Worth Watching: Serena Round 2, ‘Wellington’ Waves Goodbye, Peter Sellers Marathon, ‘Dogs’ Are Barking
Serena Williams’ farewell tour at the U.S. Open continues into the second round. The CW’s hilarious New Zealand import Wellington Paranormal signs off for good with back-to-back episodes. TCM’s Summer Under the Stars series wraps with 24 hours of Peter Sellers movies. Prey’s Amber Midthunder guests on Reservation Dogs as an influencer trying to bring unity to those fractious kids.
US Open Tennis
One thing’s for sure: Serena Williams is not evolving into her post-pro tennis life without giving it her all. That was evident in her triumphant first-round match Monday night, followed by a celebration that felt like a coronation. The queen of tennis continues her journey through her final Open by facing a potentially tougher opponent: No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia. We all know who the packed stadium will be rooting for.
Every great tour of duty comes to an end eventually. So it is with this hilarious spinoff of the original New Zealand What We Do in the Shadows, which for four seasons followed in the hapless footsteps of officers Minogue (Mike Minogue) and O’Leary (Karen O’Leary) as they patrolled the spooky byways of the paranormal and supernatural, never really having a clue. The series ends with back-to-back episodes, starting with the officers investigating a series of curses. In the finale, they inadvertently go back in time to the 1990s, where an encounter with a much-younger version of their sarge ends up changing the future in a dystopian new timeline. What are the odds they thought the butterfly effect was a nature documentary?
The 1964 Stanley Kubrick anti-war satirical masterpiece is the logical centerpiece of TCM’s daylong “Summer Under the Stars” tribute to Peter Sellers, who played three roles in the film (including the bizarre title character), earning him an Oscar nomination. The Sellers marathon ends TCM’s monthlong star-a-day series, and includes Sellers’ other Oscar-nominated performance, as the enigmatic Chance in 1979’s fascinating Being There (5:30/4:30c). Sadly, none of Sellers’ Pink Panther farces as Inspector Clouseau are in the lineup.
Can’t they all get along? That’s what a charismatic influencer going by the name Miss Matriarch (played by Prey breakout star Amber Midthunder) would like to know, as she guides the reservation kids through a series of touchy-feely self-expression exercises during a youth summit symposium. (Typically for this wry, dry comedy, most of them are attending to get a Sonic gift card.) As if she were psychic, Miss Matriarch pairs characters very much in need of bonding and healing, with mixed results.
With Halloween as a backdrop, and amid ominous glimpses of an apocalyptic future, Harry (Alan Tudyk) begins to worry that his human “meat case” is speeding up his transition from alien to human, especially when it comes to empathy. “Am I beginning to care about all humans? What kind of monster have I become?” he muses in self-torment. All things considered, there are worse times than Halloween to consider reverting back to alien form—and that goes for the runaway alien baby as well, who’s back on the government radar.
Inside Wednesday TV:
- DC’s Stargirl (8/7c, The CW): The teen superhero series, now more of an endangered species on a network in transition, is back for a third season, with Courtney/Stargirl (Brec Bassinger) optimistic for more peaceful times in Blue Valley. But can The Gambler (Eric Goins) be trusted when he pledges to join the reform movement?
- Guy’s Ultimate Game Night (9/8c, Food Network and streaming on discovery+): In the series premiere, Guy Fieri and Antonia Lofaso are the hosts at the Flavortown Lounge for a night of fun and games, welcoming as guests SNL alum Bobby Moynihan, Loot’s Ron Funches and rocker Bret Michaels.
- No-Recipe Road Trip with the Try Guys (10/9c, Food Network and streaming on discovery+): The social-media comedy group (Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, Zach Kornfeld and Eugene Lee Yang) travels the country, starting in Nashville, hoping to recreate local eateries’ specialties without recipes or expert guidance. Sample at your own risk.
- CMT Storytellers: Darius Rucker (10/9c, CMT): The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter performs his hits and tells how they came to be in an intimate concert.
- Welcome to Wrexham (10/9c and 10:30/9:30c, FX): New soccer-team owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney watch from afar as the struggling Wrexham team rebuilds, luring and cajoling new leaders and players to sign on as the season approaches. Once the games begin, the pressure is only going to get worse. As Reynolds puts it: “I’ve found [the experience] to be very time-consuming, emotionally exhausting, financially idiotic—and utterly addictive.”
- Archer (10/9c, FXX): As the spy team’s latest slapstick mission gets deep in the weeds in a tropical jungle, with hippos and spiders and guerrillas on the attack, a disgruntled Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) travels the “path of least resistance” with a new philosophy of “doing what I want when I want.” With mom no longer around (RIP Jessica Walter), no one really expected him to respect authority, right?
- In Pursuit with John Walsh: Captured (10/9c, Investigation Discovery): In a special edition of the true-crime series, John and Callahan Walsh look back at some of the 37 captures the show has helped achieve.
- I Came By (streaming on Netflix): Downton Abbey’s genteel Hugh Bonneville plays against type as a respected judge harboring a sinister secret—which comes to light when a mischievous graffiti artist (1917’s George MacKay) invades his home and gets more than he bargained for in a British movie thriller.