Wednesday TV: Dog Talks But Don’t Worry

DownwardDogTalking animals don’t usually make for great sitcoms, be they “Mister Ed,” the cat on “Sabrina” or whatever those things were on “Alf” and the now cancelled “Imaginary Mary.”

Against those odds, the needy pooch on “Downward Dog” (ABC, 8:30 p.m.) seems tolerable, though the hipster voice of Samm Hodges makes it a bit grating. There are all kinds of other things going for this agreeable comedy, though —mostly its star Allison Tolman, the talented actress from the first season of “Fargo.” Her presence alone, coupled with a lighter touch on the writing, separates this from a lot of network comedy fare and may well be worthy of your attention.

Elsewhere, the life of the actor is celebrated in the documentary “I Am Heath Ledger” (Spike, 10 p.m.). The film by Adrian Buitenhuis and Derik Murray concentrates less on Ledger’s death at 28 in 2008.

A flurry of season finales run tonight on “The Goldbergs” (ABC, 8 p.m.) and “Modern Family” (ABC, 9 p.m.), which both feature graduations, as well as “Blindspot” (NBC, 8 p.m.), “Speechless” (8:30 p.m.), “Designated Survivor” (ABC, 10 p.m.) and “Chicago, P.D.” (NBC, 10 p.m.). All of them are returning next season.

One show that isn’t shows its final episodes ever, the spinoff “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” (CBS, 9 and 10 p.m.).

The first part of the two-part season finale of “Empire” (Fox, 9 p.m.) tonight has Cookie going after Giuliana, looking to steal her secret weapon.

Nikki and Ray make a sex tape to extract ransom pay from Emmit on “Fargo” (FX, 10 p.m.). Sy has his coffee cup violated, and there is a brutal beat down.

We learn more about the backstory of the Commander’s wife, played by a stern Yvonne Strahovski, on a new episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu, streaming).

The successful first season of “Brockmire” (IFC, 10 p.m.) — the network’s biggest hit — comes to the end with the sportscaster weighing options.

A pair of tribal councils thins the castaways to six on tonight’s “Survivor” (CBS, 8 p.m.) in advance of next week’s finale.

It’s Don Pietro vs. O’Principe on a new episode of “Gomorrah” (Sundance, 10 p.m.).

The governor makes a difficult decision on “Shots Fired” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

Black Siren returns to help Chase on “Arrow” (The CW, 8 p.m.).

A woman is raped by a member of her church on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC, 9 p.m.).

“Nova” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) looks at China’s first super-weapon, which dominated battlefields for more than 1,000 years, was the chariot.

The new three-part “Food – Delicious Science” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) looks at how chemistry in food affects the brain and creates cravings.

“Andy Cohen’s Then & Now” (Bravo, 10 p.m.) looks at 1985.

“Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry” (E!, 8 p.m.) returns for its third season, digging into deaths related to Eva Longoria, Bobby Brown and JWoww.

Clarke leads a group to save a friend on “The 100” (The CW, 9 p.m.).

I’m a little shocked they could find so many super obese people to fill five seasons of “My 600-lb Life” (TLC, 8 p.m.). And tonight is the 20th episode of the fifth season.

The American actress Frances Dee is featured tonight on Turner Classic Movies in “Happy Land” (8 p.m.), “An American Tragedy” (9:30 p.m.), “I Walked with a Zombie” (11:30 p.m.), “Four Faces West” (1 a.m.), “Of Human Bondage” (2:45 a.m.), “Finishing School” (4:15 a.m.) and “Love is a Racket” (5:45 a.m.).

The NBA moves to the Eastern conference finals with game 1 of Cleveland at Boston (TNT, 8:30 p.m.).

The Stanley Cup playoffs have Pittsburgh at Ottawa (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.).

baseball includes Tampa Bay at Cleveland (MLB, noon), Dodgers at San Francisco (MLB, 3:30 p.m.) and Boston at St. Louis (ESPN, 8 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly and Ryan: Debra Messing, Gina Rodriguez. The View: Seth Meyers. The Talk: Ice Cube, Jaymes Vaughan. Harry Connick: Daphne Oz, Lisa Oz, Yara Shahid, Colton Smith & Jack Steward. Ellen DeGeneres: Reese Witherspoon. Wendy Williams: Jussie Smollett, Hilaria baldwin. The Real: Remy Ma.

Late Talk

Stephen Colbert: Julie Chen, Matt Walsh, David Ortiz. Jimmy Kimmel: Bryan Cranston, Kelly Rohrbach, Paramore, Hunter Hayes. Jimmy Fallon: Kerry Washington, Tim Tebow, David Crosby, Brendon Urie. Seth Meyers: Naomi Watts, Hank Azaria, BNQT, Mark Guiliana. James Corden: Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup, Harry Styles. Carson Daly: Joseph Fiennes, No Parents, Chris Shiflett, Eugene Mirman. Trevor Noah: Susan Burton. Conan O’Brien: Mark Wahlberg, Elle Fanning, Judah & the Lion (rerun).

 

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