Earthbound 'Good Place,' 'SVU' Turns 20, Two-Hour 'Grey's' Premiere

Matt Roush
Justin Lubin/NBC

So much must-see Thursday TV!

The Good Place (8/7c, NBC): There’s no place like home, and no show quite like The Good Place: endlessly clever, delightfully original and brimming with quirky hope about the flawed human condition. In its third year — and second reinvention — the comedy opens with an hour episode in which reformed demon Michael (a giddy Ted Danson) sends his four imperfect test subjects back to Earth from the afterlife but can’t stop meddline to bring these fallen not-quite-angels back together. He knows, and even merrily misanthropic Eleanor (Kristen Bell) must discover, that becoming good people worthy of the actual Good Place (Heaven) means doing for and being with others. This is comic fantasy operating on the highest level, still capable of ending each episode with jaw-dropping twists that make you wish you could jump right to the next. But as with life, some things are worth the wait — and patience is just the sort of virtue that earns you a coveted spot in the Good Place.

A Breakdown of Where 'The Good Place' Season 3 Picks Up

A Breakdown of Where 'The Good Place' Season 3 Picks Up

'Together they succeed, alone they’re doomed,' says creator Michael Schur.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (9/8c, NBC): Talk about staying power. The 20th season, which will tie the original series for longevity, is off to a gripping start with a tough two-hour opener, anchored by a remarkable performance from young Bryce Romero (The Maze Runner) as a troubled teen, cowed by the family tradition of toxic masculinity embodied by his bullying father (Dylan Walsh). When the boy shows signs of being raped, but refuses to admit or talk about it, that’s not good enough for Lt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and ADA Peter Stone (Philip Winchester). Taking the case to trial has unintended consequences in a tragically compelling second hour. Powerful work from Sally Murphy as the boy’s conflicted mom, and a strong first impression from Sandrine Holt in a recurring role as psychologist Lisa Abernathy.

Mariska Hargitay Talks 20 Years of 'SVU': The Benson-Stabler Chemistry, Best Storylines & How It Might End

Mariska Hargitay Talks 20 Years of 'SVU': The Benson-Stabler Chemistry, Best Storylines & How It Might End

Plus, the actress reveals her favorite guest star and what almost got her fired from the show.

Grey’s Anatomy (8/7c, ABC): Looking to set records of its own for a medical drama, Shonda Rhimes’ hospital rom-dram launches its 15th season with a two-hour premiere, introducing Nashville hottie Chris Carmack as a new orthopedic surgeon bound to turn heads — maybe even Meredith’s (Ellen Pompeo). A new position at Grey Sloan puts the doctors in a competitive mood, while Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) have a less-than-predictable honeymoon. And it’s possible that a few lives get saved along the way.

FYI, Meredith Grey Has a History of Regrettable 'Grey's Anatomy' Hookups

FYI, Meredith Grey Has a History of Regrettable 'Grey's Anatomy' Hookups

Andrew DeLuca wouldn't be her first poor decision..

Sheldon X 2: CBS sitcom hit The Big Bang Theory (8/7c) resumes its final season in its regular time period with a classic sitcom situation: Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) struggling to figure out what in the heck is this “perfect gift for the perfect couple” that Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco() got them for their wedding. While everyone else enjoys and exploits their confusion, the newlyweds go on a scavenger hunt… And in the latest installment of how Sheldon got to be how he is, Young Sheldon (8:30/7:30c), the 10-year-old genius (Iain Armitage) sees green when Dr. Sturgis (Wallace Shawn) takes a shine to another child prodigy, Paige (Mckenna Grace).

'The Big Bang Theory': Sheldon Cooper's Nerdiest Quotes

'The Big Bang Theory': Sheldon Cooper's Nerdiest Quotes

You never know what one-liner he might say next.

Inside Thursday TV: CBS’s comedy lineup gets new/old juice with the highly anticipated revival of Murphy Brown (9:30/8:30c) with an extended premiere (to 10:05/9:05c), reviewed elsewhere on the site… But first, CBS’s hard-knocks Mom (9/8c) is back for a sixth season, with Christy (Anna Faris) learning that law school is maybe even tougher than she imagined. John Rubinstein guests as her professor… More legal shenanigans on a fifth season of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder (10/9c) as Annalise (Viola Davis) welcomes students to her new legal clinic while fielding job offers. And a flash-forward introduces a brand new who-dun-what mystery into the lives of the Keating 4.

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