Wednesday TV: How to Be a Dictator

DictatorsCreating a culture of fear, creating a common enemy, creating myth to justify governance, controlling the press, propaganda and creating a cult of personality were all common traits of the six totalitarians cover in the new docuseries “The Dictator’s Playbook” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

The weekly profile of a half dozen 20th Century rulers begins with a riveting look at Kim Il Sung who rose from poverty to build the most controlled society on earth, whose regime continues after three generations.

“The Goldbergs” (ABC, 8 p.m.) manages to create a spin-off, with Barry’s ex-girlfriend Lainey returning to her old high school as its music teacher. AJ Michalka (half of the pop group Aly & AJ) stars; Tim Meadows, who had played the school’s guidance counselor, is now the principal; Bryan Callen’s Coach Mellor also returns.  And the makers exploit nostalgia for the 90s the way the original show does for the 90s.

“You’re the Worst” (FX, 10 p.m.) returns for its final season with a splendid episode that sets the stage for the season’s central story — the wedding planning of Aya Cash’s Gretchen and Chris Geere’s Jimmy, and whether it will happen at all. Stephen Falk’s sharp comedy is rounded out by Kether Donohue and Desmin Borges.

“Modern Family” (ABC, 9 p.m.) returns with new episodes, with Haley and Dylan looking to find their own place before the baby comes.

“The Masked Singer” (Fox, 9 p.m.) set a ratings record in its weird premiere last week, the highest rated reality telecast in two seasons, with 14 million viewers. It will be interesting if it can keep up the interest with its second episode, which will feature singing from Rabbit, Alien, Raven, Pineapple, Poodle and Bee.

Andrea Savage returns with a second season of her comedy “I’m Sorry” (truTV, 10 p.m.) a year and a half after the first, which has become popular on Netflix in the meantime.

David Attenborough looks at a fish lizard called the ichthyosaur on “Nature” (PBS, 8 p.m.).

“Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell & Back” (Fox, 8 p.m.) tries to save the Shanty on 19th restaurant in Allentown.

“Nova” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) looks at Einstein’s quantum studies.

Dr. Rhodes goes to a gala on “Chicago Med” (NBC, 8 p.m.). Casey and Naomi are in peril on “Chicago Fire” (NBC, 9 p.m.) and carjackings turn deadly on “Chicago P.D.” (NBC, 10 p.m.).

Jennifer goes to Turkey on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” (Bravo, 9 p.m.) and so does “SEAL Team” (CBS, 9 p.m.).

Will auditions as a TV weatherman on “Single Parents” (ABC, 9:30 p.m.).

On “Criminal Minds” (CBS, 10 p.m.) three 10-year-old children appear to have been abducted.

Kenyan Thompson, Ellie Kemper, Tyler Hoechlin, Sherri Sheperd, Horatio Sanz and Jillian Bell are panelists as “Match Game” (ABC, 10 p.m.) returns for its fourth season.

“True Life Now” (MTV, 10 p.m.) concentrates on people who obsess on their own butts, as do people on “Botched” (E!, 9 p.m.).

“Mysteries at the Museum” (Travel, 9 p.m.) has a special episode called “Alien Encounters in Area 51.”

The second in three Thursdays of Elia Kazan’s work on Turner Classic Movies has “America America” (8 p.m.), “A Face in the Crowd” (11 p.m.), “Panic in the Streets” (1:15 a.m.) and “Man on a Tightrope” (3 a.m.).

Then it’s stories of jailbreaks all day with “Sagebrush Trail” (6:15 a.m.), “Bad Guy” (7:15 a.m.), “Public Hero No. 1” (8:30 a.m.), “His Greatest Gamble” (10:15 a.m.), “Deep Valley” (11:30 a.m.), “Dust Be My Destiny” (1:30 p.m.), “Brute Force” (3 p.m.), “Each Dawn I Die” (4:45 p.m.) and “The Big House” (6:30 p.m.).

NBA action includes Milwaukee at Houston (ESPN, 8 p.m.) and Detroit at Lakers (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.).

Hockey has Nashville at Chicago (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.).

Men’s college basketball includes Georgetown at Xavier (Fox Spots 1, 6:30 p.m.), Marquette at Creighton (CBS Sports, 7 p.m.), Burn at Mississippi (ESPN2, 7 p.m.), Houston at Temple (ESPNews, 7 p.m.), West Virginia at Kansas State (ESPNU, 7 p.m.), Butler at Seton Hall (Fox Sports 1, 8:30 p.m.), Massachusetts at Saint Louis (CBS Sports, 9 p.m.), TCU at Kansas (ESPN2, 9 p.m.), Virginia at Boston College (ESPNU, 9 p.m.) and San Jose State at Nevada (CBS Sports, 11 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest: Gwyneth Paltrow, Cobie Smulders, Dr. Melina Jampolis. The View: Terry Crews, Jamie Oliver. The Talk: Judith Light, Mike Bayer. Ellen DeGeneres: Liev Schreiber. Wendy Williams: Van Jones (run). The Real: Jermaine Dupri, Master P, Romeo, Vanessa Simmons.

Late Talk

Stephen Colbert: Kevin Hart, Nicole Byer. Jimmy Kimmel: Mahershala Ali, Maura Tierney, Jeff Tweedy. Jimmy Fallon: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tony Hale, Trippie Redd. Seth Meyers: Andy Samberg, Josh Hutcherson, Charlie Hall. James Corden: Amy Adams, Tyler Perry, Mekki Leeper. Carson Daly: Mira Sorvino, Houndmouth, Daniel Ezra (rerun). Trevor Noah: Barry Jenkins.

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