TV’s wildest legal drama, The Good Fight, ends its fifth season with chaos in the community courts. Comedy Central’s The Other Two moves to HBO Max for a second season. Brooklyn Nine-Nine sends Jake on a personal mission with an old frenemy. Meet one of the world’s most renowned domino topplers in Lily Topples the World. A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
“I thought the craziness would end with 2020,” laments lawyer Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) in the fifth-season finale of the provocative legal dramedy. No such luck. Fake community courts like Judge Wackner’s (Mandy Patinkin)—and now one staged in the living room of the formidable Judge Vinetta (CCH Pounder)—are causing our favorite TV lawyers no end of chaos as events come to a head. With the firm’s owners paying a visit from Dubai, the pressure is on to keep their drug-kingpin client Oscar Rivi (Tony Plana) out of prison, but these pesky alt-courts are complicating matters. Things get especially heated in Wackner’s court when revolutionaries hoping to split Illinois into two separate states get rowdy enough to bring back awful memories of Jan. 6. “Truth is never decided by who’s most noisy,” Wackner rules. But will anyone listen?
The hilarious comedy about siblings struggling to make it in New York is back for a second snarky season, moving from Comedy Central to HBO Max with back-to-back episodes. Cary (Drew Tarver), a gay barely-surviving actor, and sister Brooke (Hélene Yorke), a would-be talent agent, are no longer living in the shadow of their younger brother Chase (Case Walker), a pop star who’s shucked his career for NYU. They’re currently being humiliated daily by the unexpected success of their mother, Pat (an uproarious Molly Shannon), now a daytime TV talk-show host who can’t stop jabbering on about her kids. My favorite running gag: Cary’s interchangeable online hosting gigs, including “The Gay Minute” for Huff Po Live, “The Daily Buzz” for BuzzFeed, “The Daily Thrill” for Thrillist, you get the picture. It isn’t pretty.
As the final season of the quirky cop comedy continues, Jake (Andy Samberg) has what would seem to be one last encounter with his closest frenemy: Doug Judy (an inspired Craig Robinson), the career criminal who made a second career of escaping from Jake’s clutches. Their ensuing road trip, with “sexy surprises” and confounding twists along the way, makes for a truly delightful episode.
Winner of several festival awards, this acclaimed documentary profiles Lily Hevesh, the 20something domino toppler whose elaborate chain-reaction creations have earned her over 1 billion YouTube views (once you start, you can’t stop watching). The film follows this quietly charming Chinese adoptee over three years as she plants her flag in a male-dominated field.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Coroner (8/7c, The CW): Seeming to borrow from the Nine Perfect Strangers playbook, Jenny’s (Serinda Swan) latest case takes her to a retreat center where a body is found within a maze, leaving the coroner wondering what kind of therapy is going on there.
- grown-ish (8/7c, Freeform): Zoey (Yara Shahidi) takes on cancel culture when Luca (Luka Sabbat) calls out her boss on social media.
- Making It (9/8c, NBC): The third-season finale names a new Master Maker after a final challenge in which the Makers turn a shed into their personal “happy place.” Which pretty well describes this lovable competition.
- Paralympics (9/8c, NBCSN): Prime-time coverage includes track & field, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, track cycling and goalball. (Replays of overnight/early morning events start at 3 pm/ET on Olympic Channel.)
- Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole (9/8c, A&E): A second season of the docuseries about juvenile offenders seeking resentencing looks at the emotional impact on family and friends as the courts decide whether these young convicts could or should be released back into their community.
- Family Reunion (streaming on Netflix): Returning for Part 4—which translates to the second half of Season 2—the family sitcom starring Loretta Devine and Tia Mowry-Hardrict features episodes involving the acknowledgement of a closeted family member, the legacy of the N-word and a Christmastime homage to The Wiz.
- Monster in the Shadows (streaming on Peacock): A three-part true-crime docuseries revisits the nearly decade-long search for Brittney Wood, a 19-year-old single mom from Alabama. The investigation led to the revelation that members of her family were part of a child sex-abuse ring, but the whereabouts of Brittney remain a mystery.
- RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (streaming on Paramount+): To decide who makes it to the Grand Finale, the remaining all-stars share personal stories in “The Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent Monologues.” Dear White People writer/director Justin Simien joins the judges’ panel.
- Mosquito State (streaming on Shudder): A psychological thriller being compared to David Cronenberg’s iconic chillers stars Beau Knapp as a Wall Street data analyst who cocoons in his Central Park penthouse studying computer models—and a mosquito infestation that reflects his encroaching madness.