Worth Watching: CMA Awards, ‘Passing’ on Netflix, ‘Nature’ in the Rockies, ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’
Two-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan hosts the 55th Country Music Association Awards from Nashville. Netflix presents director Rebecca Hall’s acclaimed film Passing, about racial identity during the Harlem Renaissance. PBS’ Nature begins a two-part series about wildlife “Born in the Rockies.” A live-action version of the children’s favorite Clifford the Big Red Dog begins streaming on Paramount+ as it opens in movie theaters.
Like at the Grammys, it’s probably easier to list who isn’t performing than to chart all the country-music royalty participating in “country music’s biggest night.” Luke Bryan, a two-time Entertainer of the Year winner, hosts the ceremony from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, where he’ll perform his new single “Up.” Top nominees Eric Church and Chris Stapleton are among the Entertainer of the Year nominees also performing, along with Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. Having scored as Aretha Franklin in Respect, Jennifer Hudson makes her first appearance on the CMA stage, among headliners including Jimmie Allen, Brothers Osborne, Dan + Shay, Old Dominion, Blake Shelton, Mickey Guyton and many more.
Preacher’s Ruth Negga, a former Oscar nominee who’s coming to Broadway next year as Lady Macbeth, stars opposite Westworld’s Tessa Thompson in director Rebecca Hall’s acclaimed adaptation of Nella Larsen’s Jazz Age novel. Set during the Harlem Renaissance in 1920s New York, Passing is the story of two biracial women who could pass as white, but only one has chosen that path. When these one-time childhood friends meet again by chance, their worlds intermingle in complicated and revealing ways.
Uma Thurman narrates a two-part Nature special (concluding Nov. 17) that depicts the circle of life of animals living in the rugged Rocky Mountains, starting with birth. In “First Steps,” new moms raise their young—baby bison, grizzly-bear cubs, bighorn sheep lambs and sandhill cranes—from early spring to late summer.
Clifford the Big Red Dog
Available for streaming as it hits movie theaters, this colorful live-action family film (based on the popular children’s books) brings the horse-sized and blindingly red pooch to life with CGI and puppeteering magic. Darby Camp stars as Emily Elizabeth, whose wish for her newly adopted pup to be big and strong is realized beyond her wildest dreams, to the bemused consternation of her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall). Veep’s Tony Hale provides some comic villainy, with appearances by SNL’s Kenan Thompson and Monty Python legend John Cleese.
As the centerpiece of an all-new night of Chicago procedurals, Fire takes a close look at new Lieutenant Pelham’s (Brett Dalton) past as Deputy District Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) considers whether to make Casey’s replacement a permanent fixture. A resentful Gallo (Alberto Rosende), for one, isn’t buying it.
In the penultimate chapter of this shattering docudrama about the scourge of OxyContin and the greed of the pharmaceutical Sackler family, recovering addict Dr. Finnix (Michael Keaton) takes steps to restore his medical license, hoping to bring former patient Betsy (a heartbreaking Kaitlyn Dever) along on his journey. In the bigger picture, now that the FDA has been convinced to change the too-lenient wording on the killer drug’s label, the Sacklers scramble to work the new language to their advantage, even as the U.S. attorneys prepare indictments for their criminal case.
Inside Wednesday TV:
- Behind the Monsters (streaming on Shudder): Currently starring in his own TV series (on Syfy and USA), Chucky the possessed killer doll takes center stage in the docuseries, examining the character’s cinematic origins and unexpected staying power.
- Gentefied (streaming on Netflix): A second season of the warm dramedy about life in the Latinx community of L.A.’s Boyle Heights revisits the Morales family, still trying to keep their grandfather “Pop” (Joaquín Cosio) from being deported while saving the family taco shop in a gentrifying neighborhood.
- Secrets of the Dead (10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): In “Hindenburg’s Fatal Flaws,” the history series examines the 1937 tragedy of the Hindenburg airship disaster, sifting through memos and newly discovered letters that reveal construction flaws that might have averted the explosion.
- CSI: Vegas (10/9c, CBS): The CSI lab goes on lockdown after Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara (Jorja Fox) find evidence pointing to a new suspect in the crime lab. But there are still crimes to solve, including bizarre murders at a clown-themed hotel (which already sounds plenty scary).
- Intergalactic (10/9c, Syfy): If you missed it when it streamed on Peacock, the British sci-fi series now airs weekly. Savannah Steyn stars as Ash Harper, a space cop framed for treason, who’s being shipped to a prison colony when a band of female criminals seizes control of the transport and forces Ash to fly them away.