Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, October 17. All times are Eastern.
The Good Place (NBC, 9 p.m.): If the title of tonight’s episode—that’d be “Tinker, Tailer, Demon, Spy”—doesn’t make you a little bit concerned for the well-being of the Soul Squad, then can we interest you in an ominously vague episode description? Here goes: “Uncertainty abounds when an unexpected visitor arrives.”
Of course, uncertainty is pretty much part of the deal with The Good Place. Here’s Dennis Perkins in his recap of last week’s excellent episode:
Any given episode of The Good Place can, and invariably does, work on multiple levels. All the levels in this deeply human puzzle-box of a show are always present—sometimes operating all at once, which is simply transcendent in practice. There’s the Big Picture (a.k.a. “What the hell is the universe/Mike Schur playing at?”). Then there’s performance, where this stellar ensemble bats back and forth belly laughs and heartbreaking vulnerability. (They usually wind up in a tie at the end of an episode.) There’s the ingenious table-setting and bold, strategic moves that drive the overall story forward with breathtaking unpredictability. Then there’s the Derek of it all, with the show’s unlimited comic and philosophical palette splashing some inspired lunacy around. (Yes, Jason Mantzoukas gets his own category.)
In short, get ready for more of the Derek of it all. As always, Dennis Perkins’ recap will arrive after The Good Place airs, as will our annotated guide to the episode. And in the meantime, read up on the Game Of Thrones characters that were based on Tahani, according to TGP creator Michael Schur.
Sunnyside (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): We’re bummed that Kal Penn’s new sitcom has already gotten pulled into the wings by the ol’ cane around the waist. It was off to a rocky, but promising, start, and Jun Ho (Joel Kim Booster) and Mei Lin (Poppy Liu) made it well worth a little patience. Yet after this week, the rest of its episodes will be airing on NBC’s website, so if you want to experience the luxury of watching at a set time and date (or on your DVR), this is your last chance.