What's On: ‘Young Sheldon’ Returns, ‘Good Place’ and ‘Will & Grace’ Fall Finales, ‘S.W.A.T.’
Young Sheldon (8:30/7:30c, CBS): After a one-time tease in September, the Big Bang Theory spinoff/prequel finally arrives in prime time in its regular time period, following Big Bang in its move back to Thursday now that CBS’s football deal is over for the year. New to the cast since the pilot: Designing Women’s Annie Potts as Sheldon’s beloved Meewaw. But the real draw here is adorable Iain Armitage as the 9-year-old version of budding genius Sheldon Cooper (whose older self narrates in voice-over by Jim Parsons). Sheldon is a precocious oddity in his East Texas high school in 1989, and to ease his worried mother Mary’s (Zoe Perry) concerns, little Sheldon consults a self-help book to try to make a fiend at his new school.
CBS’s restored Thursday lineup includes Emmy winner Bob Newhart’s return to The Big Bang Theory (8/7c) as the now-deceased Professor Proton aka Arthur Jeffries, who grumpily appears in Sheldon’s dreams when the lifelong Proton fan fancies himself the most natural candidate to become the new TV Professor. Sheldon’s nemesis Wil Wheaton may have something to say about that. … Back for a fourth season, Mom (9/8) finds Bonnie (Allison Janney) reacting oddly to boyfriend Adam (William Fitchner) when he suggests taking their relationship to the next level. A sight gag involving one of Bonnie and Christy’s (Anna Faris) BFFs is likely to raise even more eyebrows, though there’s a reason behind it.
Will & Grace (9/8c, NBC): One of the very few things missing from the revived sitcom is the tart presence of Shelley Morrison as Karen’s (Megan Mullally) loyal foil Rosario. Morrison, who has retired from acting, chose not to return to the show, which pays homage to the character in an episode that also serves as a fall finale, with NBC’s Thursday Night Football games resuming next week. Mullally and Sean Hayes (still a marvel at physical comedy) especially shine in this sentimental but barbed outing, which also reintroduces Minnie Driver as Karen’s haughty nemesis, other woman-turned-daughter-in-law Lorraine.
S.W.A.T. (10/9c, CBS): Because CBS is so lacking in crime show and reboots, along comes this explosive yet hardly necessary urban police drama, aiming for social relevance with its focus on community policing as new S.W.A.T. boss Hondo Harrison (Criminal Minds’ Shemar Moore) hopes to bridge the divide between his colleagues and the Los Angeles neighborhoods from which he came. While he’s at it, lots of things go boom.
Inside Thursday TV: NBC’s The Good Place (8:30/7:30) heads into its winter break with Michael (Ted Danson) trying to manage even more chaos than usual after Janet (D’Arcy Carden) creates a “rebound guy” (the very funny Jason Mantzoukas) who sends her into an emotional turmoil unusual for someone who isn’t human. … After last week’s wartime flashback detour, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (8/7c) gives the guys a day off, courtesy of a burned-out Jackson (Jesse Williams), who organizes a day at sea. … HGTV’s latest spinoff, Flip or Flop Ft. Worth (9/8c), features married military veterans Andy and Ashley Williams, who met while serving in Iraq, as they convert run-down properties into livable family homes. … truTV’s Impractical Jokers wraps its season with a 90-minute pre-Veterans Day special, “Impractical Jokers Presents G.I. Jokers” (9:30/8:30c), taped before an audience of veterans and current service members and their families.