Worth Watching: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Returns, 'Good Place,' CBS's 'Fam'
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (9/8c, NBC): Rescued from Fox’s cancellation by the gods of corporate synergy — NBC’s parent company produces the show—the wacky cop comedy hasn’t lost a beat in its sixth season. The fun resumes with newlyweds Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) heading to their Mexico honeymoon, where they’re shocked to learn Capt. Holt (the priceless Andre Braugher) is there as a wet blanket of a third wheel. A running gag of the humor-challenged Holt sporting a variety of novelty T-shirts is reason enough to watch. Welcome back!
The Good Place (9:30/8:30c, NBC): Could it be? Our hapless heroes of eternal limbo are finally in the honest-to-goodness “Good Place?” As usual in this fabulously fantastical comedy, there’s a hitch, but Michael (Ted Danson) is undaunted in trying to prove that the “bad place” has gamed the point system to keep even the best souls out of paradise for five centuries. While they wait, Chidi (William Jackson Harper) finds a charmingly funny way to pitch woo to a disarmed Eleanor (Kristen Bell). A guest appearance by the hilarious Nicole Byer (Nailed It!) is yet another demonstration of why The Good Place is so heaven-sent.
Fam (9:30/8:30c, CBS): Fam is short for “family,” and Fam is also short on laughs and originality. This new sitcom wastes The Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev as Clem, the straight-woman lead, whose imagined happy future with straight-arrow fiancé Nick (Tone Bell) is thrown a loop when her wayward half-sister Shannon (a wry Odessa Adlon) breaks into their apartment with every intention of staying. The high point, so to speak, is when Nick accidentally gets stoned from consuming Shannon’s pot-laced snacks. High-larious!! (Not really.) Stealing what there is of a show: Gary Cole as Freddy, the sibs’ arrogantly neglectful cop father, who’s not so much remorseful at his parental failures as understandably uninterested. Overcompensating with giddy overacting: Broadway veterans Brian Stokes Mitchell and Sheryl Lee Ralph as Nick’s more upstanding dad and mom.
Fam is a dud on CBS’s otherwise strong comedy lineup, which this week includes Leonard (Johnny Galecki) fielding an unusual proposal from Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) hunky ex-boyfriend Zack (Brian Thomas Smith) on The Big Bang Theory (8/7c); pint-sized Sheldon (Iain Armitage) proving himself the world’s worst patient when hospitalized on Young Sheldon (8:30/7:30c); and Christy (Anna Faris) ruining a road trip with her gal pals on Mom (9/8c) because of her latest addiction: smoking.
Inside Thursday TV: In anticipation of next week’s reboot of Roswell (now subtitled New Mexico), the CW presents a docu-special about the notorious unexplained crash of 1947 in Roswell: Mysteries Decoded (9/8c)… Marking the 20th anniversary of President Clinton’s impeachment, ABC News revisits the scandal in the two-hour Truth and Lies: Monica and Bill (9/8c)… A&E spins off one of its most popular true-crime franchises in The First 48 Presents: Homicide Squad Atlanta (9/8c), a six-part series that focuses in part on the investigation of the “Fallen Angel” case, involving the murder of a young found naked and shot to death in a neighborhood park… A change of scenery on Fox’s The Orville (9/8c) as Ed (Seth MacFarlane) and Gordon (Scott Grimes) accompany Chief Security Officer Alara (Halston Sage) to her home planet… Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) is better known for playing good guys, but on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10/9c), he’s a celebrity plastic surgeon who’s accused of rape, with his girlfriend as alleged accomplice… CBS’s S.W.A.T. (10/9c) heads to Mexico City for location filming, as Jessica (Stephanie Sigman) and Chris (Lina Esco) go undercover across the border without backup to rescue a Mexican fed kidnapped by a drug gang.