Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, May 17. All times are Eastern.
Community (NBC, 8 p.m.): This season was rich with strife for Community’s rabid following, so last week’s renewal notice was no cold comfort. In light of that development, let those fans take a deep breath, shotgun three episodes of their favorite show (with a 30 Rock breather), and not concern themselves with things like 13-episode orders, Friday-night timeslots, Whitney, and whether or not Todd VanDerWerff can come up with a three-pronged super-grade for his finale review.
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): With The X Factor finally finding the worthy heirs to the Scherzinger dynasty, the singing-competition rumor mill spat out a new product: Murmurs of a Jennifer Lopez-less American Idol. If only Idol voters could save themselves, Fox, and Claire Zulkey the trouble and hand this week’s elimination to J. Lo.
30 Rock (NBC, 8:30): Because 30 Rock spares no expense when it comes to finale guests, the last episode of the show’s sixth season features none other than… noted philosopher, scholar, and Matrix trilogy bit player, Cornel West. Meredith Blake audits the guest lecture from Dr. West.
Awake (NBC, 10 p.m.): The two-part season finale of Awake became the two-part series finale of Awake over the weekend, to which we ask, “Kyle Killen, why do you keep letting the broadcast networks treat you this way?” If you take your next series to cable, Zack Handlen will certainly follow.
Eagleheart (Cartoon Network, midnight): The marshals are bit by the showbiz bug when prominent celebrities are named in a newly issued hit list. The hit list is titled Us Weekly, and it aims to kill… careers, with the sartorial snark of its “Fashion Police” column. Truth be told, Kevin McFarland’s always been more of an InTouch guy.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (11 a.m.): In space, no one can hear you scream “Why can’t we all just get along?” Zack Handlen looks at a pair of Deep Space Nine installments where intergalactic conflicts spill into DS9’s corner of the Alpha Quardrant.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Missing (ABC, 8 p.m.): Even if Ashley Judd saves her son tonight, there’s no true happy ending to Missing—the show is, ahem, missing from ABC’s 2012-13 schedule. Judd’s last-ditch rescue effort offers an alternative to those traitorous few not watching Community.
Person Of Interest (CBS, 9 p.m.): TV Club gave up on this one in its early goings, but it’s managed to hang on in a tough timeslot and secure a second season. Since J.J. Abrams knows a thing or two about good finales, this one’s in Phil Dyess-Nugent’s crosshairs once more.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 9 p.m.): Shonda Rhimes’ medical drama is a shadow of its former, water-cooler-ready self, but it remains TV’s No. 1 drama among viewers under the age of 50. So it’s doing something right, even if many of its viewers are folding laundry while Ellen Pompeo makes concerned grimaces. Besides, its season-eight closer leads a huge audience into…
Scandal (ABC, 10 p.m.): …the utter madness of Rhimes’ other ongoing Thursday-night concern, the political thriller that hasn’t met a variation on “shocking twist” it doesn’t like. Ryan McGee drops in to see if Kerry Washington is carrying the president’s extraterrestrial love child or some other (strangely compelling) nonsense.
Super Troopers (Comedy Central, 6:58 p.m.): The one unequivocal “W” on Broken Lizard’s film scorecard sacrifices its giddy vulgarity to basic-cable Standards and Practices, but its episodic structure jibes with commercial interruptions. During this airing, just view the “meow game” scene as a killer segment from a cop-themed sketch show.
Call Northside 777 (TCM, 10 p.m.): Ain’t nobody play a good-natured guy with difficult-to-prove suspicions like Jimmy Stewart played a good-natured guy with difficult-to-prove suspicions. Here, he’s a newspaperman trying to clear the name of a convicted killer in Prohibition-era Chicago.
NBA Playoff: Game 2: Clippers at Spurs (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.): There was a time—circa the era when we at What’s On Tonight? were voracious SportsCenter viewers—when the thought of the Clippers getting this far into the playoffs was a laughable fantasy. This explains why no one even cracked a smile the last time we screamed “Yahtzee!” while passing a pick-up basketball game.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Modern Family: The Dunphy-Pritchett-Tucker-Delgado collective invited Donna Bowman to its table with a reproduction of Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want—the most entertaining tableau vivant featured in a mockumentary-style sitcom since Arrested Development slapped a frontispiece on The Creation Of Adam.