Worth Watching: Joel McHale on ‘Fast Foodies,’ ‘Legacies’ Sings, ‘The Head’ on HBO Max, ‘Stand’-Off in Vegas & TCM’s Kiss-Off
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Fast Foodies (10:30/9:30c, truTV): Among the tests of a true master chef: the ability to tailor their gifts for crowd-pleasing guilty pleasures. On this new comedy-driven series, having a deep-dish sense of humor is also essential. Community‘s Joel McHale is the first guest on Fast Foodies, challenging two former Top Chef winners (Kristen Kish and Jeremy Ford) and an Iron Chef winner (Justin Sutherland) to recreate his favorite Chicago-style hot dog from Portillo’s chain eateries. It’s no exaggeration to say McHale tackles this judging with relish, as the chefs first strive to recreate the dish as accurately as possible. In the second round, they refine and remix the ingredients to transform this “junk” food into something they might serve in their own upscale restaurants. Whoever McHale declares the winner gets a “Chompionship” trophy, and the losers are subjected to a silly comeuppance.
Legacies (9/8c, The CW): For many Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans — or at least this one — its greatest moment came when everyone suddenly burst into song in 2001’s instant-classic “Once More, with Feeling” episode. Now it’s the supernatural Legacies‘ turn, taking the more traditional route of staging a musical-within-a show when a strange new guidance counselor suggests the students take to the stage with a musical about the founding of the Salvatore School. Everyone but Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) gets on board with this high-school-musical project. What does she know that the others don’t?
The Head (streaming on HBO Max): Perfect for winter, this chilling six-part international thriller — produced in Spain, with a multi-lingual English, Danish, Swedish and Spanish cast — is set in a remote research station in Antarctica where a small team of “Winterers” hunker down for the dark six months of winter. Come spring, new commander Johan Berg (Alexander Willaume) arrives to discover everyone’s either dead or missing — the latter includes his wife, Annika (Laura Bach) — except for young doctor Maggie (Katharine O’Donnelly), who may or may not be the sole survivor as the search is on for a killer.
Also new on HBO Max: Five more episodes of the campy dog-grooming competition Haute Dog and the conclusion of a second season of Selena + Chef.
The Stand (streaming on CBS All Access): The penultimate chapter of Stephen King‘s dark epic takes place mostly amid the violent debauchery of New Vegas, ruled by fear from Randall Flagg’s (Alexander Skarsgård) glass tower in the Inferno Hotel. (Subtlety is not this series’ friend.) While an injured Stu (James Marsden) sweats it out on the road, with only Kojak the dog for company, his fellow travelers — Glen (Greg Kinnear), Larry (Jovan Adepo) and Ray (Irene Bedard) —face a reckoning in Sin City. So, eventually, does the “Dark Man” Flagg and his cartoonish followers in an apocalyptic climax. King himself wrote an original “coda” that premieres in a week to wrap everything up.
Kiss Connection on TCM: A fun way for film buffs to celebrate this Valentine month, Turner Classic Movies schedules each Thursday’s prime-time lineup in February to feature a kiss from one movie star to another, who appears in the following film to kiss another, and so on until it circles back on February 25 to Irene Dunne, who starts it all off by kissing Cary Grant in 1940’s delightful My Favorite Wife (8/7c). Cary moves on to Audrey Hepburn in the stylish 1963 mystery Charade (9:45/8:45c), and she lays one on Gary Cooper in 1957’s Love in the Afternoon (midnight/11c), and the chain continues overnight to Barbara Stanwyck in 1941’s Ball of Fire, to Humphrey Bogart in 1947’s The Two Mrs. Carrolls and then, quite famously, to Lauren Bacall in 1944’s To Have and Have Not at 6:30/5:30c Friday morning.
Inside Streaming: Sundance Now presents the Canadian crime drama The Murders, starring Cloverfield‘s Jessica Lucas as a rookie homicide detective trying to redeem a fatal workplace mishap with the help of her new partner (Orphan Black‘s Dylan Bruce)… The Discovery+ series Mary McCartney Serves It Up spotlights the British photographer and cookbook author as she whips up veggie treats for celebrity friends including Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Gayle King, Dave Grohl and Mark Ronson… Shudder’s creepy period piece A Nightmare Wakes imagines a frightening twist in the real-life love affair of Frankenstein creator Mary and Percy Shelley when Mary gives birth to a monster while writing her enduring literary classic.
Inside Thursday TV: Fans who cant get enough of Lifetime’s Married at First Sight — and you know who you are — get to wallow in new seasons of Married at First Sight: Couples Cam (8/7c) and Married at First Sight: Australia (9/8c). … ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary Al Davis vs. The NFL (9/8c) relives the battle between the former Raiders owner and former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, culminating in Davis’s 1980 antitrust lawsuit against the NFL when he sought to relocate his team against the league’s wishes… Jay Leno returns to the final season of Fox’s Last Man Standing (9:30/8:30c) as Joe, whose plans for restoring a classic jeep make Mike (Tim Allen) wish he’d never encouraged his friend to use his inheritance to buy the vehicle… Once again, the only CBS comedy to offer a new episode on Thursday is The Unicorn (9:30/8:30c) which focuses on Wade’s (Walton Goggins) married pals Delia (Michaela Watkins) and Forrest (Rob Corddry) and their increasingly competitive zeal after they decide to take up tennis.