Worth Watching: ‘SVU’ Milestone, ‘Mom’ Finale, ‘Klepper’ on the Road
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10/9c, NBC): With this episode, the 457th over 20 seasons, SVU officially becomes the longest-running series in the Law & Order universe (excluding specials by the mothership) — and for the occasion, brings back one of this season’s most prominent bad guys. That would be lawyer Rob Miller, played by Titus Welliver — a change of pace from the stoic hero he plays on Prime Video’s Bosch. Convicted of raping defense attorney Nikki Staines (Callie Thorne) in a March episode, Miller has somehow arranged to get out on bail, which dismays his nemesis Benson (Mariska Hargitay) no end. In a topical case-of-the-week, the SVU team looks for suspects fleeing the scene after a Muslim woman is attacked inside a synagogue. And in case you missed it, SVU has been renewed for a record 21st season.
Mom (9/8c, CBS): While it’s not likely to set any records soon, earning a two-season renewal for years 7 and 8 is an accomplishment you might wish to drink to — if you were anyone but recovering addicts Christy (Anna Faris), Bonnie (Allison Janney) and the gang. In the sixth-season finale, Christy is thrown for a loop on her sober birthday when she learns that her sponsor (the always wonderful Yvette Nicole Brown) is leaving town. On the domestic front, Bonnie and fiancé Adam (William Fichtner) make a hasty decision after an argument — could it have something to do with putting a ring on it?
Klepper (10:30/9:30c, Comedy Central): Former Daily Show wiseguy and late-night host Jordan Klepper is back on his home channel, but far from his comfort zone as he travels the country in a docu-series that faces topical issues head-on and explores grass-roots activism from the trenches. In the opener, Klepper adds empathy to his toolkit of self-deprecating humor as he visits a group of military veterans in Texas who use the escape of professional wrestling to combat their PTSD and find community. They call themselves Valhalla, but for Klepper, it’s a living hell once the good sport climbs into the ring as the villainous “Mr. Red Tape” and endures some well-rehearsed body slams. “Jordan sucks!” cries the crowd, in on the joke. In the earnestly amusing and soul-searching Klepper, Jordan does anything but.
Inside Thursday TV: Guilty pleasure alert: If you’re impatient for the return of CBS time-waster Big Brother, you’re in luck. Fox has revived trashy dating competition Paradise Hotel (8/7c), with reality exhibitionist Kristin Cavallari as host of the show that pairs off hot bodies in a tropical resort, with eliminations each week. The show airs Thursdays (with live elements after the premiere), Mondays and Wednesdays. Don’t say you weren’t warned… Not to be outdone, the CBS All Access revival of The Twilight Zone takes on toxic masculinity in an episode titled “Not All Men” — notably written and directed by women. In this scenario, a meteor shower brings out the beast in a town’s menfolk (including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s Luke Kirby and The Mindy Project’s Ike Barinholtz), leading to much chaos and terror. American Horror Story‘s Taissa Farmiga and Better Call Saul‘s Rhea Seehorn are the panicked ladies trying to survive the madness… While Alex (Justin Chambers) desperately awaits a blood donor for his young patient on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (8/7c), wife Jo (Camilla Luddington) finally opens up to Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) about the source of her depression… Christine Baranski is back as Leonard’s (Johnny Galecki) hypercritical mother Beverly on the next-to-last episode of CBS’s The Big Bang Theory (8/7c), but when she’s unexpectedly nice to her son, clearly something’s up… In anticipation of Sunday’s series finale, the cast of HBO’s Veep stops by CBS’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert (11:35/10:35c).