Worth Watching: Inside ‘Light & Magic,’ ‘High School Musical’ Gets ‘Frozen,’ Virtual Reality Gets Real

Wisc 1920 1st

A six-part docuseries goes behind the scenes of the pioneering special-effects company Industrial Light & Magic. A new season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series heads to summer camp, with Frozen on the agenda. An HBO documentary filmed entirely in virtual reality profiles communities and relationships forged within the world of VR Chat. Shark Week highlights include an adventure aboard a Mechashark submersible and the creation of a Shark Dome research platform.

Series Premiere

A six-part docuseries from director/screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) goes behind the scenes of the legendary special-effects company that has been pushing the SFX envelope since George Lucas founded ILM during production of Star Wars. Filmmakers including Kasdan’s Raiders of the Lost Ark colleague Steven Spielberg reflects on how ILM helped bring their fantastic visions to extraordinary life in movies like Jurassic Park and Terminator 2 (Robert Patrick’s liquid-metal assassin).

Season Premiere

The brilliant successor to Glee heads to summer camp for its third season of adolescent musical hijinks, with a production of Frozen—and a behind-the-scenes docuseries being filmed simultaneously—heating up the Wildcats’ competitive juices. New arrivals at Camp Shallow Lake with impressive vocal prowess raise the stakes. Among the season’s guest stars: Tony winner Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and JoJo Siwa.

Documentary Premiere

9/8c

Filmed entirely in virtual reality with participants seen as magical avatars, this documentary explores communities and deep personal relationships formed within the world of VR Chat. Social isolation during the pandemic accelerated the growth of this form of interaction, and among the film’s subjects is Jenny, an American Sign Language teacher who brings together deaf and hearing-impaired users. The special also follows several couples who meet in VR as they prepare to make a connection IRL (in real life).

Documentary Premiere

9/8c

neither Shark Week continues its weeklong series of research missions, expert China Scollay takes a one-man submersible called the Mechashark to a secret New Zealand location, hoping to locate a Great White shark mating ground. Followed by Mission Shark Dome (10/9c), in which more shark mavens create an underwater research platform from which they can free-dive and get even closer to great whites.

Inside Wednesday TV:

  • The Challenge: USA (9/8c, CBS): Talk about jeopardy: Host TJ Lavin challenges the contestants to a trivia contest while they’re having over the ledge of a 30-story building. Acrophobia for $600!
  • Wellington Paranormal (9/8c, The CW): The horror comedy’s fourth season, directly following the third, begins with the hunt for a bird/human hybrid who’s attracted to shiny things like the “W” in the city’s “Wellington” sign.
  • grown-ish (10/9c, Freeform): A Cal U secret society causes tension between Junior (Marcus Scribner) and Annika (Justine Skye). And it’s only his freshman year.
  • Netflix highlights include a third season of Dream Home Makeovera fourth season of Car Masters: Rust to Riches and the new documentary The Most Hated Man on the Internetfollowing a mother’s crusade to take down a “professional life ruiner” and his revenge-porn hub.