A Retooled ‘Quantico,’ Bonnie Meets Her Match on ‘Mom,’ ‘Life’ Origin Stories
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Quantico (10/9c, ABC): Taking over the Scandal time period—and I’m going to pretend that ridiculous series finale never happened—is a retooled version of the once-convoluted action thriller, abandoning the timeline jumble that eventually sent many early fans (including this one) packing. Taking a three-year time jump, which means it’s OK to tune back in without a “previously on …” refresher, Quantico is now a straightforward if undistinguished black-ops spy drama, with precious little reference to the FBI academy as a new team begins to take shape. But first, Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) must be uprooted from her paradise of a safe haven in Italy’s wine country, called back into action when Shelby (Johanna Braddy) is kidnaped and tortured by a villain known as “the Widow” (the terrific stage actress Jayne Houdyshell). Returning for new missions: Ryan (Jake McLaughlin), Harry (Russell Tovey) and former instructor-turned-CIA Deputy Director, Owen Hall (Blair Underwood). Marlee Matlin joins the team as Jocelyn Turner, a former agent whose vendetta against the Widow is personal.
Mom (9/8c, CBS): Part of the fun of this hard-knocks sitcom is seeing who they’ll find next to stand up to the formidable Allison Janney, a double Emmy winner as Bonnie Plunkett. This week, her adversary is Tony winner Patti LuPone as the new owner of the building where Bonnie (hardly) works as the caretaker. When they clash, Christy (Anna Faris) understandably becomes worried that they might soon be looking for a new place to live.
Life in Pieces (9:30/8:30c, CBS): I’m generally a bigger fan of this cast than I am of the sitcom’s piecemeal structure, but this week is a change of pace, as the stories look back at the various couples’ origins. Among the subplots: the first time Tim (Dan Bakkehdahl) met Heather’s (Betsy Brandt) family; Jen (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Greg (Colin Hanks) buying their dream house; Matt’s (Thomas Sadoski) attraction-at-first-sight for Colleen (Angelique Cabral) while he was on a blind date; and John (James Brolin) embarks on his last flight before retirement.
Inside Thursday TV: As part of Turner Classic Movies’ ongoing Thursday series devoted to the Victorian era in film, a peerless Oscar Wilde favorite: 1952’s adaptation of the farcical The Importance of Being Earnest (8/7c), as part of a lineup devoted to Victorian society and manners. … Fox’s renewed emphasis on live events and sports helps explain why, for the first time, Fox presents live coverage of the 2018 NFL Draft: Round 1 (8/7c, 5 PT), featuring analysis from Troy Aikman and Joel Klatt. … Because the president once again is declining to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this weekend, where he’d have to withstand the barbs of comedian Michelle Wolf, Comedy Central has decided to replay 2011’s unsparing Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump (9:30/8:30c), hosted by Seth MacFarlane, with sets by Whitney Cummings, Jeff Ross, Snoop Dogg, Larry King, Lisa Lampanelli among others.