Worth Watching: ‘Top Chef’ Finale as Padma Tastes the Nation, Roy Cohn Profiled in HBO’s ‘Bully,’ Syfy’s ‘Great Debate’
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Top Chef All-Stars (10/9c, Bravo): It’s “finito!” for a spectacular season of the Emmy-winning cooking competition, which has upped its game since moving to Italy for the final weeks. The last round gives the three remaining chef-testants — far-and-away front-runner Melissa, slow-and-steady Bryan and inspiring underdog Stephanie — the opportunity to prepare the multi-course meal of their lives. I’m excited to see who wins, but I really can’t wait to see where they’ll be serving. The settings for the last few meals have really ignited my wanderlust (not that everyone isn’t going stir crazy). Bring your appetite.
Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi (streaming on Hulu): The glamorous Top Chef host wasn’t meant to be competing with herself, but the streaming service moved the premiere of her culinary travelogue up a day (out of respect for Juneteenth observation), so foodies and fans can really dig in for a Padma smorgasbord. In this 10-part series, Lakshmi travels across the USA to explore and celebrate the diverse food cultures of immigrant groups who have helped redefine how to consider American cuisine.
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn (9/8c, HBO): Also relocated from a scheduled Friday premiere, this documentary is bound to leave a much more unpleasant aftertaste. The original date was intended to coincide with the June 19, 1953 execution of convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, grandparents to filmmaker Ivy Meeropol. Her film profiles the notorious lawyer from the 1950s, when he also played hatchet man as chief counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy during the HUAC hearings, through the 1980s, when he mentored the current president. Among those interviewed: Tony Kushner and Nathan Lane, who immortalized Cohn as a closeted hypocrite in a recent production of Kushner’s epic Angels in America; the miniseries version, starring Al Pacino as Cohn, is always available for screening on HBO platforms.
Syfy Wire’s The Great Debate (11/10, Syfy): Genre buffs may not be able to gather in person at San Diego Comic-Con summer, but this popular panel (hosted by Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s Baron Vaughn) comes to TV in a format that poses leading questions — like who’d be the worse boss, The Joker or Darth Vader? — to a rotating panel of passionate celebs. (The roster includes The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik, Superstore‘s Colton Dunn and American Gods‘ Orlando Jones.) First night’s topic will take us back to the 1980s — which I’m not sure some of these fans have ever left.
Inside Thursday TV: Missed the fourth and final season of IFC’s uproarious baseball comedy Brockmire, which jumped into a dystopian future — like the present isn’t? You can now stream it on Hulu… Also streaming, on Sundance Now, the fifth season of the acclaimed French spy thriller The Bureau… Could a step-dad be in the picture on NBC’s Council of Dads (8/7c)? Things could get messy now that widowed Robin (Sarah Wayne Callies) is falling for Sam (David Walton), but things are already complicated enough when the Council agrees that it’s time for Robin to drop a bombshell on stepdaughter Luly (Michele Weaver). In other Dads news, Oliver (J. August Richards) and Peter (Kevin Daniels) decide to adopt, until they get alarming news about the birth mother… Cheech Marin guests on the penultimate episode of CBS’s one-season-and-done comedy Broke (9:30/8:30c). As Don Dominguez, the dad of snarky servant Luis (Izzy Diaz), he takes time off from working for Javier’s (Jaime Camil) wealthy father to see how the offspring is doing after being cut off from the family fortune.