What's On: ‘Good Place’ Returns, ‘Talent’ and ‘Salvation’ Finales

Matt Roush
Vivian Zink/NBC

Ted Danson and Kristen Bell

A critical checklist of Wednesday TV:

The Good Place (10/9c, NBC): The devilishly clever comedy returns with an hourlong premiere on a special night (it will regularly air Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c starting next week). Having learned in last season’s shocking finale that they were really in the “bad place” all along, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and her crew have their memories wiped by overseer Michael (a gleeful Ted Danson) for a reset. This time, he and his deceptively heavenly conspirators set out to make the afterlife a truly living hell for snarky Eleanor, the indecisive Chidi (William Jackson Harper), the vainglorious Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and slacker supreme Jason (Manny Jacinto). But Eleanor left a clue behind, and despite Michael’s most desperate efforts, the gang can’t quite quit each other amid the merry confusion. In its second season, The Good Place remains one of TV’s most original comedies.

America’s Got Talent (8/7c, NBC): Giving The Good Place the best possible launching pad, NBC leads in with the 12th-season finale of the hit summer competition, crowning a winner from the Top 10, but not before a starry array of guest performers take the stage: Kelly Clarkson, Shania Twain, Derek Hough, 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur, comedians Kevin Nealon and Jeff Dunham, and Season 2 AGT winner and fan favorite Terry Fator. This season’s winner gets a $1 million prize and a stage show in November at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Salvation (10/9c, CBS): Still unclear if it’s the end of the world or the end of the series or just a season finale, Salvation wraps its freshman summer run with a climax in which Harris (Ian Anderson Dale) works with Grace (Jennifer Finnigan) and Darius (Santiago Cabrera) to take down the government while also making final plans for the ark. (Which always sounds to me like where The CW’s The 100 began.)

The night’s other finale, of USA’s darker-than-dark The Sinner (10/9c), teases only that Cora’s (Jessica Biel) fate will be determined. It can’t be much worse than her past, finally revealed in all of its horrific glory last week as she revisited the scene of her greatest trauma in an extended flashback. Will Detective Ambrose (Bill Pullman) help her find peace? This doesn’t seem like a show that would know what to do with even a relatively happy ending.

Mr. Mercedes (8/7c, AT&T Audience Network): In a pivotal episode of this first-rate Stephen King adaptation, penned by acclaimed novelist Dennis Lehane, Brady (Harry Treadaway) is driven to the brink by pressures at work and at home, where his snoopy train-wreck of a mom (Kelly Lynch) finally does the math regarding the actions of her twisted son. All of which should put Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) on alert, as he enlists Jerome (Jharrel Jerome) and Holly (Justine Lupe) to do some computer sleuthing while he comforts Janey (Mary-Louise Parker) during her mom’s funeral.

Inside Wednesday TV: National Geographic’s Breaking2 (8/7c) is a collaboration with Nike Inc. in which the latest of sports technology combines with human endurance in a quest for three world-class runners to attempt to break the two-hour marathon barrier. … The fourth chapter of PBS’s The Vietnam War (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) contains some of the most powerful reflections of soldiers on both sides of the conflict, while depicting a growing anti-war movement on the homefront. … Syfy’s Channel Zero horror anthology returns with the six-part No-End House (10/9c), based on a “creepypasta” Internet legend about a house of horrors where every room gets progressively weirder. … Geopolitics intrudes on Comedy Central’s South Park (10/9c) when North Korea takes aim at the Colorado town. This can’t end well.

 

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