The Wednesday Playlist: The Americans, TCM Loves Kim Novak, Dangerous Reality and Sports
Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys
It's whack-a-mole time on a terrifically taut episode of FX's The Americans (10/9), as the uneasily married Philip and Elizabeth learn just how treacherous these spy games can get, while Agent Stan of the FBI concocts a gem of a plan to try to take the focus off the real mole, the lovely but understandably terrified Nina. Even a subplot involving the Jennings' kids Paige and Henry, stranded miles away from home when the parents are suddenly otherwise occupied, isn't as annoying as these things tend to be (think Kim Bauer or Homeland's Dana Brody). For what it's worth (to me, a lot), Keri Russell has her finest did-she-just-do-that badass moment yet when she realizes the level of mistrust she's dealing with at work and at home.
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THE VAMP FROM VERTIGO: The Hitchcock classic isn't part of TCM's night-long tribute to the glamorous Kim Novak, but fans should still be inclined to revisit her career with the channel's Robert Osborne, who conducts an emotionally candid interview with one of Hollywood's most reluctant superstars in Kim Novak: Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival (8/7c), taped a year ago. Four of her movies follow, starting at 9/8c with the bewitching Bell, Book and Candle, a personal fave in Picnic (recently revived on Broadway with Maggie Grace as Madge), The Man With the Golden Arm and the unfortunate 1964 remake of Of Human Bondage.
CALL THE MEDIC: It's never a happy time on CBS' Survivor (8/7c) when a contestant has a medical emergency, but will it be a fan or a favorite whose time in the game is threatened? ... In a similar vein of no-one-said-it-would-be-easy, a new edition of Showtime's 60 Minutes Sports (9/8c) focuses on the thrills and dangers of extreme sports, with Anderson Cooper following a big-wave surfer from Hawaii to Portugal, Byron Pitts investigating the new trend of grueling obstacle racing, and Bob Simon catching up with free diver Herbert Nitsch in his first interview since a near-fatal dive in the Aegean Sea.
THE WEDNESDAY GUIDE: If you like your cop drama real, TNT's docu-series Boston's Finest (9/8c) follows members of the Boston Police Department on their rounds. Or if you prefer it fictional but feeling real, TNT's underappreciated Southland (10/9c) presents patrol cops Ben and Sammy with a bizarre quandary: Why are bank robbers tossing their ill-gotten cash into the street during their getaway? Detectives Lydia and Reuben tackle a more gruesome case, involving the murder of a man slow-cooked to death. ... It's the guys' turn on another two-hour live episode of Fox's American Idol (8/7c). ... The green-eyed monster visits USA Network's Psych (10/9c), when Shawn discovers Gus has a girlfriend (ER's Parminder Nagra) while his own squeeze Juliet goes undercover in the world of online dating. ... Like a real-life Partridge Family, pop-star clan The Cowsills enjoyed a brief burst of fame in the late '60s. In the documentary Family Band: The Cowsills Story (8/7c, Showtime Too), we'll learn life was less harmonious than their squeaky-clean image indicated. Why couldn't they all get along, like the Osmonds? Or the Jacksons. Oh, wait.
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