TV column for Thursday, April 19


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Scandal” finale, 10 p.m., ABC.

No TV series – at
least, none in prime time – has taken viewers on so many wild
rides. People were killed, a presidential election was rigged, lovers
became enemies, heroes became deeply suspect.

At the core has been
Olivia, once merely a “fixer” (Michael Cohen style) and then at
the core of power. She's the chief of staff for President Mellie
Grant and even briefly ran B613, the brutal, secret unit that's been
run by her father, Rowan, and ex-lover, Jake. Last week, Olivia
finally exposed B613. Now come the congressional hearings, with
everyone – including Olivia's ex-colleagues and the president.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Roseanne,” all day, cable.

The “Roseanne”
revival – filled with sharply funny moments – has caused a rush
to the past. Next Tuesday, ABC will rerun the reboot's first four
episodes; meanwhile, cable grabs the originals.

They're weekdays on
TV Land (4:30-5:30 a.m.) and CMT (10 a.m. to noon). And on Wednesday,
the Paramount Network started rerunning them in order, from 4-6 p.m.
weekdays. Today has a bonus, with the fifth episode – focusing on
George Clooney – at 3:30. And when these finish today, switch to
Lifetime. It has “Roseanne's Nuts,” the 2011 reality show, from
6-10:02 p.m. and 11:02 p.m. to 2 a,.m,

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS.

Yes, we should
celebrate the return of great old comedies -- “Will & Grace”
(with a rerun at 9 p.m. today on NBC) and “Roseanne” (seemingly
everywhere, all the time).

But let's also savor
TV's best current comedy. Like those two, “Big Bang” has sharp
dialog, before a studio audience, by gifted actors (including Johnny
Galecki, who was great in Tuesday's “Roseanne”). Tonight, writer
Neil Gaiman brings a sudden boom to Stuart's sagging comic-book
store. Also, Penny makes an astronomy discovery, but Raj takes
credit, causing longtime friendships to wobble.

Other choices
include:

“Grey's Anatomy,”
8 p.m., ABC. On the night “Scandal” leaves, there are other
Shonda Rhimes productions to savor. Tonight's twists range from
serious – Jo must step in for Bailey and Meredith in the middle of
major surgery – to goofy: In a plot twist used by many shows (most
recently “Mom”), Arizona shares cookies provided by a patient ...
but is unaware of their ingredients.

“A.P. Bio,” 8:30
p.m., NBC. A funny sub-plot – every teacher trying to impress the
visiting superintendent – partly obscures the unfunny cruelty of
the show's main character.

“Mom,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Marjorie has always been the steady force here, but now she has
a meltdown in a store. Soon, Christy is considering getting someone
else – played by Yvette Nicole Brown of “Community” and “The
Mayor” -- to be her sponsor.

“Station 19,” 9
p.m., ABC. Here's another Shonda show: Andy and Jack each want the
captain's job held by her father until his health trouble. They've
been sharing the interim job, but now must compete in a drill test
with 18 other candidates. While they're away, Travis is in charge of
the station.

“Howards End,” 9
and 10 p.m., Starz. Here are reruns of the first two episodes of this
four-Sunday miniseries. They're fairly good, while establishing the
people and the parameters of 1910 England; the next two are terrific,
with deeply nuanced characters.

“Champions,”
9:30 p.m., NBC. In a fairly good plotline, Michael insists on meeting
his paternal grandmother. In a lame one, he's in charge of spiffing
up the gym's web site.

“Chicago Fire,”
10 p.m., NBC. After a fire at a drug cartel's property, money is
missing.