Syfy’s risqué magic show returns for a fourth season. And the rapper Killer Mike hosts a documentary series on Netflix.
What’s on TV
THE MAGICIANS 9 p.m. on Syfy. Over three seasons Syfy’s fantasy show about students at a school for magic has differentiated itself from, you know, that other series you probably just thought of, through a potent mixture of killings, depression and magic-augmented sex. The magical youngish adults here, adapted from novels by Lev Grossman, use words like “vibe” and phrases like “pro tip”; the story centers on a graduate student, Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), and some other magic students who struggle with both magical malefactors and mental health. In his review of the first season for The New York Times, Mike Hale wrote that the series “manages to be more engaging and credible than the usual basic-cable genre drama,” noting that it’s “different enough in its details that from moment to moment you can forget how derivative it is.” The fourth season, debuting Wednesday night, involves rebellion and memory loss.
DROP THE MIC 10 p.m. on TNT. This musical competition series, birthed from a segment on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and previously on TBS, returns on its new home network: TNT. The show pits celebrities against each other in rap battles. Previous guests have included Seth Rogen, Taye Diggs and Molly Ringwald. Wednesday’s episode has a pair of face-offs, with the “Saturday Night Live” alums Taran Killam and Rob Riggle going head-to-head before Boy George takes on Laverne Cox of “Orange Is the New Black.”
TRIGGER WARNING WITH KILLER MIKE Stream on Netflix. While actors rap in “Drop the Mic,” the actual rapper Killer Mike takes a turn as a TV host in this documentary series, which looks at issues that affect blacks in America. Killer Mike, known as one half of the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, does this in the first episode by trying to spend three days buying and consuming only products from black-owned businesses. Along the way he interviews Shareef Abdul-Malik, the founder of the website We Buy Black, and eats barbecue with his fellow Run the Jewels Rapper, El-P — or rather he almost does, until he realizes that the meat isn’t from a black-owned farm. Then he asks for a takeout box.
I AM NOT A WITCH (2018) Rent on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu. Britain’s entry for best foreign language film at this year’s Academy Awards (it was not nominated) is an absurdist tale from the Zambian-born, Welsh-raised director Rungano Nyoni. Maggie Mulubwa stars as Shula, an orphan who, after arriving in a Zambian village, is accused of being a witch. Her refusal to confirm or deny the accusation matters little; she’s grouped with the town’s other “witches” and forced to become an unpaid laborer and, at times, a tourist attraction. “The film is perhaps overly repetitive in emphasizing Shula’s inability to escape exploitation,” Ben Kenigsberg wrote in The Times. “But the story is put across with formal confidence and real originality.”