The Wednesday Playlist: Broadchurch, Key & Peele, Survivor
The summer's most gripping series (until Breaking Bad started back up) rushes toward a shattering conclusion as BBC America's Broadchurch presents its penultimate episode (Wednesday, 10/9c), with broken lives and aching hearts on all fronts — including the ailing Hardy's (David Tennant), who won't let his latest collapse keep him from pursuing little Danny's killer: "Don't tell me what my limits are," he barks. As more skeletons are unearthed in this seaside community (and let's hope the mysterious Susan's poor dog isn't one of them), the toll of secrets and suspicion weighs heavy: "Once it's got its claws into you, it never lets go," says one of the many suspects whose world has been rocked by the tragic events and poisonous fallout. Don't let next week's denouement escape you as the new broadcast season gets underway with all of its bells and whistles.
PEELS OF LAUGHTER: "Race is really polarizing in this country," understates the comedy duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as they return for a third season of Comedy Central's prime-time jewel Key & Peele, which proves with an inspired sight gag that there is a way to mine satirical humor out of an event as galvanizing as the Trayvon Martin case. The eclectic season opener (10:30/9:30) includes a riff on their demographically diverse fan base — "The older you are, the more you have to say to us" — a dark twist on a battle-rapper's hysterical hype man and a terrific musical parody of Les Miserables, prefaced by a bit on how girlfriends got their guys to go see it: "Your boy Wolverine is in there."
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RELATIVELY SPEAKING: A supersized 90-minute episode of CBS's durable reality pioneer Survivor (8/7c), launching its 27th (!) edition, introduces the new "Blood vs. Water" twist, in which past contestants — including former winners Tina Wesson and Aras Baskauskas (and fan favorite Rupert Boneham) — arrive with loved ones in a Philippine jungle only to learn that they'll be playing against, not with, each other. Complicating matters will be the return of Redeption Island, although this time players will be asked to choose whether to "save" their partner and switch places with them in exile. ... All of which interests me far more than learning who wins this controversial season of Big Brother in an expanded finale (9:30/8:30c).
In other reality-competition news, NBC's summer hit America's Got Talent crowns a winner in a two-hour live broadcast (9/8c) from Radio City Music Hall, with guest performances by Luke Bryan, Josh Groban, and Broadway-bound Il Divo featuring Heather Headley. And, of course, the famous Rockettes. ... Fox's The X Factor (8/7c) continues its audition process as a nation collectively shrugs. ... The next-to-last round of Bravo's Top Chef Masters (10/9c) expands to 75 minutes to reveal who won the online contest Battle of the Sous Chefs, earning their boss $10,000 for charity.
THE TUESDAY GUIDE: OWN and Tyler Perry have proven to be a very good fit, at least ratings-wise, which explains why his sitcom For Better Or Worse moves to the channel for its third season with back-to-back episodes (9/8c), opening on a sudsy note as Leslie (Crystle Stewart) ditches fiancé Chris (Eddie Cibrian) at the altar as she rushes to the hospital in full bridal regalia upon learning of ex-beau Joseph's (Jason Olive) accident. ... PBS concludes the two-part Brains on Trial With Alan Alda (check tvguide.com listings), in which the M*A*S*H star explores how advances in neuroscience, with MRIs and brain scans, could influence criminal trials, including the sentencing of defendants. ... Technology is also the subject of CNBC's report Rise of the Machines (9/8c), which is maybe only slightly less sinister than the installment in the Terminator franchise as the special looks at how pervasive electronic sensors have become in a world of ubiquitous devices and high-tech homes, gadgets, cars and medical equipment.
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