One Last 'Timeless' Adventure, 'Murphy Brown' Finale, A 'Top Chef' Holiday Meal

Matt Roush
Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC

A critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:

Timeless (8/7c, NBC): An early Christmas gift for fans of the time-travel adventure, who begged NBC to bring Timeless back from the dead — twice! — and got their wish with a two-hour movie that serves as a series finale (for now, and probably for always). The first crucial piece of business for the team: saving Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), the beloved pilot. In the May cliffhanger, colleagues Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) zapped in from the future to reveal Rufus is alive in some timeline, so off they go. The final voyage takes them to Gold Rush-era California, to a Korean War Christmas Eve, and who knows where else or when. Along the way, they’ll keep trying to get the upper hand on the Rittenhouse cabal. And if they don’t wrap every single thing up by the end? Well, Timeless has already had three lives. Who knows what the future will bring?

'Timeless' Star Abigail Spencer Promises 'Everything Gets Addressed' in the Finale

'Timeless' Star Abigail Spencer Promises 'Everything Gets Addressed' in the Finale

'Will it be satisfying for everyone? Hopefully not, because I think that endings are always unsatisfying on some level,' she adds.

Murphy Brown (9:30/8:30c, CBS): The topical sitcom ends its comeback season — and no, that doesn’t mean it’s canceled (yet) — with Murphy (Candice Bergen) still fretting over the fate of Avery (Jake McDorman), her son-turned-foreign correspondent, who’s MIA in Afghanistan. To distract her, the gang takes her to Phil’s Bar for a 100th anniversary New Year’s Eve party. Charles Kimbrough is back as retired anchor Jim Dial, and real-life news personalities Lawrence O’Donnell and Andrea Mitchell appear as themselves. Directing the episode: Barnet Kellman, who helmed 76 episodes of the original series, including the pilot (and winning a 1992 Emmy for the memorable “Birth 101” episode).

'Murphy Brown': Bette Midler, Peter Gallagher, Brooke Shields & More to Guest Star

'Murphy Brown': Bette Midler, Peter Gallagher, Brooke Shields & More to Guest Star

John Larroquette and Katie Couric are also set to appear on the CBS series.

Top Chef (10/9, Bravo): The competition may be heated in the kitchen, but it’s holiday time — which means the chef-testants get a temporary break when they’re visited by superstar chef Eric Ripert, who joins the crew for a lavish French Christmas dinner. This is preceded by a white elephant Quickfire introduced by All-Stars winner Richard Blais and Season 14 winner Brooke Williamson. And barely have they finished their sit-down meal when Padma Lakshmi tells them they’re responsible for the dessert course, which results in a midnight pastry free-for-all. Bon Appetit!

'Top Chef' Judge Tom Colicchio Teases What to Expect in Season 16

'Top Chef' Judge Tom Colicchio Teases What to Expect in Season 16

This time around the contestants are battling it out in Kentucky.

Inside Thursday TV: With less than a week until the big day, ABC puts us back in the yuletide spirit with an encore showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas (8/7c), followed by the season finale — already? — of The Great American Baking Show (9/8c), with the remaining finalists showing their prowess (or not) with custards and cakes before “America’s Best Amateur Baker” is announced… From last December, Fox replays its musical version of A Christmas Story Live! (8/7c), featuring Matthew Broderick as a persistent narrator… Hallmark Movies & Mysteries delivers another in a seemingly endless stream of holiday movies with A Christmas for the Books (9/8c), starring Chelsea Kane as a best-selling lifestyle/romance expert who’s secretly single, and asks a morning-show producer (Drew Seeley) to pretend to be her mate. What could possibly happen next?