Worth Watching: Legal Mystery on ‘Good Fight,’ ABC’s Disney ‘Singalong,’ Father’s Day for Mothers on ‘Better Things’
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
The Good Fight (streaming on CBS All Access): What is Memo 618? This question, trumpeted in the marketing for the fourth season of the sensational Good Wife spinoff, becomes a central theme this year, as Diane (Christine Baranski, sensational as ever) rejoins the firm nine months after last week’s peculiar political fantasy/nightmare. Having lost their biggest client, Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart is now a subsidiary of STR Laurie, “the seventh biggest law firm in the world.” Amid many layers of corporate satire, the episode introduces John Larroquette, perfectly cast as one of their quirky new overlords, who opens each meeting with a Zen anecdote. He offers Diane new purpose with pro bono work, and her first case reunites her with a familiar judge (Michael Boatman as former co-worker Julius Cain) and adversary (Michael J. Fox as the manipulative Louis Canning). What’s not familiar is a roadblock to justice in the form of the aforementioned mystery memo, soon to become her new obsession.
The Disney Family Singalong (8/7c, ABC): Theme parks, cinemas and theaters may be closed, but the Magic Kingdom has found a new way to reach out, with a star-studded hour of favorite Disney music, performed by celebrities and their families from home. Ryan Seacrest hosts, Kristen Chenoweth provides a vocal warm-up, and highlights include a group production of “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical with members of the original movie and spinoff series cast plus the ensembles of Descendants, Zombies and more. Other earworm tunes include “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes (Demi Lovato and Michael Bublé), “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (Christina Aguilera), “Friend Like Me” (Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart with Aladdin‘s Broadway company), “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” (Ariana Grande), “I Wanna Be Like You” (Darren Criss), “How Far I’ll Go” (Auli’I Cravalho), “Under the Sea” (Jordan Fisher), the inevitable “It’s a Small World” (John Stamos) and Josh Groban with “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”
Better Things (10/9c, FX): Another remarkable episode of Pamela Adlon‘s pungent comedy brings together Sam’s (Adlon) group of single (mostly divorced) moms on Father’s Day for what becomes a boozy sisterhood of broken marriages. “Every mom is a single mom,” Sam decides as they tell stories on their exes and conduct cleansing rituals, but not before Sam is reminded by an interloper, “You have no right to judge someone else’s marriage.” Upstairs, daughter Duke (Olivia Edward) declares herself “the patron saint of divorced children,” offering advice to her peers. And life goes on for this family of survivors, in a show that effortlessly shifts tone from emotional catharsis to petty brittleness without losing a step, or a laugh.
Binge Alerts: Cult classic Xena: Warrior Princess joins Syfy’s lineup for the first time, with daytime marathons (starting at 6 am/5c) on Thursdays of all six seasons, starting with the first, with Lucy Lawless hosting… With its annual film festival canceled because of the pandemic, Turner Classic Movies presents the TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition tonight (starting at 8/7c) through Sunday, featuring highlights from the last decade. It starts with 1954’s A Star is Born (8/7c), the Judy Garland-James Mason version, which was the opening night film at the 2010’s inaugural film festival, presented by the late Robert Osborne and Alec Baldwin… Netflix, aka the streaming service that never sleeps, presents a third season of addictive Israeli political thriller Fauda, with Israeli Defense Force operative Doron (Lior Raz) now working undercover in the Gaza Strip, recruiting a young boxer in his new mission to take down a high-ranking Hamas terrorist.
Inside Thursday TV: The CW’s In the Dark (9/8c) returns for a second season, with blind heroine Murphy (Perry Mattfeld) trying to keep Guiding Hope, the school for guide dogs she helps run, out of the clutches of drug kingpin Nia (Nicki Micheaux)… In a situation that might hit home for many living through this quarantine period, CBS’s Mom (9/8c) finds the AA support group’s friendships tested when they’re all stuck in close quarters during a sober retreat… NBC’s Will & Grace (9/8c) is off to Blattsville to celebrate Karen’s (Megan Mullally) baseball team, though the statue they’re created in her honor isn’t exactly what she expected. Patton Oswalt returns as her smitten ex-brother-in-law Danley, and Community‘s Yvette Nicole Brown guests as a realtor tempting Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) with a dream home — outside Manhattan?… On a sadder note, ABC’s Station 19 (9/8c) is reeling from last week’s tragic loss, but Vic (Barrett Doss) tries to rally the gang to participate in a calendar shoot for a good cause… Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, drops by Showtime’s Desus & Mero (11/10) for a remote video interview.