Last Stand for ‘Last Man,’ A ‘Grey’s Goodbye, ‘Gomorrah’ and Something ‘Special’ on Netflix
Tim Allen signs off from Last Man Standing, his second hit network comedy. Grey’s Anatomy bids farewell to a longtime cast member while its titular lead character returns to duty. A popular Italian mob drama returns for a fourth season.
Last Man Standing
After nine seasons and nearly 200 episodes on two networks (ABC, then Fox) over the last decade, Tim Allen says so long to his second hit sitcom in back-to-back episodes. Allen wrote the series finale, which deals with the theft of the truck he’s been restoring for the last 10 years: “longer than I’ve done improvements on this home,” he gripes in one of many meta in-jokes. It’s a not-so-subtle metaphor and device for saying an affectionate goodbye to the Baxter family and his Outdoor Man co-worker buddies. Kaitlyn Dever (daughter Eve) makes a cameo for the occasion, as does Jay Leno as sentimental Joe.
As with any long-running drama, characters come and go as the seasons fly by. Now it’s Jackson Avery’s (Jesse Williams) turn to decamp, breaking the news to his fellow docs at Grey Sloan that he’s off to Boston to run the family foundation. On the other hand, there’s joy that Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) is back on her feet and back on the job—although Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Richard (James Pickens Jr.) are waiting to find the right moment to tell her the bad news about her former beau DeLuca. (Might she not remember their fond farewell during her beach coma when he walked off into the afterlife with his mama?)
The violent mob melodrama from Italy drops its entire fourth season, with the focus on Genny (Fargo’s Salvatore Esposito), the lone survivor of the Savastano dynasty, who’s had to step up and fly right now that he’s the family boss. He’s giving the reins in Naples to the ruthless Patrizia (Cristiana Dell’Anna), who’s earned her rank with blood on her hands. Business as usual.
Jean Smart is getting some of the best reviews of her distinguished career for this tart show-biz comedy about Deborah Vance, a revered but fading Las Vegas stand-up comedy legend who takes an unwilling young comedy writer under her flamboyant wing. In the third and fourth episodes, whiny millennial Ava (Hannah Einbinder) finally begins to gain some respect for her employer while archiving video from Deborah’s vast career—including a lost opportunity that could have made TV history. In the second episode, Ava spends time with Deborah’s disgruntled daughter DJ (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson) at a jewelry expo and learns how complicated this family’s dynamic really is.
It was a short but sweet run for Ryan O’Connell, creator and star of the disarming comedy that offers its second and final batch of episodes. O’Connell stars as Ryan, a gay man with mild cerebral palsy who has created roadblocks in his relationships with his over-caring mother, Karen (Jessica Hecht), and his bestie Kim (Punam Patel). Ryan’s journey of self-discovery includes overcoming writer’s block and pursuing a relationship with fun-loving dance instructor Tanner (Max Jenkins).
Also on the Stream:
- Too Close (streaming on AMC+): Emily Watson stars in a three-part thriller (all episodes available for bingeing) as a forensic psychiatrist locked in a cat-and-mouse mind game with a manipulative suspect (Denise Gough).
- Going from Broke (streaming on Crackle): Returning for a second season: executive producer Ashton Kutcher’s non-fiction series profiling millennials in deep financial straits. First subject: Isabel, the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college, only to be overwhelmed by $200,000 of student loans.
- Genius Factory (streaming on discovery+): A provocative documentary investigates the eugenics experiment of eccentric billionaire Robert Graham, who devised a program focused on creating a sperm bank that would produce a generation of the world’s smartest kids.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Walker (8/7c, The CW): A flashback episode revisits the darkest period for the Walker family, tracing the days before and after Emily’s (Genevieve Padalecki) death and how her loved ones dealt with the unexpected loss.
- United States of Al (8:30/7:30c, CBS): Al (Adhir Kalyan) confronts a different sort of prejudice when he meets and is smitten by Ariana (Azita Ghanizada), a fellow Afghan whom he’d like to date. Too bad she has strong negative feelings against interpreters who worked with the U.S. military.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (9/8c, NBC): Also looking backwards: Detective Rollins (Kelli Giddish), who reflects on an old case when a child sent to juvenile detention turns 18 and is released.
- Roku Originals (streaming on The Roku Channel): Also known as the burying ground for Quibi short-form shows produced for that defunct experiment. On what’s being called “Streaming Day”—but aren’t they all?—Roku imports 30 shows of all types, including the Reno 911! revival, thrillers like The Fugitive and Most Dangerous Game, and such reality fare as Chrissy’s Court and Punk’d.