The Bridge (FX, 10 p.m.): Things on the U.S./Mexico border continue to be dark, moody, and gritty as Charlotte seeks advice from Marco and Linder gets a visitor. Molly Eichel can’t wait until Sonya and Marco solve the case and go back to leading totally happy, tension-free lives. Should be any day now.
Futurama (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): This week Leela grows tentacles and discovers a secret genetic engineering lab. Your What’s On Tonight? correspondent originally read the episode description as “Leela grows testicles” which would have been an entirely different kind of episode indeed. Alasdair Wilkins is prepared for tentacles, testicles, and anything else this show wants to throw at him in its final five episodes.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Freaks And Geeks (1 p.m.): Concerned about Lindsay’s new friends, Mr. and Mrs. Weir decide to take a look at her diary to figure out what their daughter is up to. Todd VanDerWerff never had to worry about his parents discovering his secret diary because he’s an open book (this book in particular).
Sports Night (3 p.m.): Donna Bowman wraps up her A.V. Club Sports Night coverage with the second season (and series) finale. The final two episodes feature a guest turn by Clark Gregg as a mysterious “stranger” interested in the future of CSC. Presumably Gregg is there to recruit Dan, Casey, and Dana for the Avengers (shhh, don’t tell The Hulk he was a second choice).
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Top Ten Sharkdown (Discovery, 9 p.m.): This Shark Week special counts down the 10 deadliest sharks. It’s unclear whether all 10 can be found in a Sharknado. It’s also unclear whether or not we will ever stop linking to our Sharknado review when talking about Shark Week.
Law & Order: UK (BBC America 9 p.m.): Not only does the fourth season première of Law & Order: UK offer up the crime procedural format of the American version, it’s also an education in the British justice system. Legal prosecution and learning? Our two favorite things!
Raising Fame (TLC 9:30 p.m.): TLC’s hour long special ages up the Toddlers And Tiaras formula and focuses on moms who are determined to make their teenage daughters famous. The special follows three mothers from across the country who converge on Hollywood with the hopes of turning their daughters into models, actors, and singers. Raising Fame looks to be another TLC show that both “exposes” child exploration and makes lots of money off of it.
Alien Files (DA, 10 p.m.): Destination America is branching out from shows about buying RVs, deep frying things, and cheating Vegas with a new series that exposes the military’s massive alien cover-up. This is our only possible response.
District 9 (IFC, 8 p.m.): Elysium may turn Neill Blomkamp into a go-to director for sci-fi blockbusters, but District 9 was the film that first brought the South African director international attention. Blomkamp uses sci-fi-as-metaphor to tell the story of a bug-like alien race that lands in South Africa only to be immediately quarantined into ghettos. A superb central performance by Sharlto Copley (in his first acting role), simple but effective visual effects, and a script full of social commentary on post-apartheid South Africa combined to make this film the sleeper hit of 2009.
Grease (AMC, 8 p.m.): As teenagers we felt uncomfortable about this film’s excessive sexual innuendo, as adults we felt even more uncomfortable about its questionable gender politics. Yet through it all we were always won over by the catchy songs and the way John Travolta says “Sandy.” You might even say we “go together like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong…”
Little League Baseball: Southwest Regional Final (ESPN2, 8 p.m.): What better way to remind kids “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” than by broadcasting their little league baseball games on ESPN2? In addition to worrying about homework and whether or not girls have cooties, these 11- and 12-year-olds can also worry about publicly failing on national TV. Play ball kids!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The Office (Classic): The Christmas episode would become a staple for The Office, but the show’s first venture into holiday-themed programming is arguably its best. Erik Adams celebrates the Yuletide season with iPods, Jim/Pam romantic tension, and YAAAAAAANKEE SWAP!