‘Ghosts’ Pantsless Spirit, ‘Young Sheldon’ Hits 100, Sarah Lancashire Is ‘Julia,’ ‘Kitchen’ Saboteurs
CBS’s hit comedy Ghosts reveals the backstory of Trevor’s missing pants. Young Sheldon marks its 100th episode. British actress Sarah Lancashire is delightful as TV cooking legend Julia Child in an HBO Max dramedy. In TBS’s Rat in the Kitchen, a comedic cooking competition embeds a saboteur among its contestants.
However did Wall Street bro-ghost Trevor (Asher Grodman) get caught with his pants (and boxers) down through eternity? This eternal mystery of sartorial humiliation is finally addressed in another fun episode of the freshman hit comedy. As is often the case, the catalyst for the backstory involves a visit to Woodstone Mansion by someone with a shared past—this time, one of Trevor’s more obnoxious bros (Rob Huebel), who was there the night Trevor died half-naked (though somehow with shoes and fancy socks intact). As the truth spills out, it won’t be just Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones) reacting with dramatic gasps.
A longer-running CBS hit is a kid no longer. Young Sheldon marks its milestone 100th episode with some significant moments for the Cooper family. At college, Sheldon (Iain Armitage) is surprised with a visit by fellow prodigy Paige (McKenna Grace), who may be even less well adjusted to college social life than our favorite officious brainiac. Back home, they’re dealing with the fallout from Meemaw’s (Annie Potts) breakup with Dale (Craig T. Nelson), and Georgie (Montana Jordan) is in hot water with older girlfriend Mandy (Emily Osment) after he finally levels with her.
How We Roll
Even Ghosts as a lead-in might not be able to float this middling sitcom based on the life of pro bowling world champ Tom Smallwood. A sheepish Pete Holmes (Crashing) stars as Tom, a devoted family man who decides to chase his dream of PBA stardom after being laid off from a factory’s assembly line. Hairstylist wife Jen (Scandal’s Katie Lowes) has his back, though his snappish mom (Julie White) has always cautioned him to play it safe. Chi McBride steals his scenes as the bowling-alley mentor who urges Tom to go for it, but there are too few strikes of genuine humor to keep you from drifting to your own snack bar.
As TV cooking legend Julia Child of The French Chef fame, Sarah Lancashire serves up a four-course banquet of sheer joy in a delightful dramedy inspired by Child’s pioneering start in public TV in the early 1960s. With creative liberties and a light comic flair, Julia dramatizes the challenges she faced convincing producers and executives that a middle-aged woman with a high voice and ungainly frame could become a TV star by demystifying French cuisine in front of a camera. Thankfully, she has loving support from David Hyde Pierce as her diplomat husband Paul and fellow Frasier alum Bebe Neuwirth as her widowed best friend Avis. (See the full review.)
Rat in the Kitchen
I’m not sure Julia Child would approve of this comedic twist on cooking competitions, which adds elements of The Mole and The Hustler to the basic recipe. Still, it’s fun to play along with the hosts—comedian Natasha Leggero and celebrity chef/judge Ludo Lefebvre—as six ambitious chefs take on culinary challenges, always with an eye on who among them is the secret mole dedicated to sabotaging their dishes. If the “rat” successfully ruins a dish, Ludo will “fail” the team, putting more money in the mole’s coffer. (The bank starts at $50,000 for the chefs.) At the end, the players reveal who they think is responsible for such mishaps as a fruit-less cobbler or an undercooked steak. If they’re right, they keep what money they’ve earned. If the rat escapes undetected, he or she wins the “cheddar.” (I guessed right in the premiere.)
Now in the U.K., Earn (Donald Glover) and his crew have another encounter with the surreal as they accept an invitation to a billionaire’s most unusual home for a party that goes sideways fast. The most disturbing encounter, once again, involves Darius (LaKeith Stanfield), who’s unnerved when spectators take a perceived racial insult way out of proportion.
Star Trek: Picard
Brent Spiner from The Next Generation returns—not as Data, but as geneticist Dr. Adam Soong—as the sci-fi series introduces yet another figure from Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) past who could be critical in keeping the timeline from going haywire. The adventure continues with Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Seven (Jeri Ryan) scheming to keep Rios (Santiago Cabrera) from being deported by 21st-century ICE officials, and Agnes (Alison Pill) running afoul of the Born Queen’s (Annie Wersching) sinister machinations.
The streamer appears to have another sci-fi hit with its series based on the Xbox game. In the second episode, Master Chief John (Pablo Schreiber) learns more about the mysterious object that keeps triggering his human emotions, while Dr. Halsey (Natascha McElhone) hatches a plan to control his newly unpredictable behaviors.
Also On the Stream:
- Inventions That Changed History (streaming on discovery+): A new series explores the origins of pop-culture curiosities from waterbeds and barf bags to rubber chickens, Easy Bake ovens and vending machines, with celebrities sharing their own fond childhood memories.
- The Dropout (streaming on Hulu): In the penultimate chapter of the gripping docudrama, tension is high as Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) and Sunny (Naveen Andrews) ramp up the legal pressure on any potential whistleblowers who could confirm the Wall Street Journal’s pending exposé on fraud within Theranos—and this puts young Tyler Shultz (Dylan Minnette) in the hottest seat imaginable.
- The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder (streaming on Paramount+): A revival of the popular Nickelodeon animated children’s show (2001-17) now focuses on Timmy Turner’s 13-year-old cousin Viv, relocated to a new town with stepbrother Roy as they inherit Timmy’s fairy godparents Wanda and Cosmo.
- Wisting (streaming on Sundance Now): The second season of the Norwegian crime drama puts Detective Wisting (Sven Nordin) on the trail of an escaped convict who planned his getaway while leading the police on a crime-scene inspection.
- First Day (streaming on Hulu): The timely and topical Australian high-school drama returns for a second season, with transgender teen Hannah (Evie Macdonald) running for Class Captain and starting an LGBTQIA+ group. Doubt this will be required viewing in Florida classrooms.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Ex on the Beach (8/7c, MTV): Reality-TV “stars” sign up for the fifth season of the relationship series, traveling to Spain’s Grand Canary Island where they’ll be tempted by new love interests as well as past flames.
- The United States of Al (8:30/7:30c, CBS): On the rebound from Ariana, Al (Adhir Kalyan) starts dating Cindy (Glee’s Jayma Mays), but is she too wild for him? Riley (Parker Young) thinks so.
- Call Me Kat (9/8c, Fox): By sheer coincidence, on the same night CBS launches its bowling-themed sitcom How We Roll, we get to see how Kat (Mayim Bialik) rolls when she’s urged by Phil (Leslie Jordan) and Oscar (Christopher Rivas) to join their bowling team.
- Grey’s Anatomy (9/8c, ABC): As if the doctor shortage weren’t enough, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is once again MIA from Grey Sloan when she tries to leave work behind to spend a sick day with daughter Zola (Aniela Gumbs).
- Bull (10/9c, CBS): Bull (Michael Weatherly) reluctantly takes a back seat in a medical malpractice case involving the surgeon who saved his life after his heart attack. Series star Geneva Carr (Marissa) directs for the first time.