What To Watch: 09/01/2021

If those few minutes at the beginning of the 2009 hit animated film Up sent you into sobs as it did us, get your hankies ready, as just days after the lead voice of that series, TV legend Ed Asner, died at 92, the spinoff series debuts on Disney+. It was Asner’s last role and focuses on the relationship between the old man and his dog. The rest of the day is mostly reality–of the trashy AND of the documentary type–and a few new episodes of cult sci-fi shows.

Dug Days [Disney+]
SQUIRREL! Carl and Dug return eleven years after the PIXAR classic for a fun-looking series on, where else, Disney +. While the romance (both the tragic montage and the magic of the flying house) were key features of Up, my favorite part was the goofy, easily distracted dog with a digital voicebox that Carl met along his journey. Jon Stewart kept that love alive.

What If…? [Disney+]
What if Doctor Strange lost his heart instead of his hands–meaning what if he lost Christine in the car accident? An interesting question posed by the latest episode of Marvel’s alternate timeline series. The answers may be surprising. Chances are if you are a Marvel fan, you already watching this series, but if not this episode is a good reason to start.

The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies [MTV, 8p]
It’s a new week with new teams and new challenges. Can the vets keep control or will they be forced to turn against each other and vote one of their own into the lair? I am once again delighted that this season was filmed in a warm climate and MTV is back to their classic heights/water challenges.


  • We are really deep down in the crevasse of uncanny valley these days as robots become weirder and weirder and you could likely get even money on the prop bet that the singularity drops its first and only single in the 2020s. PBS looks into these advances and what they mean for humans in the workplace in the documentary Future of Work.
  • The new Food Network competition Raid the Fridge is a sort of Storage Wars for cooking fans as four master chefs choose from four refrigerators–contents unseen–and are tasked to make a gourmet meal with whatever turns out to be inside. It’s hosted by Dan Ahboot, while Jamika Passoa and Jordan Andino handle the judging part.
  • If you like your paranormal shows with a bit of gravitas and a lot of X-Files-style creepiness, you could do worse than Expedition X which returns today for a fourth season on Discovery.
  • The folks at Radiator Ranch–the subject of the new Netflix series How To Be A Cowboy–are immediately reminiscent of those at a certain Oklahoma zoo featuring tigers… that is, if they were a little less mean, creepy and murder-y. From its trailer, this group seems genuinely appealing as they revel into their eccentricity. And it does not look like anyone is going to use sardine oil to get animals to dispose of their significant other or order a lazy hit on a rival.
  • We’re 11 days from a big tragic milestone, so expect the documentaries to start to roll in to examine the attack on the United States two decades later. The first we’ve noticed is Netflix’s Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror. In this five part docu-series, director Brian Knappenberger interviews key journalists, theorists and politicians in order to examine what led to the 9/11 attack, what has changed since, and how it changed how the world battled a seemingly amorphous enemy.
  • In a show that was once a Screen Scholars favorite, but has gotten too weird for even our band of editors–a gang that embraces weirdness–Riverdale charts its 90th episode with Cheryl finding a valuable substance in her orchard. You know, everyday stuff.

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