Worth Watching: 'Mom' Minus One, Checking Out of 'Superstore,' 'Young Sheldon' Graduates
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Mom (9/8c, CBS): As widely reported, the eighth season of the hard-knocks sitcom begins with one of its leading ladies no longer part of the group. Christy's (Anna Faris) departure is addressed immediately by her mom, Bonnie (Allison Janney), who wonders, "Is it weird that I'm good?" before providing her own answer. Jump forward a month, and a birthday slumber party for a distracted Tammy (Kristen Johnston) reveals that the true strength of Mom lies in numbers. Each of Bonnie's support group shines, including Johnston's raucous Tammy, Mimi Kennedy as Marjorie, Beth Hall as Wendy and Jaime Pressly as party maven Jill, who rightly notes, "It's not a slumber party till someone cries." Mixing poignancy and big laughs with skill, these sisters in recovery are going to miss Christy, but they will survive.
Superstore (8/7c, NBC): Another star leaves her TV home when America Ferrera hangs up her Cloud 9 name badge as Amy in the workplace sitcom's 100th episode. It's her last day, and amid the celebration comes a reckoning in her relationship with Jonah (Ben Feldman), but the bittersweet farewell is leavened by Dina's (Lauren Ash) dogged recruiting among the staff to find a new BFF — er, victim.
Young Sheldon (8/7c, CBS): The fourth season is a time of transition for the boy genius (Iain Armitage), graduating high school at 11. When told it's an accomplishment to be named valedictorian, Sheldon responds with customary modesty: "Being top of the class in this school? I don't think so." But as reality sets in, even the pint-sized know-it-all wonders if he has the emotional maturity to enter college life. "Even though I'm smart, I'm just a little boy." Which is what makes Young Sheldon so special. (Non-spoiler alert: All fans of The Big Bang Theory are advised to stay tuned to the very end.)
The Bachelorette (8/7c, ABC): That bizarre universe that calls itself Bachelor Nation seems to already know what the network is teasing: the "blowing up" of the franchise in a two-hour episode on a different night — sidelined from Tuesday by election-night coverage. Apparently Clare had the audacity to find her mate, Dale, too early in the season and will leave the shenanigans behind her, with a new dupe (Tayshia Adams) waiting in the wings. ABC calls it a "tipping point," while I yearn for a return to the cheesy days of the comparatively tasteful The Dating Game.
Star Trek: Discovery (streaming on CBS All Access): Trek obsessives, meanwhile, are geeking out to learn that the crew's newest addition, the young and enthusiastic inspector Adira (Blu del Barrio), is that most rare of rarities: a human host of a Trill symbiont. This discovery sends her and Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) to the Trill home world to unlock the secrets within her, even though the locals will likely see her as an abomination. Back on the ship, Saru (Doug Jones) senses a collective malaise among the dislocated crew and arranges a dinner party that only reveals the deep discord within some of the officers, especially traumatized Lt. Detmer (Emily Coutts).
Inside Thursday TV: New to the CBS comedy lineup: the offbeat buddy sitcom B Positive (8:30/9:30c), starring Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch as a mild-mannered therapist in need of a kidney donor who finds the perfect match in a wild-child former classmate, played to the hilt by Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex)… Streaming highlights include another darkly comic British import on HBO Max: Two Weeks to Live, starring Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams as Kim, an outsider raised off society's grid by her mom (Fleabag's Sian Clifford). When Kim ventures into the real world, her escapades turn chaotically violent… Fear the Walking Dead's very busy Lennie James headlines Peacock's Save Me Too, a sequel to the thriller Save Me, in which a desperate father continues to hunt for his missing daughter, finding danger at every turn. Gentleman Jack's Suranne Jones co-stars as the girl's mother… On a lighter note, the uplifting Netflix romcom Operation Christmas Drop features The Vampire Diaries' Kat Graham as a congressional aide who heads to a Pacific Air Force base under orders to defund the facility — until she meets the carefree pilot (Alexander Ludwig) who oversees the annual air drop of gifts and supplies to neighboring islands.