Worth Watching: Farewell to ‘The Good Place,’ ‘Evil’ Finale, a ‘Stranger’ Thing on Netflix
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
The Good Place (8:30/7:30c, NBC): Stick a fork in it, this blissfully wise and funny post-existential comedy enters its own afterlife (streaming, syndication) after an extended season finale. While revealing that heaven may not quite live up to its reputation, The Good Place more than exceeded expectations of how far-reaching and literally drop-dead funny an inventive and truly life-affirming comedy could be. As reformed-demon architect Michael (Ted Danson), the omniscient Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and a quartet of flawed souls on the path to redemption — Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto — seek to create an appropriate afterlife that rewards those who tried to do better, we give thanks to a mission well accomplished by all. Followed by a cast reunion and retrospective moderated by late-night host Seth Meyers.
Evil (10/9c, CBS): On the other end of the entertainment spectrum, yet equally memorable, is Robert and Michelle King’s (The Good Wife/Fight) clever and chilling examination of the forces manipulating and encouraging our darkest demons in a world of tested faith. In the first-season finale — thankfully, Evil has already been renewed — a mystery at a fertility clinic reveals connections among all of the creepy encounters that forensic psychologist Kristen (Katja Herbers) has experienced this season with would-be priest David (Mike Colter) and professional skeptic Ben (Aasif Mandvi). Kristen even begins wondering about the evil that may lie within one of her daughters, who is found to have visited the clinic.
Star Trek: Picard (streaming on CBS All Access): In the second episode of the promising spinoff, the former admiral (Patrick Stewart) learns just how estranged he has become from Starfleet when he suggests a mission to find the missing remnant of Data. (We also spend more time with said “remnant” on an abandoned Borg cube.) As Picard goes rogue, he will need to rely on the cooperation of past colleagues, including a former colleague (Michelle Hurd) who’s none too happy to see him.
The Stranger (streaming on Netflix): Not to be confused with Stranger Things, this thriller adapts Harlan Coben’s 2015 bestseller, starring Richard Armitage as a family man whose domestic bliss becomes a nightmare of intrigue and murder after a perfect stranger (Killjoys‘ Hannah John-Kamen) reveals a shocking secret about his wife. Downton Abbey‘s Siobhan Finneran co-stars as a detective who becomes embroiled in the fallout, especially when more victims of unpleasant truths emerge, including her own best friend (Absolutely Fabulous‘ Jennifer Sauders in a rare dramatic role).
Inside Thursday TV: Wedding bells ring on NBC’s Superstore (8/7c) for sales associate Sandra (Kaliko Kauahi) and fiancé Jerry (Chris Grace), though Dina’s (Lauren Ash) obsession with security and Jonah’s (Ben Feldman) dealings with the caterers could blemish the blessed day… When brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) play a winner-takes-all game of pool on The CW’s Supernatural (8/7c), you know the stakes will be higher than usual — and scratching could be fatal… Widower Wade (Walton Goggins) faces a tough decision on CBS’s The Unicorn (8:30/7:30c) when he changes his will and has to choose among his friends who’ll get custody of his daughters… ESPN’s 30 for 30 presents Stanley Nelson’s two-part biographical profile of controversial former NFL quarterback Michael Vick in Vick (9/8c), which concludes next week… Someone’s in the kitchen with the obnoxious Chef Rudy (French Stewart) on CBS’s Mom (9/8c) — and to Christy’s (Anna Faris) dismay, it’s her pal Tammy (Kristen Johnston)… Captain Tucker’s (Robert John Burke) retirement party ends in tragedy on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10/9c).