What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘The Magicians’ and ‘Zombieland’



Faran Tahir in “The Magicians.” Credit Eike Schroter/Syfy

“The Magicians” returns for its third season. And a new millennial buddy comedy starts on Freeform.

What’s on TV

THE MAGICIANS 9 p.m. on Syfy. Like “Harry Potter,” there are young adults studying magic — but this series, adapted from the novels by Lev Grossman, is distinct for its American identity (it is set at a New York college) and its unflinching look at heavier themes, such as sexual assault and death. But the show also possesses zippy humor and pop-culture references galore, with the characters singing a portion of “Les Misérables” in one episode. “I don’t just appreciate it or respect it, I actively enjoy it,” Margaret Lyons wrote in The New York Times’ Watching column. The third season begins on Wednesday, as Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Julia (Stella Maeve) try to bring magic back to the world.

ZOMBIELAND (2009) 7:30 p.m. on Starz. Actors on the cusp of stardom, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone, played survivors of a zombie apocalypse on a road trip for their lives in this comedy-horror film. “The movie is strictly a compendium of all the ways to off zombies, which can be downed with guns, of course, as well as baseball bats, gardening tools, a toilet-bowl lid, even a piano,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review in The Times.

THIRD ANNUAL HOWIE MANDEL STAND-UP GALA 8 p.m. on the CW. Cedric the Entertainer, Cristela Alonzo, Ron Funches and more perform from the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal.


Benji Aflalo and Esther Povitsky in “Alone Together.” Credit Freeform/Byron Cohen

ALONE TOGETHER 8:30 p.m. on Freeform. Esther Povitsky and Benji Aflalo honed their comedy chops at Second City and the Groundlings before creating this sitcom with the help of the Lonely Island, the series’ executive producers. The show stars the pair as exaggerated versions of themselves navigating millennial life in Los Angeles; they deal with disastrous romantic encounters, unfulfilling jobs and plenty of questions about why they aren’t dating.

NOVA: BLACK HOLE APOCALYPSE 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). This two-hour special isn’t as sensationalist as its title. The astrophysicist and author Janna Levin leads an in-depth exploration of black holes and what they can tell us about the nature of space, time and gravity. Interviews are conducted with prominent scientists, including Paul Murdin, who helped discover the first confirmed black hole, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

What’s Streaming


Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener in “Capote.” Credit Attila Dory/United Artists

CAPOTE (2005) on Hulu. Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar for his mesmerizing portrayal of Truman Capote in this film. It follows the genesis of Mr. Capote’s true-crime book, “In Cold Blood,” a meticulously researched and gripping narrative published long before the genre was in vogue, as Mr. Capote and Harper Lee, his close friend, head to Holcomb, Kan., to investigate four 1959 murders. The deeper he digs into the sordid tale, the more it threatens his mental well-being. “‘Capote’ unflinchingly faces the moral abyss at the heart of the journalistic enterprise,” A. O. Scott wrote in his review in The Times.

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