Worth Watching: The Democrats Debate in One Night, Return of ‘Mr. Inbetween’ and ‘This Close,’ Eddie Money Gets ‘Real’
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Democratic Debate (8/7c, ABC and Univision): The field of viable candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination has mercifully narrowed, meaning that the latest debate will be contained to a single night, marking the first time front-runners Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former VP Joe Biden will share the stage. They’ll appear with Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. ABC anchors George Stephanopoulos and David Muir are moderators, alongside ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, at Houston’s Health & PE Center at Texas Southern University.
Why Women Kill (streaming on CBS All Access): The multi-tiered, candy-colored guilty pleasure continues, giving a nod to creator Marc Cherry’s Desperate Housewives with a cameo by Christine Estabrook (former nosy neighbor Martha Huber) as a less-nosy neighbor in whose bed Simone (Lucy Liu) and boy toy Tommy (Leo Howard) are nearly discovered. This most farcical of the three intertwined stories is so campy it can try your patience, but stick with it for the moment when Simone’s gay husband, Karl (Jack Davenport), likens their lovemaking to a particular domestic duty. The other storylines get more complicated when 1960s housewife Beth Ann (Ginnifer Goodwin) gets maybe too chummy with her husband’s songbird mistress (Sadie Calvano) and in the present, Eli (Reid Scott) is left alone with Jade (Alexandra Daddario), who helps cure his writer’s block while out-of-town wife Taylor (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) gets an earful from her sisters. And we’re only halfway through this melodrama.
Mr. Inbetween (10/9c, FX): Not to be confused with NBC’s summer spooker The InBetween, one of TV’s more peculiar imports is back for a second season, with star/creator Scott Ryan playing Australian tough guy Ray Shoesmith in a brutal dark comedy with an unexpectedly soft heart. Ray, a hit man and all-around thug for hire, saves his affections for his beloved daughter Brittany (Chika Yasumura), ailing brother Bruce (Nicholas Cassim) and wary love interest Ally (Brooke Satchwell). Everyone else: beware.
This Close (midnight/11c, 9/PT): The poignant and groundbreaking dramedy about two deaf BFFs returns for an expanded eight-episode second season, with the relationship of Kate (Shoshannah Stern) and Michael (Josh Feldman) tested when he decides to take his romance with Ryan (Colt Prattes) to the next level after his accident. A Quiet Place‘s Millicent Simmonds is among the season’s impressive guest-star roster, with Marcia Cross, Camryn Manheim, Steven Weber, Austin Nichols, Lisa Rinna and Margaret Cho.
Inside Thursday TV: Things get real on AXS TV’s Real Money (9:30/8:30c) when rocker Eddie Money reveals his diagnosis of esophageal cancer and what that will mean for the family — and the future of the reality show that bears his name. To relieve stress, his kids head to a local rage room to smash things up… Things get unreal on The CW’s Two Sentence Horror Stories (9/8c) when a monster that only children can see begins to hunt small prey at a housing project… A new sitcom based on the ’80s hit Mr. Mom begins streaming on Vudu, with Hayes MacArthur stepping into the Michael Keaton role of a dad who decides to stay at home with the kids when his wife (Andrea Anders) lands her dream job.