What To Watch: 01/28/2021

If we’re going by Metacritic grades, today is all about quantity-over-quality although Jason has something to say about that in his pick below. There’s a ton of new episodes dotting the Wednesday night lineup landscape, but only two peek above the 60% required to get into the safety of the green (positive) zone. In any case, thankfully, all this is relative, so here’s our choice of the most intriguing options for your viewing value.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Possessions [HBO Max]
This French-Hebrew language psychological thriller comes to from Bodyguard director Thomas Vincent. A French diplomat falls in love with an expatriate while investigating the circumstances concerning the possibility that she murdered her husband at their wedding in Israel.

BRAD’S PICK:
Hell’s Kitchen [The CW, 9p]
So. this season has gotten off to a rocky start. Emotional breakdowns for no apparent reason, abysmal services. Watch the train wreck continue on the latest episode. This isn’t schadenfrude. I’m really rooting for this new group of recruits to pull it together.

JASON’S PICK:
Call Me Kat [Fox, 9p]
This sitcom starring Miaym Bialik has been mostly savaged by reviewers and it’s certainly an acquired taste, as, let’s be honest, was Miranda, the British half-hour it was based on (“cheeky!”). With its combo of meta- and 4th-wall breaking with purposely cliche plots and tropes and shameless slapstick, it’s going to turn off a wide swath of viewers. Add to that, the Miranda Hart fans who are inevitably going to compare Bialik’s lilt to Hart’s and find it lacking. It is an appealing cast (also including Swoosie Kurtz, Cheyenne Jackson, and Leslie Jordan, among others) who are building chemistry as it goes and while there are still a lot of stilted moments (often by design), it’s not without the charm that made the original so wonderful. And I love that it retains the end credits character-breaking waves and dance party. Also, cats!  (btw, here’s Bialik’s strong defense of her own show)

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • One of the two broadcast shows tonight with a passing season per Metacritic would be the Walton Goggins vehicle, The Unicorn. On tonight’s episode (on CBS, which you know all too well if you are an NFL fan), Walton’s Wade is trying to get serious with new flame Shannon, but has his kids to concern.
  • The highest rated show of the night would be the latest in the chronicles of Starfleet, Star Trek: Discovery, also on CBS, where the crew must try “unconventional methods” to get out of a space jam… which tells you as much as that episode of the Superfriends where all the heroes get together to save the day or that episode of Lost where they try to get off the island or that episode of The Simpsons where Homer does something stupid or that episode of Seinfeld where George does something stupid or that episode of Friends where Joey does something stupid or…
  • Another show that deserves its chance to find its character-driven way is the latest Tina Fey/Robert Carlock creation Mr. Mayor starring Ted Danson. The most recent episode of the new NBC show found a stunningly good chemistry between Holly Hunter and Bobby Moynihan. This week’s episode is called “Dodger Day,” and while it sounds like it may be baseball-themed, there’s no hint in the synopsis.
  • On the other end of the sitcom lifespan, we have a Scholar-favorite, Superstore, which is trying to keep its way, minus America Ferrera, as it stumbles its way through its final episodes on NBC. In tonight’s installment, Mateo, Sandra, and Glenn team up to cheer up Jonah, who still misses Ferrera’s Amy.
  • Shudder’s latest gory thriller, The Queen of Black Magic, comes from Indonesian director Joko Anwar. It concerns a family who goes back to the orphanage where the patriarch was born. Of course, odd things happen, secrets are revealed, and people start getting killed.
  • As real world horrors go, the atrocities the American government has inflicted on African Americans in the name of science leading to an understandable fear of legitimate vaccines. BET’s COVID-19 and the Black Community: A Tyler Perry Special, the actor/director/mogul looks into the history and hopefully makes a change.
  • Rehab Addict‘s Nicole Curtis is the host of the latest reality renovation spin-off with HGTV’s Rehab Addict Rescue, where she helps amateur homeowners who become overwhelmed by their own projects.

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