An eventful season finale of the brilliant vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows shakes up the supernatural homestead with the specter of loss. CBS’ bright new comedy Ghosts sends up Halloween. The Star Trek franchise spins off an animated series for younger audiences with Prodigy, a collaboration with Nickelodeon’s animation studio. The HBO Max romantic dramedy Love Life returns with a new protagonist seeking connection. BritBox offers an engrossing four-part mystery, The Long Call, based on an Ann Cleeves novel.
Good grief. That’s the tone permeating the pivotal Season 3 finale of the sublimely clever horror comedy, as the vampire housemates repress their feelings as they mourn the passing of one of their fellow supernatural travelers. (In case you missed last week’s episode, we won’t say who.) Loyal “familiar” Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) tries his best to keep everything from falling apart as they pose for a traditional portrait, but it soon becomes clear that life, even immortal life-after-death, will never be the same for the Staten Island chapter of the Vampiric Council.
Halloween is a natural touchstone for the cheeky new comedy about an estate inhabited by spirits from multiple centuries. Turns out they’re not a fan of the holiday, even less so when neighborhood delinquents target the manor for mischievous vandalism. The non-corporeal ghosts are powerless to stop the TP’ing and egging, so they enlist their new human hosts, Sam (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), to fight back. When things get out of hand, we discover a new Ghosts moral: You’re never too dead to learn an afterlife lesson. (Bonus points for a great Ghostbusters running gag.)
After multiple spinoffs, Star Trek aims young with a computer-animated series originally developed for Nickelodeon’s kid audience. (Prodigy will reportedly air later on the cable network after an exclusive streaming window.) Launching with an hourlong premiere, Prodigy is the story of six young aliens who commandeer an abandoned Starfleet ship, which they learn to navigate with the help of the fabled Capt. Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), here seen as a holographic training advisor. As they figure out the mechanics of space travel, these outcasts hope to find their own place in the universe.
The romcom is alive and well and in good hands with the charming The Good Place alum William Jackson Harper as the new protagonist looking for lasting love in the anthology’s second season. You’ll glimpse the first season’s star—Anna Kendrick as a newlywed Darby—early on, but this is the story of Marcus Watkins (Harper), a New York book editor who’s uneasily and restlessly married. After he indulges a crush that could blow up his marriage, the stage is set for Marcus’ seriocomic journey towards a more lasting connection, which in the first episodes doesn’t go all that well. When he returns to his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his sister (Saturday Night Live’s Punkie Johnson) for their parents’ 35th anniversary, Marcus gets in over his head trying to recapture his past. But as his dad reminds him, “If there’s no pain, then you’re just sleepwalking.”
Pennyworth’s Ben Aldridge stars in an engrossing four-part mystery drama—all episodes available for binge-watching—as a conflicted detective who has second thoughts about returning to his coastal North Devon hometown. Openly gay and married, DI Matthew Venn can only observe his father’s funeral from afar, having been ostracized by the cult-like Brethren evangelical religious community of his upbringing. Matthew’s severe mother (Juliet Stevenson) gives him a frosty reception—“The grief’s turned me sour,” she admits—until she needs his help locating a kidnapped neighbor whose disappearance may be linked to a fatal stabbing of a mystery man found on the beach. The investigation soon turns personal for Venn, a complicated and compelling character embroiled in the sort of twisty case the Brits do better than anyone.
The sitcom’s transition into an entirely new series becomes complete with a new production-number theme song—led by sparkling Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford—and Gina’s (Ashford) announcement that she has bought the Valley Hills assisted living facility with her unexpected inheritance. She wastes no time getting involved in the lives of the residents, an impressive cast of show-biz veterans including Linda Lavin, Ben Vereen, Last Man Standing’s Hector Elizondo, a nearly unrecognizable Jane Seymour in aggressive cougar mode, Priscilla Lopez and Supernatural’s Jim Beaver. As for Drew (Thomas Middleditch), the sad-sack therapist to whom Gina donated a kidney, he’s still trying to work up the nerve to tell her that he’s fallen for her. Lucky for him she’ll need his guidance from time to time for her clientele.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Toy Story 4 (8:30/7:30c, ABC): 2019’s Oscar-winning chapter of the beloved franchise, which introduced the whimsical character of Forky (Tony Hale), makes its broadcast TV debut. Preceded by the terrific 2013 special Toy Story of Terror! (8/7c).
- United States of Al (8:30/7:30c, CBS): Recent events in his Afghanistan homeland have taken their toll on former military translator Al (Adhir Kalyan), and when his usual upbeat nature gives way to panic attacks, his buddy Riley (Parker Young) and family urge him to get help.
- City Confidential (10/9c, A&E): Evil’s Mike Colter narrates a revival of the popular 1998-2005 true-crime series, with each episode exploring a crime and its impact on a community. First up: the unsolved 1992 murder of a girl in Oil City, Pennsylvania.
- Horror Noire (streaming on Shudder): This anthology of six short horror films from Black directors and screenwriters is a sequel of sorts to the 2019 documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.
- Kin (streaming on AMC+): In the season finale of the Irish crime drama, Amanda Kinsella (Clare Dunne) meets with Eamon Cunningham (Ciarán Hinds) to try to find a way to end the family feud, but will Kinsella top dog Frank (Aidan Gillen) accept the proposal?
- Hitmen: Reloaded (streaming on Peacock): The pitch-black comedy about female contract killers Jamie (Mel Giedroyc) and Fran (Sue Perkins) returns for a second season, with a mysterious new client keeping them busier than usual. Their partnership and friendship are tested when Jamie bonds with a former classmate after a school reunion.
- Selena + Chef (streaming on HBO Max): Fresh from her success in Only Murders in the Building, actress-singer Selena Gomez and amateur chef is back in the kitchen, taking tips and recipes for group events from celebrity chefs and experts including Jamie Oliver, Esther Choi and Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi and Richard Blais.