Worth Watching: 'Picard' Welcomes a Familiar Face, 'Big Bang' Echoes on 'Sheldon,' Fun & Games on 'B99'
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Star Trek: Picard (streaming on CBS All Access): "You owe me a ship," is how Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan of Star Trek: Voyager) introduces herself to Picard (Patrick Stewart) at the end of last week's episode when she's beamed aboard his rogue vessel. Now a vigilante Ranger, she goes along for the ride to Freecloud in a pivotal episode of Picard's quest to find robotics whiz Bruce Maddox. Seven has her own agenda, naturally, which could complicate negotiations to retrieve the scientist. Both Seven and Picard, of course, have a profound bond, each having been assimilated by the Borg once upon a time. (Some of her hardware is still showing.)
Young Sheldon (8/7c, CBS): There will be foreshadowing when young Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage) hounds his dad (Lance Barber) to fly with him to the Pasadena campus of Cal Tech to attend a lecture by his idol, Stephen Hawking. But first, Sheldon will have to overcome the fear of flying he didn't even know he had until he's introduced to flight attendants' safety procedures.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8:30/7:30c, NBC): Allowed to supervise the precinct on a slow workday, Jake (Andy Samberg) muses: "What's the worst thing a respectable guy like me could do?" How about a second running of the Jimmy Jab Games? With Gina no longer around, Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) goes "full showman" as the master of ceremonies, urging bashful patrol cop Debbie Fogel (Vanessa Bayer, a hilarious recent addition) to play along. But it's the showdown between Jake and a surprisingly energized Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) that has everyone cheering.
The Sinner (10/9c, USA): The engrossing third season of the psychological mystery series taps deeper into the existential angst of person-of-interest Jamie Burns (a haunted Matt Bomer), when even the birth of his and wife Leela's (Parisa Fitz-Henley) baby fails to brighten his morbid outlook. Everyone wants him to get help: not just his wife, but detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), who's nursing his own pain with a flare-up of sciatica. But will a psych consult just make things worse for this damaged soul?
A Million Little Things (10/9c, ABC): This series has never felt more like Parenthood (which isn't a bad thing). While Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) continues to reconcile with daughter Sophie (Lizzy Greene), she's also keeping a wary but loving eye on her son Danny's (Chance Hurstfield) sleepover with his BFF-and-then-some Elliot (Bodhi Sabongui). It's a good thing Uncle Gary (James Roday) is around, deflecting from his anxiety over Maggie (Allison Miller) going for her six-month cancer screening without him. Things get even more intense for Rome (Romany Malco) and Regina (Christina Moses) as they seek to protect the young mother-to-be, Eve (Ebboney Wilson), of the baby they hope to adopt. And my favorite child actor, Tristan Byon as adorable Theo, somehow steals the entire busy episode when he gets upset about his dad Eddie's (David Giuntoli) friendship with budding musician Dakota (Anna Akana). We get it. He's had it with surprise half-siblings. Who wouldn't be?
Inside Thursday TV: Streaming highlights include a second season of the suspense anthology Sacred Lies: The Singing Bones on Facebook Watch, and Sundance Now's steamy Australian drama Playing for Keeps, about pro footballers and their wives.