Worth Watching: Paramount+ Arrives, ‘Superstore’ Cleans Up, a Valentine for ‘Mom,’ Fallout for ‘Clarice’
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Paramount+ Debut: Previously known as CBS All Access, the streaming platform rebrands amid a literal mountain of hype, seeking to leverage the many brands within the ViacomCBS empire. Among the many various new titles available at launch: From Nickelodeon: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, a feature-length CGI caper that sends the gang to the Lost City of Atlantic City to retrieve SpongeBob’s missing snail, Gary; and the show’s first spinoff, a prequel, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years. From MTV: The Real World Homecoming: New York, reuniting the original cast from the first season of the groundbreaking reality franchise. From CBS News: 60 Minutes+, an expanded version of the 60 in 6 spinoff produced for the short-lived Quibi. Correspondents Laurie Segall (interviewing Jacob Chansley, the QAnon “shaman”), Enrique Acevedo, Seth Doane and Wesley Lowery return. From MTV Documentary Films: 76 Days, a film capturing the scene in Wuhan, China, during the city’s lockdown in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. From CBS Studios, Funny Or Die and Canada’s CBC: the eight-part true-crime docuseries For Heaven’s Sake, starring and co-created by Mike Mildon, who chronicles his efforts to solve the cold-case disappearance of his great-great-uncle, Harold Heaven, who vanished from his Canadian cabin in the winter of 1934.
Superstore (8/7c, NBC): The Cloud 9 team enters its final month before the March 25 series finale, and to mark the occasion, Store 1217 undertakes its first deep cleaning since the pandemic started. To cheer everyone up, Glenn (Mark McKinney) urges Garrett (Colton Dunn) to throw a party for his co-workers.
Mom (9/8c, CBS): We understand that everyone’s schedule is out of whack this year, so we’ll happily indulge an out-of-season Valentine’s Day episode since we’re still heartbroken that Mom, like Superstore, won’t be back in the fall. Bonnie (Allison Janney) and Adam (William Fichtner) find it hard to celebrate their romantic dinner when they keep being interrupted by her love-starved friends. But the real talk of the group is that Wendy (Beth Hall), of all sad sacks, has a new relationship.
Clarice (10/9c, CBS): The season’s most compelling new crime drama picks up from last week’s grim setback, when a key suspect was murdered right under the noses of the VICAP team by a tainted soda can. The agents face scrutiny and blowback from the FBI bureaucrats — especially team leader Krendler (Michael Cudlitz), who knows his neck is on the chopping block, especially because his deskbound bureau rival Tony Herman (David Hewlett, Stargate: Atlantis) is gunning for him. Herman even urges Clarice (Rebecca Breeds) to throw her boss under the bus for her own career advancement. Their dire situation is complicated further when Herman enlists Clarice’s roomie, Ardelia Mapp (Devyn Tyler), to help his investigation, which could be her ticket out of the cold-case unit. Even if it severs her friendship with the up-and-coming Clarice.
From the Stream: Highlights of another busy Thursday on competing streaming platforms: Peacock finally premieres the third season of Stephen King‘s Mr. Mercedes, largely based on Finders Keepers… The HBO Max documentary Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests explores the history and ethical implications of these ubiquitous guides to our psyche and how they influence everything from job searches to dating sites… The Discovery+ documentary The Walrus and the Whistleblower tells the story of animal trainer Phil Demers, who waged a social-media war to “Save Smooshi,” claiming animal abuse at the Niagara Falls Marineland, only to be sued for plotting to steal the walrus… The French political drama Baron Noir begins a third season on Topic… ALLBLK’s My Mane Problem is the Dr. Pimple Popper for those experiencing hair trauma. Celebrity hairstylist Dr. Boogie (Shear Genius) counsels clients who’ve suffered chemical burns, balding from extensions and wigs and other scalp woes as he helps them regain confidence with compassionate hair care.
Inside Thursday TV: With Grey’s Anatomy and the rest of ABC’s scripted Thursday lineup returning in a week, it’s time to cool it with the game shows, closing the season on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (8/7c) and The Chase (9/8c and 10/9c) with back-to-back episodes… CBS’s Young Sheldon (8/7c) finds the young collegian (Iain Armitage) lobbying to become the lab assistant to crochety Dr. Linkletter (Ed Begley, Jr.), which isn’t likely to please the prof… It’s hard for Drew (Thomas Middleditch) to stay positive on CBS’s B Positive (8:30/7:30c) when a friend’s kidney surgery fails… Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham guests on Fox’s Last Man Standing (9:30/8:30c), although the strangest sounds may be the stomach-rumbling when Mike (Tim Allen) accepts Vanessa’s (Nancy Travis) challenge to go vegetarian for a week… WE tv gets personal with a social-media influencer — like they need more exposure? — in the six-part series The TS Madison Experience (10/9c). Following the NBA matchup of the Miami Heat vs. New Orleans Pelicans, TNT launches The Inside Story (approximately 11/10c), a four-part docuseries airing nightly through Sunday that goes behind the scenes of the long-running Inside the NBA.