TV column for Thursday, Oct. 11


ONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Will & Grace,” 9 p.m., NBC.

It was an iffy
notion, reviving a show after a dozen years. “Will & Grace”
could have seemed fun-but-creaky ... sort of like the revived “Murphy
Brown.” Instead, it actually seems better than ever. Credit sharp
writing, a fine cast, master director James Burrows ... and an
eagerness to have big plot twists.

One twist happened
off-camera, before this episode began; the reactions are hilarious.
Another offers tonight's main plot: Karen is missing. Each of these
self-consumed characters had a warning, which was ignored. Sprinkled
in are great little bits involving the concepts of “forever” and
of beard dye.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “The Good Place,” 8:30 p.m., NBC.

In the 69-year
history of TV situation-comedies, this is unprecedented: “Good
Place” started with a clever concept ... then keeps changing it. In
the current version, four people have returned to Earth, unaware that
they met in the afterlife; they have one last chance to learn to be
good.

Michael (Ted Danson)
and his all-knowing assistant try to manipulate them, but he's lost
his angelic powers. There are great twists tonight ... and then a
final moment that may change this again,

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon,” 8-9
p.m., CBS.

For the first time,
it's a double-Tam day. At 8:30, we get the usual view of Tam: The son
of Vietnamese immigrants, he was young Sheldon's only friend.
Tonight, Sheldon – torn by the fact that his dad wants him to keep
a secret – visits for a sleepover.

Before that, the
adult Tam makes his first “Big Bang” visit, when Leonard probes
the past friendship. The night also offers Sheldon's brother as a boy
and as a hardy grown-up (Jerry O'Connell).

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Supernatural” season-opener, 8 p.m., CW.

The concept of
“regime change” can get messy; the ensuing chaos can be worse
than the departed despot. That's the case here: With Lucifer dead, a
nasty wannabe has emerged.

Now Sam must try to
rescue Castiel, while worrying about more: The bad news is that his
brother Dean is missing; the worse news is that Dean's being is
occupied by the scheming archangel Michael. (Hey, you kind of expect
this from a show called “Supernatural.”) The result is messy, but
well-played.

Other choices
include:

“Grey's Anatomy,”
8 p.m., ABC. Tonight's issues are large (to save a life, Alex makes a
questionable decision) and small: Meredith shows up for work, already
done up for her blind date.

“Superstore,” 8
p.m., NBC. With the baby shower coming, Amy schemes to stock up on
supplies.

“All American,”
9 p.m., Fox. Here's an instant rerun of Wednesday's premiere. It's a
fairly good (but flawed) culture-clash story of a teen football star,
moving from a tough neighborhood to Beverly Hills.

“Mom,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Constance Zimmer, the Emmy-nominated “UnReal” star, returns
to the comedy side. She plays Christy's law-school professor, who
needs too much emotional support.

“Murphy Brown,”
9:30, CBS. When she brought this show back, producer Diane English
promised it would keep an eye on current news. Now it has juggled its
episodes, to insert one in which Murphy reluctantly recalls a
sexually abusive professor. The result has modest humor and righteous
rage.

“How to Get Away
With Murder,” 10 p.m., ABC. While facing an attack from the
governor, Annalise is defending a rich man accused of killing his
usiness partner.