‘Women of the Movement,’ A ‘Ghosts’ Hunt, ‘Joe Millionaire,’ An ‘SVU’ Comeback
Tony winner Adrienne Warren (Tina) embodies civil-rights figure Mamie Till-Mobley in a powerful limited series for ABC. On new hit sitcom Ghosts, Sam’s ability to see spirits gets personal. Fox revives the Joe Millionaire dating franchise, with a twist. A familiar face returns to Law & Order: SVU.
Women of the Movement
Having won a Tony for playing Tina Turner on Broadway, Adrienne Warren brings fire to her portrayal of another significant woman warrior: Mamie Till-Mobley, whose advocacy on behalf of her teenage son Emmitt, murdered by racists in Mississippi in 1955, helped ignite the Civil Rights Movement. The first chapter of the limited series (continuing Jan. 13 and 20) depicts the strong bond between mother and son, his senseless murder and Mamie’s determination to bring his body back to Chicago so all can see what the evils of racism have wrought. Followed by the first installment of Let the World See (10/9c), an ABC News docuseries that digs deeper into Mamie’s story. Nia Long reads excerpts from her memoir, and former First Lady Michelle Obama also appears to provide context to this civil-rights pioneer’s legacy. (See the full review).
The fall’s brightest new network comedy returns with Sam (Rose McIver) and husband Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) on a road trip to Ohio, a personal mission for Sam to see if her gift for seeing spirits extends to her own deceased mom (Rachael Harris) in hopes of an astral reconciliation. Back at the estate, Sasappis (Román Zaragoza) exposes a secret about Pete (Richie Moriarty) that puts the former scout leader in the rare position of lying. As a rowdy denizen of the basement “cholera pit,” Betsy Sodaro just about steals the episode.
Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer
Because TV’s dating-show pool isn’t deep enough, Fox revives this franchise after 19 years with a significant twist. The new Joe Millionaire introduces two hot bachelors—Kurt, from the construction world, and farmer Steven—only one of whom is a millionaire. They’re hiding the truth from 20 women who are seeking a love connection, and these patsies will have to decide whether to follow their hearts, or their pocketbooks. Doesn’t that just warm the heart?
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Donal Logue, who recurred on the long-running crime drama in 2014 and 2015, returns as the NYPD’s Declan Murphy, now a captain in the Hate Crimes Division. He enlists the SVU unit to help his (including guest star Jason Biggs as Det. Andy Parlato-Goldstein) investigate a wave of hate crimes sweeping through NYC on Christmas Eve. This also gives Declan an opportunity to reconnect with Amanda Rollins (Kelly Giddish), whose first child he fathered.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Elite Youth (6/5c, FS1): After a year off because of the pandemic, the sports docuseries returns for a four-episode Season 3, following top high-school basketball players as they enter 2021’s Elite Youth Basketball League.
- Young Sheldon (8/7c, CBS): When Sheldon (Iain Armitage) gets his own private dorm room to chill during gaps between classes, he suddenly becomes popular after he lets other students borrow it at night (shades of Billy Wilder’s The Apartment). What will he do when he realizes they’re using it as a “goof-off room?” Reba McEntire returns as June, who takes a special interest in Meemaw’s (Annie Potts) illegal backroom gambling den.
- The Blacklist (8/7c, NBC): The focus turns to Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff), whose downward spiral after Liz’s (Megan Boone) death is detailed in a series of flashbacks.
- BattleBots (8/7c, Discovery): The world’s premiere robot-fighting competition heads to Las Vegas, where 60-plus teams try to take the Giant Nut trophy from New Zealand bot End Game. After sitting out the 2020 season, Blacksmith, Duck! and Icewave come back.
- Go-Big Show (9/8c, TBS): Rapper T-Pain joins judges Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Nettles and Cody Rhodes for Season 2 of the extreme stunt-and-talent competition. First up: an aerialist who hangs from his teeth vs. an ice-smashing strongman.
- B Positive (9:30/8:30c, CBS): Staying positive may be a challenge when Drew (Thomas Middleditch) returns from his road trip to comfort Gina (Annaleigh Ashford) and the retirement-home residents as they mourn a dear friend.
- Meddling (streaming on Peacock): The first of several Winter Games-themed Olympics documentaries leading up to next month’s Beijing games is a four-part series revisiting the 2002 figure-skating judging scandal, when favored Canadian pair Jamie Sale and David Pelletier finished second behind Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze in an alleged vote-trading scheme.
- Joe Montana: Cool Under Pressure (streaming on Peacock): Another sports docuseries on the streamer profiles the legendary 49ers quarterback over six episodes.