Revisiting ‘Deutschland’ in ’86, ‘Good Place’ in a New Place, ‘Legacies’ Premiere
A critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Deutschland 86 (Midnight/11c, SundanceTV): Proving that suspense is a universal language, this long-awaited sequel (largely subtitled) to the acclaimed Deutschland 83 shifts gears from John le Carré spy territory to a geopolitical thriller worthy of high-end Robert Ludlum. Jonas Nay is back as Martin Rauch, a young East German soldier recruited three years earlier to cross into West Berlin as an undercover agent. He’s been in exile ever since, toiling in an Angolan orphanage and longing to get back home to meet the son he never knew — but first, a new and dangerous mission. A scheme to raise money for the impoverished Communist regime sends Martin and his calculating Aunt Lenora (Maria Schrader) to South Africa for a perilous arms deal that leads to harrowing events in the Libyan desert and back to Paris. If you miss The Americans, you might want to pledge allegiance to Deutschland.
The Good Place (8:30/7:30c, NBC): Few shows are as adept at shifting gears as frequently and cleverly as this fantastical comedy, which now dubs our stuck-in-limbo quartet as “The Soul Squad,” helping others get in the “Good Place” with the astral help of Michael (Ted Danson) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden). First stop: Jacksonville, FL, where Jason (Manny Jacinto) reunites with his peeps to try to put them on the right path without their knowledge. The dilemma facing Chidi (William Jackson Harper) is trickier: how to break up with the fabulous Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste).
Legacies (9/8c, The CW): A new generation of supernatural heroes is getting schooled in this spinoff of The Originals, with Alaric (Matt Davis) serving as headmaster at The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted. (It’s no Hogwarts, but what is?) Among the students: Originals carryover Hope (Danielle Rose Russell), a “tri-brid” vampire-werewolf-witch; Alaric’s own twins, Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and Josie (Kaylee Bryant); newbie werewolf Rafael (Peyton Alex Smith) and vivacious vamp MG (Quincy Fosse).
Heathers (10/9c, Paramount Network): Bad things come to those who wait. That’s the only possible way to explain the resurrection — over five nights, through Monday — of a series that was wisely shelved last spring in the wake of the deadly Stoneman Douglas high school shootings. Here’s how I reviewed it back before it was pulled: Don’t even try to distinguish the nice girls from the mean girls in this tiresomely nasty camp cartoon homage to 1989’s pitch-black cult comedy. They’re all hateful Heathers, and if it’s meant to show progress that one of the vicious high-school vipers is not a flashy gay teen (Brendan Scannell), such novelty wears thin. So does this stylish but shrill celebration of a murderous culture of cruelty, designed for those who may have thought Scream Queens was too subtle. What once seemed audacious is now just atrociously mean-spirited. Only Grace Victoria Cox as Veronica, the enigmatic honorary Heather, brings nuance to this toxic parody of poisonous peer pressure.
Inside Thursday TV: A favorite returns to The CW’s Supernatural (8/7c), when Sam (Jared Padalecki) turns to Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) to help solve the mystery of Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) whereabouts… Howard (Simon Helberg) may regret dressing up as the notoriously humorless Sheldon (Jim Parsons) as a Halloween prank on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory (8/7c)… It’s another emotional setback for the support group of CBS’s Mom (9/8c), when Marjorie’s (Mimi Kennedy) husband passes away, prompting a road trip to honor his memory… Tony winner Katie Finneran guests on CBS’s Murphy Brown (9:30/8:30c) as Frank’s (Joe Regalbuto) new date — who happens to be an anchor on the competing Wolf Network… NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10/9c) handles a trickier case than usual, involving an assault victim who wakes up with no memory of the attack — then she vanishes.