Worth Watching: ‘Grey’s 400th Episode Finale, Final Bow for Ellen and ‘Bull,’ ‘Alone’ Again, Michael Che’s ‘Damn’ Show
TV’s longest-running prime-time medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, ends its 18th season with a two-hour finale marking its 400th episode. It’s the end of the road after 19 seasons for Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, and CBS’s Bull closes shop after six years. History’s hit survival competition Alone returns for a ninth season. Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che emerges from the Weekend Update desk for a second season of his HBO Max sketch-comedy show.
There’s a blood shortage bedeviling Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in a milestone two-hour Season 18 finale marking the drama’s 400th episode, but because ratings are anything but anemic, there’s still no end in sight for ABC’s enduring hit. Expect to see some familiar faces as the hospital gets an update about the future of its residency program, and Meredith’s (Ellen Pompeo) ambivalence about remaining in Seattle remains an issue. (No Meredith, no show, let’s face it.) In other news, Owen (Kevin McKidd) risks exposure over his controversial efforts to help his fellow veterans.
Another end of an era as the upbeat comedian completes her 19-season run as daytime’s most cheerful inheritor to the Oprah throne. Her final guest, Jennifer Aniston, was also her first, making a tidy and no doubt emotional bookend as Ellen dances off into the sunset, having weathered her share of negative publicity along the way but for the most part maintaining a welcoming, warm persona that brought a dose of good cheer to the daily routine of millions of fans.
Behind-the-scenes turbulence never seemed to disrupt legal business as usual for Bull (Michael Weatherly) and the Trial Analysis Corporation over six seasons. But the star is moving on, so in one last assignment, the TAC team is back in court with a negligent homicide case that could change the company, and their lives, forever. However it ends, it’s the final curtain.
For its ninth season, the grueling survival reality series goes to new extremes, dropping 10 willing souls onto the northeast shores of Labrador, Canada, notorious as a hunting ground for polar bears. Equipped with few tools and enough camera gear to record their own journeys, the contestants tough it out until just one is left to collect the $500,000 prize. Followed by a second season of the excruciating Kings of Pain (10:30), where biologist Adam Thorn and animal handler “Caveman” Rob Alleva subject themselves to bites and stings from all manner of creatures, ranking the pain they endure. This season’s dangerous critters include the orange baboon tarantula, the black-throated monitor lizard, imported red fire ants, a giant desert centipede and (my favorite) the horrid king assassin bug.
Freed from Saturday Night Live’s anchor desk at Weekend Update, Michael Che embarks on a second season of topical sketch comedy, with each of six episodes built around a provocative hot-button theme such as race, cancel culture and reproductive rights. Che’s commentary threads throughout the sketches, which feature top comic talent including SNL buddies Kenan Thompson, Heidi Gardner and Colin Jost plus Wayne Brady, Ziwe Fumudoh, Charlamagne tha God, David Alan Grier, Questlove, Tim Meadows, Amy Schumer, Sam Richardson and more.
Deborah’s (Jean Smart) road trip with Ava (Hannah Einbinder) continues in the comedy’s strong second season. Next stops: a rural county fair where Deborah has an uneasy reunion with an old friend (the great Harriet Sansom Harris) who quit the comedy biz long ago—and Deborah guiltily knows why—then to Memphis, where a crisis of confidence leads to a breakthrough as well as a sensuous fling.
Also on the Stream:
- The Flight Attendant (streaming on HBO Max): The second season of the silly spy caper ends with Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) connecting the dots in the conspiracy, while Megan (Rosie Perez) looks to start over in Los Angeles.
- The Ipcress File (streaming on AMC+): Glamorous but icy veteran spy Jean (Lucy Boynton) shows callow novice Harry Palmer (Joe Cole) the ropes as they track a missing scientist in the second episode of the stylish 1960s-era spy thriller. An empty film tin with the “Ipcress” label teases future mysteries.
- Look at Me: XXXTENTACION (streaming on Hulu): A documentary explores the brief but influential career of Florida teen Jahseh Onfroy, who gained fame as SoundCloud rapper XXXTENTACION. He was admired for his raw talent and openness about his struggles with mental health until his untimely gunshot murder at age 20.
- Fight or Flight (streaming on discovery+): Somy Ali, a Bollywood star-turned-human rights advocate, is at the center of a docuseries about the efforts of her No More Tears nonprofit to rescue victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking. The series launches with three episodes, with three more to follow on Thursdays.
- The Dreamers (streaming on Sundance Now): Set in Tel Aviv in 2008, an Arabic/Hebrew language drama follows three Palestinian students who try to form a community in the war-torn city but get caught up in the drug-dealing machinations of a crime family.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Road to the Bee (8/7c, ION and Bounce): In anticipation of next week’s Scripps National Spelling Bee (now airing on these channels), a special goes behind the scenes with officials and 10 regional competitors to see how all involved prepare for the nearly century-old competition.
- Welcome to Flatch (9/8c, Fox): In back-to-back episodes ending the offbeat comedy’s first season, it’s Christmastime in the quirky small Midwestern burg—indeed, the show got a surprise early gift with a Season 2 renewal. Kelly (Holmes), who spends the first episode mired in a green-juice pyramid scheme, is put in charge of the annual town holiday celebration, which predictably goes sideways quick.
- Crimes Gone Viral (9/8c, Investigation Discovery): A third season of the true-crime series uses footage from surveillance or dashboard cameras to tell the story, including a high-speed chase during which the police realize the driver they’re pursuing has a baby in the backseat.