As the remnants of summer TV (Big Brother on CBS, ABC’s whimsical game shows) wind down, NBC revs up with a two-hour premiere of its eternal Law & Order: SVU and a second season of Organized Crime. CBS presents a musical tribute to Kenny Rogers filmed before the country-music star’s passing. The anthology The Premise features the late Ed Asner in one of his final roles. HBO Max’s The Other Two wraps its hysterical second season with back-to-back episodes.
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Mariska Hargitay isn’t letting injuries including a broken knee and a fractured ankle slow her down. As the remarkable 23rd season of the enduring crime drama opens with a two-hour episode, an accident—or is it?—keeps Capt. Olivia Benson (Hargitay) mostly seated, while supervising the rest of the team as they continue their latest sex-trafficking investigation. The target: an entitled and odious congressman (Ben Rappaport) who’s a key player in the sex-for-housing scandal. One complication: an aggressive police chief (Terry Serpico) who wants to rush the case for headline glory while sidelining Deputy Chief Garland (Demore Barnes) from the spotlight. And what’s this about a workplace romance? (We’re not talking Benson-Stabler this time.)
Have patience, shippers. As the second season of the serialized OC spinoff begins, Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) has more on his mind than making eyes at his former partner. Bearded and buff, he’s gone deep undercover with an Albanian crime family—Ray Donovan’s Dash Mihok is his vulnerable mama’s boy of a primary contact—which could be headed toward war with a New York-based Black gang led by a smooth Mykelti Williamson. (The strong guest cast includes Michael Raymond-James, Vinnie Jones, Lolita Davidovich and Guillermo Díaz.) Last season’s mega-villain, Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott), also makes a sinister appearance, suggesting he’s not through messing with Stabler.
Filmed before his death in March 2020 as he announced his retirement from performing, Kenny Rogers basks in the love from fellow performers and friends during a tribute concert in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Reba McEntire, Chris Stapleton, Lionel Richie, Lady A, Idina Menzel and Little Big Town are among the talents delivering some of Rogers’ greatest hits. And in a segment all fans will want to see, his celebrated duet partner Dolly Parton takes the stage to share memories and perform a medley that eventually brings Rogers up to sing along.
The late Ed Asner makes a brief but memorable appearance in the latest chapter of this provocative anthology, written and directed by series creator B.J. Novak. Asner plays a gruff teacher whose History Fair will decide the valedictorian at a struggling public high school that welcomes back Jesse Wheeler (Lucas Hedges), an alum who became a global pop star. Jesse only hears crickets from the student body when he pledges big money for a new library, so he adds a twist: He’ll have sex with whoever is crowned valedictorian, sparking a studying frenzy. The wonderful Kaitlyn Dever co-stars as a rebellious truant who rises to the subversive challenge.
The uproarious show biz-adjacent satire, about a brother and sister (Drew Tarver and Hélene Yorke) who squirm in the shadow of their more famous talk-show-host mother (Molly Shannon) and fashion-icon brother (Case Walker), ends its second season with back-to-back episodes. The antics that could change everything occur in L.A. as brother Chase prepares his much-anticipated fashion show.
“Let the ceremony of judgment commence!” crows a power-mad Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) as she and fellow vampire Nandor (Kayvan Novak) preside over their first Vampiric Council tribunal. As usual in this mordantly funny horror comedy, the reality doesn’t live up to the billing, and their manipulative servant Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) takes secret pleasure in their debate over who’ll get to sit on the judge’s throne. Above ground, Lazslo (Matt Berry) plays lawyer in small-claims night court, giving everyone plenty of reason to object.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Billboard Latin Music Awards (8/7c, Telemundo): Raggaeton icon Daddy Yankee receives the Billboard Hall of Fame Award and performs during a music-filled ceremony from the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Florida. Bad Bunny leads the nominations with 22, with live performances from Camila Cabello, Juanes, Marc Anthony, Prince Royce and many more.
- Coroner (8/7c, The CW): Why is Jenna (Serinda Swan) sitting out the latest murder investigation? Seems her son Ross (Ehren Kassam) is caught up in the mess after being where he ought not to have been during a night of partying.
- Creepshow (streaming on Shudder): The lurid horror anthology that buries a grin under the gore is back for a third season. The first two episodes involve a creepy garden and a “Queen Bee” pop star.
- Heval (streaming on Curiosity Stream): The documentary streamer’s first original film uses you-are-there helmet-cam footage to tell the wild story of British-born actor Michael Enright, who left showbiz (or did he?) to join the fight against ISIS in Syria, filming his exploits along the way. Was this heroism or a publicity stunt? Whatever the case, he’s now a man without a country to call home. (The title is Kurdish for friend or comrade.)
- Doom Patrol (streaming on HBO Max): The misfit superheroes return for a third season, with everyone’s existential crises complicated by the arrival of Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez) in a time machine, struggling to remember the important mission she was sent on.
- Code 404 (streaming on Peacock): A second season of the futuristic British cop comedy reunites Detective Inspector Roy Carver (Line of Duty’s Stephen Graham) with his former partner DI John Major (Daniel Mays), who after being mortally wounded on the job was resurrected with AI technology, though not without tech glitches. They’re not exactly buddies, though, now that Major has learned of Carver’s relationship with his wife (Anna Maxwell Martin).
- The Croods: Family Tree (streaming on Hulu and Peacock): The animated hit The Croods: A New Age inspires a six-episode spinoff series, with more prehistoric shenanigans in store for the Croods and the Bettermans