Worth Watching: Dog Days on 'Lower Decks,' Throwing Pottery on HBO Max, 'The Bradshaw Bunch,' a Mysterious 'Departure'
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Star Trek: Lower Decks (streaming on CBS All Access): While the captain's away, the crew gets wackier than usual on the comical animated Trek spinoff. After Tendi (voice of Noël Wells) creates an artificial dog that mutates, and Brad (Jack Quaid) gets stuck "out of phase" during a transporter experiment, they're sent to a sinister ship harboring other "inconvenient" Starfleet mistakes. (Think island of misfit toys.) Back on the Cerritos, the visiting "babysitter" captain (The Neighbors' Toks Olagundoye) turns out to be Mariner's (Tawny Newsome) BFF from Academy days, so why does the irreverent ensign keep screwing up every time she gets more responsibility?
The Great Pottery Throw Down (streaming on HBO Max): If you're in withdrawal from The Great British Baking Show, consider this skill-based competition from the UK, which British critics have described as "beautiful and mesmerizing." Three seasons are available for binge-watching as 10 potters each cycle produce impressive creations on their pottery wheels of fortune, seeking the title of Britain's best home potter.
The Bradshaw Bunch (9/8c, E!): Not content to be the resident cut-up on Fox NFL Sunday, legendary quarterback Terry Bradshaw is the latest celeb to open his home to reality-TV cameras, figuring what amuses his family will entertain the home viewer. With wife Tammy, grown daughter Rachel, Lacey and Erin, plus grandkids, the 72-year-old Hall of Famer shelters at their 800-acre ranch in Oklahoma.
Departure (streaming on Peacock): Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) is back in the investigation business — this time as Kendra Malley, a widow working for London's Transportation Safety and Investigations Bureau in a plodding six-part mystery thriller that looks into the mysterious disappearance of Flight 716 over the Atlantic Ocean. The case becomes even stranger after a sole survivor (or is she?) is found. And what are the odds there's a conspiracy behind this? Christopher Plummer is Kendra's boss, and he looks as bored as I often felt.
It's another busy Thursday for streaming premieres, including Sundance Now's One Lane Bridge, a supernatural crime drama from New Zealand. Dominic Ona-Ariki stars as a Maori detective who triggers a second-sight ability dormant since childhood while investigating a murder… HBO Max delights the family audience with Mo Willems and the Storytime All-Stars Present: Don't Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! Willems, a popular children's book author, performs an hour of stories and sing-alongs from the stage of the Kennedy Center, joined by famous friends including Anthony Anderson, Yvette Nicole Brown, Tony Hale, Natalie Morales and Saturday Night Live veteran Rachel Dratch… Topic streams the six-part racially charged French political thriller Les Sauvages, in which an Algerian poised to become the first French president of Maghrebi descent survives an assassination attempt — but will his candidacy?
Inside Thursday TV: With the finish line in sight next year, E!'s Keeping Up with the Kardashians (8/7c) resumes its 18th season… Two nights after the president faced questions from undecided voters on ABC, challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a CNN Town Hall (8/7c) from Scranton, Pa., hosted by Anderson Cooper… The first season of HGTV's Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa (9/8c) concludes with four new episodes, with a second season green-lighted for 2021… ABC's goofy golf game show milks the end of its second season with yet another behind-the-scenes and recap special: Holey Moley II: The Sequel: The Special: Unhinged, Part Deux.