Jean Smart’s Emmy-winning triumph in Hacks wraps its second season. Gayle King hosts a prime-time CBS special spotlighting Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Also from the U.K., Ben Whishaw is an ob/gyn doctor at the end of his rope in the British limited series This Is Going to Hurt. The long-delayed third season of sci-fi homage/parody The Orville moves from Fox to Hulu. Live events include the first game of the NBA Finals and the Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals.
It’s comeback time for legendary comic Deborah Vance (Emmy winner Jean Smart) in the eventful back-to-back episodes closing out the show-biz comedy’s terrific second season. She wants to turn her new self-revealing act into a TV special, and as they make the rounds, pitching to networks, Deborah is soon reminded why she no longer considers L.A. her home: “Somehow this town can just instantly remind you you’re worthless.” Her loyal, beleaguered manager Jimmy (series co-creator Paul W. Downs) disagrees and puts his career on the line for his client, while sidekick-joke writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) once again juggles new career opportunities against her loyalty to her mentor. This is about as good as a season finale gets.
This Is Going to Hurt
Labor pains work both ways in a harrowing limited-series tragicomedy starring Emmy winner Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal) as Dr. Adam Kay, an overworked and emotionally stressed ob/gyn. The series is based on Kay’s memoir about life in a hospital maternity ward within the U.K.’s National Health Service. “Ah, the fragrant air of underfunding,” he quips during one of many asides to the camera, setting a sardonic tone of gallows humor that helps amuse the viewer amid the barrage of graphic medical crises and heartbreak that tests the doctors’ resolve.
The Orville: New Horizons
Time flies when you’re grounded, but Seth MacFarlane’s loving homage to Star Trek-style sci-fi is finally back in action after last having flown in the spring of 2019. The series returns with a title change and a move from the Fox network to streaming on Hulu. The crew, however, remains intact for now, as The Orville and Capt. Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) carry on in the wake of the conflict with the Kaylon. (Past seasons are streaming on Hulu for those needing a refresher.)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Or you could just settle in with the genuine article, as the throwback to classic Trek storytelling takes a break from combat action for some R&R and even some comic relief. Back on Starbase One to repair the latest damage, the Enterprise crew lightens up—including, of all Vulcans, Spock (Ethan Peck), whose reunion with his betrothed, T’Pring (Gia Sandhu), becomes complicated when their bonding results in a Freaky Friday-style mix-up. Well, that’s one way for the couple to get to the bottom of their duty-vs-relationship issues. Elsewhere, all-business Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and security chief La’an (Christina Chong) try to loosen up by trying their hand at “Enterprise Bingo.” (Keep a sharp eye out for a Tribble Easter egg.)
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night
The late-night host steps up early (for Eastern and Central time periods) for the 15th year to provide a comedic curtain-raiser for the NBA Finals, in which the Boston Celtics face the Golden State Warriors for Game 1. (West Coast audiences will be treated to Kimmel’s act following the game.) His first scheduled guest is Adam Sandler.
Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals
After being a staple on ESPN for 27 years, the beloved spelling contest moves to two networks owned by Scripps. LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow) hosts the final round for those young geniuses who can spell words most of us can’t even pronounce.
Her Majesty The Queen: A Gayle King Special
Daytime royalty salutes the British monarch when Gayle King hosts a special highlighting Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, a four-day extravaganza starting today. King reports on the first day’s events, takes a look back at the Queen’s celebrated (and sometimes controversial) 75-year history on the throne, and interviews celebrity watchers Tina Brown and Wesley Kerr as well as Sir Paul McCartney, whom the Queen awarded The Companion of Honour.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Walker (8/7c, The CW): One of the few scripted originals on broadcast TV as the major networks shift to repeat or game-show mode is the contemporary Western, where Walker (Jared Padalecki) finds himself growing closer to Twyla (Karissa Lee Staples) when she joins the Rangers on a case.
- The Book of Queer (streaming on discovery+): The streamer goes all in on Pride Month with a five-part docuseries pulling back the curtain of silence on LGBTQ+ stories from history, including legendary figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt (whose lesbian relationship is currently being dramatized in Showtime’s The First Lady). Glee and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist star Alex Newell narrates the first episode.
- For the Love of Jason (streaming on ALLBLK): The relationship dramedy returns for a second season with its title protagonist (Trell Woodberry) balancing his ambitions as an entrepreneur with his future duties as a co-parent with Carmen (Kalilah Harris).
- The Offer (streaming on Paramount+): Real mob drama interferes with production of The Godfather as studio head Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) melts down after his marriage to Ali McGraw implodes and Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler) begs anyone who’ll listen to move the shoot to Sicily for one of the film’s most memorable segments.
- Under the Banner of Heaven (streaming on Hulu): In the series finale, Detectives Pyre (Andrew Garfield) and Taba (Gil Birmingham) go on a manhunt to find the killers before they add more victims to their “blood atonement” list.