Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Archer returns (sans coma) as David Tennant and Michael Sheen get Staged

Top: Archer. Bottom: David Tennant and Michael Sheen, Staged.
Top: Archer. Bottom: David Tennant and Michael Sheen, Staged.
Image: FXX, Photo: RAINMAKER CONTENT

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Wednesday, September 16. All times are Eastern. 

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Top picks

Archer (FXX, 10 p.m., one-hour season 11 premiere): What happens to a spy when he emerges from a coma during which he believed that he and all his coworkers lived through an L.A. noir and went to space and set up shop on a remote island?

We’re about to find out. Tonight’s Archer season premiere—the first season without creator Adam Reed serving as showrunner, though he remains involved—encompasses two episodes. Look for William Hughes’ recap this evening.

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Staged (Hulu, 3:01 a.m., complete first season, U.S. premiere): We’ve definitely reached the “they filmed this during quarantine, so who the hell knows” phase of things, but we’ve got high hopes for this one based on the players alone. David Tennant and Michael Sheen, two reliably entertaining performers who were proven to have top-tier chemistry in Amazon’s Good Omens, reunite for this remotely shot series in which two actors, slated to star in a West End play shuttered thanks to Covid-19, continue rehearsing remotely. Watch this space for a quick review from Allison Shoemaker this morning.

Regular coverage

From Film Club

The Devil All The Time (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., streaming premiere):The Devil All The Time is a portrait of a place populated by creeps and abusers, where the police and the church offer little refuge. [Director Antonio] Campos and his ace cast tell this bleak tale in a series of dramatic set pieces, meant to plunge viewers deep into a region dominated by darkness and fear. The movie runs a little over two hours, and roughly every 10 minutes there’s another riveting, unnerving scene: like when Roy proves his faith in church by pouring a box of live spiders over his head, or when Preston delivers an insulting sermon around Willard’s grandmother’s potluck plate of fried chicken livers. Campos—best-known for the jittery character dramas Afterschool and Christine, and for helping establish the moody atmosphere of the thoughtful TV crime series The Sinner—has a knack for creating moments on screen that are both uncomfortable to watch and difficult to turn away from.” Read the rest of Noel Murray’s review.

Wild cards

Time for another wild card lightning round.

Challenger: The Final Flight (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., complete limited series): “For about 25 years, most American space flights went off without a hitch, and even the few that went awry mostly ended with safe landings and lessons learned. The processes ran so smoothly that the citizenry largely stopped paying attention to what their tax dollars were paying for—except to complain occasionally that our money might be better spent here on Earth. And then—as Netflix’s new four-part docuseries Challenger: The Final Flight covers in engrossing detail—one of NASA’s spacecrafts exploded, devastating and unnerving a nation that hadn’t seen bad news like this in a long time.” Read the rest of Noel Murray’s pre-air review.

Criminal: U.K. (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., complete second season): This satisfying procedural returns, this time with more Jon Snow.

Sing On! (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): At last, a series that answers the question, “What if The Voice and the singing part of the Rock Band video game series fused and became a streaming game show?” Hey, at least Titus Burgess is involved, gamely watching as singing is reduced to how accurately a person can perform someone else’s interpretation of a song.

Islands Of Wonder (PBS, 8 p.m.): This brief series of specials brings viewers to three of the most beautiful places on earth, beginning with Madagascar.

Notre-Dame: Our Lady Of Paris (ABC, 9 p.m.): If you somehow have it in you to watch a two-hour special about a fire right now, ABC has got you covered.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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