Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, September 19. All times are Eastern.
Survivor (CBS, 8 p.m.): It’s your last Wednesday before the networks start coming back in full force. So how are you going to waste it? Are you going to go outside and enjoy the dying of the summer sun? Or are you going to watch the 5,000th (we counted) iteration of this game, which sends the contestants to the Philippines to duel for the right to bow before the mighty Jeff Probst and kiss his ring, which grants almighty and mystical powers. You see, in this season, they’ll reveal it was never just about the money. It was about Probst power. For Carrie Raisler, it was actually always about the money.
Top Chef Masters (Bravo, 10 p.m.): This week’s episode features a surprise mystery guest. If Margaret Eby has learned anything about surprise mystery guests—and she hasn’t—she knows that they’re always Clint Eastwood. Man, we’re going to have to stop making jokes about that at some point, huh?
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Carnivàle (1 p.m.): Not every television show can boast an episode featuring a man seeking revenge for the Ferris wheel death of his wife, but this one can. Todd VanDerWerff sees what happens to Jonesy and Libby when they run afoul of a man whose wife was killed by carnival ride. Not a nice way to go.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
The X Factor (Fox, 8 p.m.): As with The Voice, we’re only covering one night of this show per week. So if you’re wondering what Britney, Demi, Simon, and, uh, L.A. Reid said about the auditioners this week, Jessica Jardine will tell you all about it tomorrow. Until then, watch something else! Everyone else is!
Rake (DirecTV’s Audience Network, 9 p.m.): The second season of this critically acclaimed Australian legal drama kicks off on DirecTV’s home for imports you’ve probably never heard of. We’re just going to assume that this is a legal drama where the protagonist steps on dozens of rakes in every episode.
How Booze Built America (Discovery, 10 p.m.): If you thought that the Puritan work ethic or unfettered capitalism or dudes with really awesome cars built America, it turns out that you were wrong. Mike Rowe is going to show you how booze built America, one delicious booze at a time. Booze!
Real World/Road Rules Challenge (MTV, 10 p.m.): The everlasting “former reality show stars” circuit goes on, as MTV keeps its former Real World and Road Rules stars in financially stable positions by forcing them to compete for… something. Hey, does Road Rules even exist any more? Huh.
The Ghost And Mr. Chicken (AMC, 8 p.m.): We throw around the term “greatest movie ever made” quite a bit in this space, and we’re always inviting you to argue that title. Yet we all know, deep in our heart of hearts, that this Don Knotts star vehicle is the actual greatest movie ever made. Majestic.
Volver (Sundance, 8 p.m.): It’s not Pedro Almodovar’s greatest film, but any Almodovar film is worth seeing at least once, and this one boasts a hell of a performance from Penelope Cruz, one that earned her an Oscar nomination. It’s just a pity it’s on at the same time as The Ghost And Mr. Chicken.
College Football: Kent State at Buffalo (ESPNU, 7 p.m.): Tonight’s baseball game is still “Teams TBA,” and the other sports networks are showing boxing reruns or Rocky (seriously!). So that means we’re left with this lackluster college matchup, between two teams you probably don’t care about. Yay?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
American Experience—Death And The Civil War (Tuesday): Need a day-brightener? This PBS documentary on how all of the death that accompanied the American Civil War changed U.S. culture completely is probably just the ticket! Phil Dyess-Nugent takes a look and really likes what he sees.