Worth Watching: 'Will & Grace' Returns, Gina Leaves the 'Nine-Nine,' Major Surgery on 'Grey's
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Will & Grace (9:30/8:30c, NBC): Back from holiday hiatus, the best of all the recent sitcom revivals goes all out with a wacky storyline that's a literal trip — at least for Will (Eric McCormack), Jack (Sean Hayes) and Karen (Megan Mullally), who all accidentally ingest a hallucinogen. For the gays — er, guys —they begin to wonder if they might actually be soulmates. (Spoiler alert: Don’t count on it.) For newly divorced Karen, it’s a chance to take the stage one last time as Mrs. Stanley Walker. (And if you weren’t aware of Mullally’s chops as a Broadway musical performer before this, you will be now.) Meanwhile, Grace (Debra Messing) contends with the return of her gruff sister, Janet (The Kids Are Alright’s Mary McCormack — no relation to Eric), who takes an unexpected shine to Grace’s equally snappish new client (Chelsea Handler in a funny guest spot). This show is firing on all cylinders.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (9/8c, NBC): “I don’t want stability and a paycheck. I want to take a risk,” is how Gina (Chelsea Peretti) explains her decision to quit her job at the precinct, following Jake’s (Andy Samberg) prompting a week ago. As final bows go, Gina’s is a doozy, as she plots a classic “Gina moment” of perverse surprise for each of her co-workers — perhaps most memorably a chess and trash-talk standoff with stoic Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher). Godspeed, Gina — and Chelsea.
Grey’s Anatomy (8/7c, ABC): Surgeries are rarely routine at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, but even by Grey’s standards, this week’s will be a nail-biter, as Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and Koracick (Greg Germann) embark on a risky procedure to try to save the ailing Dr. Catherine Fox (Debbie Allen) — who just happens to be Jackson’s (Jesse Williams) mother and Richard’s (James Pickens Jr.) wife. While this vigil ensues, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is prompted to visit her own father, Thatcher (Scandal’s Jeff Perry), before it’s too late. Oh, the angst!
Deion’s Double Play (9/8c, ESPN): This 30 for 30 documentary celebrates the dual career of sports titan “Neon” Deion Sanders — in particular the epic 24-hour period in October of 1992 when he was playing baseball for the Braves, participating in the National League Championship Series in Pittsburgh, and in between two of those games, he managed a side trip to Miami, where he was playing football for the Falcons. That’s versatility!
Inside Thursday TV: The chefs go on the road from Kentucky to Nashville on Bravo’s Top Chef (8/7c), where they prepare food on the Grand Ole Opry stage for country-music star Hunter Hayes. In the elimination challenge, they’re tasked to create a dish inspired by a musical memory. (Mine would be Sweeney Todd, so just as well that I'm not involved in this.) … Husband and wife square off on Paramount Network’s Lip Sync Battle (9/8c) when tennis great Andy Roddick competes against model/actress Brooklyn Decker — the latter getting an assist from Serena Williams on Beyoncé’s “Sorry.” Roddick fights back with an impassioned “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” … There’s a new arrival in the family of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10/9c) when Rollins (Kelli Giddish) goes into labor.