Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Wednesday, March 18. All times are Eastern.
Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu, series premiere, first three episodes): “Parenting starts as a very difficult but pretty straightforward job: Keep your kids safe, fed, warm, and dry. After about a decade, those same offspring are expressing their own fervent opinions about those basic needs, ready to assume the job of taking care of themselves... This fascinating transitional life stage is explored in-depth in Little Fires Everywhere, Hulu’s new miniseries based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller. The two mothers at the heart of Little Fires are at opposite ends of the parenting spectrum. Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) commands her four personable teenagers with a stern smile, trying to control every aspect of their lives down to the tartan Keds in the family Christmas picture. Enigmatic newcomer Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) is an artistic free spirit who can’t settle down in one place for too long—to the consternation of her daughter, Pearl (Lexi Underwood), who’s left on her own for long stretches of time.”
Read the rest of Gwen Ihnat’s pre-air review here. Hulu surprise-dropped the first three episodes on Tuesday night; you can look for recaps from Saloni Gajjar beginning later this morning.
Brockmire (IFC, 10 p.m., fourth season premiere): “Series creator Joel Church Cooper depicts Jim Brockmire (expertly played by Hank Azaria) as a relic of the past living in a rapidly changing present: He’s an alcoholic baseball announcer trying to reclaim former professional glory and achieve some semblance of personal stability. Though he holds staunchly progressive values about everything from sex to class stratification, his personality was molded and developed by a culture that once enshrined hedonistic assholery as a point of pride. Brockmire’s antiquated sense of self functions as a working metaphor for baseball, America’s ‘national pastime’ whose popularity has steadily declined over decades due to numerous contributing factors, such as its slow pace and a senescent fanbase. It doesn’t take much effort to extend this thread to America as a whole, a global superpower that has fallen prey to such debilitating forces as encroaching fascism, ever-widening income inequality, and technocratic authoritarians, to name just a few.” Read the rest of Vikram Murthi’s rave review to get ready for the final season, which begins tonight.
Modern Family (ABC, 9 p.m.)
Motherland: Fort Salem (Freeform, 9 p.m., series premiere): Can we interest you in an alternate history series that assumes the world is run by witches? Seems like that might be appealing at the moment.
Laura Bogart left this first season fairly disappointed; she was particularly frustrated that the series “forfeits [complexity] as it attempts the blood-flecked froth of other baroque teen dramas like Riverdale.” All the same, if there was ever a moment for even a flawed baroque teen drama about witches, it’s this one.