Worth Watching: 'Top Chef' Restaurant Wars, 'I Feel Bad' Finale
A critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Top Chef (10/9c, Bravo): Arriving unusually early in the season, and providing a jolt to a sleepy post-Christmas Thursday, it's time for Restaurant Wars, a highlight of any Top Chef season. The episode begins with an amuse bouche Quickfire led by Top Chef alums Nina Compton (Season 11) and Karen Akunowicz (Season 13), both James Beard Award winners. Then the remaining 12 chefs are split into three teams (instead of the usual two) to open pop-up eateries with little prep time. Adding to the fun: yet another twist announced by judge Tom Colicchio.
I Feel Bad (9/8c, NBC): Fans of this frenetic comedy may have reason to feel bad, as NBC burns off the final two episodes of the first (and most likely only) season. In the first episode, Emet (Sarayu Blue) goes to extremes to learn more about her emotionally distant dad (Brian George). In the second, perhaps prophetically titled "There's Never Enough Time," she mixes business with pleasure in an attempt to keep work from interfering with a planned family vacation. In what may be Emet's worst idea yet, she asks the guys from GamePunch to housesit while they're away.
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! (8/7c, ABC): Repeat of the night: a 1986 installment of the Peanuts franchise that continues to draw big ratings during the holiday season. While not as memorable as A Charlie Brown Christmas — what could be? — there's fun to be had as hapless Charlie lugs around a massive copy of War and Peace to Marcie and Peppermint Patty's New Year's party, to which he's invited none other than that elusive little red-haired girl. The hour special also includes She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown.
Inside Thursday TV: Take the opportunity to catch up with freshman sitcoms airing on a different night. Fox's The Cool Kids (8:30/7:30c) showcases the outrageous Leslie Jordan as Sid, who's urged by Margaret (Vicki Lawrence) to come out to his visiting (and apparently super-clueless) son… Two episodes of ABC's rambunctious family comedy The Kids Are Alright air: at 9:30/8:30c ("Christmas 1972") and 10:30/9:30c ("Timmy's Poem," actually written by his mom — or so he thinks).