Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, September 11. All times are Eastern.
The X Factor (Fox, 8 p.m.): Having previously given the country Melanie Amaro and Tate Stevens fever (you can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about those two!), The X Factor returns for a third season which will crown another winner who will never be anywhere near as famous as One Direction, the boy band Simon Cowell assembled on the UK version of the show. Returning judge Demi Lovato, non-Beyoncé Kelly Rowland, and Mexican singer Paulina Rubio join the always-smarmy Cowell at the judge’s table. The two-night season première will feature lots of singing, unbearable banter, and a general yearning for a time when people actually cared about reality singing competitions.
MasterChef (Fox, 9 p.m.): In the end there can only be one. One immortal, 400-year-old Masterchef, born in the Highlands of Scotland, destined to wander the earth making delicious braised pork loin and wild mushroom risotto. Now is the time of the gathering, when the stroke of the paring knife will release the power of Phil Dyess-Nugent to review this fourth season finale.
The Bridge (FX, 10 p.m.): Wednesdays might as well be known as “unlikely-buddy-detective night” around these parts. On FX, Molly Eichel checks in on the abrasive Sonya Cross and the warm Marco Ruiz who know the identity of the killer they’re tracking, but haven’t been able to corner him yet…
Broadchurch (BBC America, 10 p.m.): …while over on BBC America, Gwen Ihnat checks up on the grumpy Alex Hardy and his chippy (and chip-bringing) partner, Ellie Miller, who aren’t even close to identifying Danny’s killer. Unless it’s actually the same killer and all of this has been building to a Bridge/Broadchurch crossover movie. Let the Hardy/Sonya shipping begin!
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FXX, 10 p.m.): Dennis Perkins would like to use this episode about gun control to remind all Sunny fans that violence (or angry commenting) is never the answer.
The League (FXX, 10:30 p.m.): The conclusion to last week’s two-parter features more wedding drama and more Adam Brody. Pilot Viruet is really excited about one of those two things, but we’re not saying which.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Freaks And Geeks (1 p.m.): After being cancelled in March 2000, NBC didn’t air any remaining episodes of Freaks And Geeks until July. “Dead Dogs And Gym Teachers,” however, didn’t air until October when it was one of three unseen episodes that ran in syndication on the Fox Family Channel. Todd VanDerWerff will try to forget the bitter hole the show’s cancellation left in his heart and enjoy an episode full of dead dogs, The Who, and Coach Fredricks.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
9/11 Firehouse (Discovery, 8 p.m.): In the twelve years since the September 11th terrorist attacks, the term “9/11” has become a part of the political vernacular—an abstraction that invokes patriotism yet can also feel removed from the actual event that left almost 3,000 people dead. This Discovery Channel documentary forgoes political generalizations to tell the specific story of the FDNY firefighters from “Ten House,” some of the first rescue workers to enter the Twin Towers, many of whom were off-duty on the day of the attack but came to offer assistance anyway.
The President’s Gatekeepers (Discovery 9 p.m.): This two-night, four-hour special gathers together all 20 living White House Chiefs of Staff whose careers span 50 years and nine administrations, and who all happen to be male (in fact, there has never been a female White House Chief of Staff since the position was created in 1946). This special touches on everything from the September 11th attacks to nuclear codes to Richard Nixon’s resignation. Hopefully the former Chiefs will also paint each other’s nails, make prank phone calls to their crushes, and have a pillow fight. Boys will be boys!
Too Young To Marry?: The Biggest Mistake Ever (Oxygen 10 p.m.): This four-episode series focuses on three couples who are too young to marry but not too young to know how to exploit their personal lives for a reality TV paycheck. Maybe these crazy kids will make it after all!
Camp (NBC, 10:01 p.m.): As the lazy days of summer give way to the crisp nights of fall, it’s a good time to reflect on the past few months. Especially if those past few months involve attending an all-ages family camp where parents and their children pass the time with Valentine’s Day in July, pregnancy scares, and a gay wedding! Myles McNutt checks in on the season finale before tucking the show neatly in the closet with the rest of his summer gear.
X-Men: First Class (FX, 7 p.m.): While this origin story of Magneto and Professor X’s friendship helped return the X-Men franchise to form after the disastrous X-Men: The Last Stand, we were hoping the film would be about a group of mutants flying first class, enjoying free champagne and copious leg room. Let us live vicariously through you, X-Men!
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (TCM, 5:30 p.m.): It’s not surprising that a script co-written by Roald Dahl, with songs by the Sherman Brothers and a star turn by the affable Dick Van Dyke, produced a beloved children’s movie. What is surprising is that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is loosely based on a novel by Ian Fleming (spy/author of the James Bond novels). Even more surprising, the Bond villain-esque Child Catcher didn’t even appear in the original novel.
WNBA Basketball: Phoenix at Chicago (ESPN2, 8 p.m.): After beating the Washington Mystics 93-79, the Chicago Sky take on the Phoenix Mercury at Chicago’s Allstate Arena. We’d make a joke about women’s sports being less popular than men’s sports, but we’re pretty sure these female athletes could crush us like bugs.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
So You Think You Can Dance: It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how much you think you can dance. Oliver Sava covers the winners and the losers in his review of the tenth season finale. He hates to see the show leave, but he loves to watch it dance away.