Critic's Guide to Thursday TV: A Gripping Grey's Anatomy, Bones' New Intern and More!
The basic theme of tonight's eventful Grey's Anatomy fall finale (ABC, 9/8c) is: "You think you had a bad day?" The doctors of Seattle Grace have their hands and hearts full of trauma, with much of the chaos spinning around the emergency surgery involving Teddy's chronically ill but eternally chipper husband Henry (Scott Foley). While Teddy's up to her bloody scrubs fixing another doctor's mistake, the staff has to decide who draws the short straw to operate on the beloved of one of their own. Meanwhile, Meredith barely has time to process the latest news in her custody struggle before she and Alex are sent out in a storm to execute a delicate neo-natal transfer of a newborn that invariably hits a speed bump. The hour is classic Grey's, a multiple-hanky reminder that when it tries, this long-running medical drama can still put you on the edge of your seat and leave you wrung out when it's over.
There's a new intern helping the Jeffersonian team solve its grisly puzzles on Fox's Bones (9/8c), and he's a "simple country boy" charmer named Finn Abernathy (the likable Luke Kleintank) who disarms just about everyone — except curmudgeonly AUSA Caroline, who objects to the kid's juvie past, and Hodgins, who can't help patronizing the North Carolina boy's twangy lingo. To be fair, Finn is given to saying corny stuff like, "I'm as honest as the sunshine on the back of a honeybee." To which Hodgins retorts: "Why is that honest?" — later adding, "This is the Jeffersonian, not a fishing hole." This "Opie" is something of a savant, though, and comes in handy on this week's case, involving the death of a champion in the gut-churning world of competitive eating. (Watch out for the lurking python, by the way.) In the ongoing Bones-Booth-baby storyline, it's pretty clear Bones still has a lot to learn about the niceties of when and to whom she should share such momentous news as the baby's gender.
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With CBS' The Mentalist uncharacteristically airing a mid-sweeps repeat, this may be your last best chance to sample NBC's struggling but much improved new crime drama Prime Suspect (10/9c). It promises to be another strong showcase for Maria Bello as the scrappy Jane Timoney, who reaches into events from her own past to help her solve the case of a boy found dead at a posh preschool.
In anticipation of Veterans Day on Friday, there are a number of options, including the final night of History's Vietnam in HD (9/8c), covering the turbulent last years of the conflict from 1969-75; more first-person testimony from veterans in PBS' Vietnam War Stories (check local schedules); and a special presentation of PBS' POV, the emotionally charged Where Soldiers Come From (check local schedules), a film tracking four years in the lives of three high-school friends from northern Michigan who sign up for National Guard duty after graduation and end up serving in combat in Afghanistan, coping upon their return with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Lighter Side: Among tonight's comedy highlights, ex-couple Leonard and Penny try hanging out alone again on CBS' The Big Bang Theory (8/7c), which sounds like playing with geek fire. ... On NBC, three's company when Annie moves in with Troy and Abed on Community (8/7c). ... Leslie rallies her loyal team (though with no help from Ron, we're guessing) to host a model United Nations at Pawnee Central High on Parks and Recreation (8:30/7:30c). ... And on The Office (9/8c), a very pregnant Pam feels threatened by the pretty new temp. ... There's a double dose of Beavis and Butt-head on MTV, starting at 10/9c with the return of Beavis' even more deranged alter-ego, Cornholio. In a second episode at 11/10c, the vidiots take a field trip to a military base and give new meaning to the concept of a security risk.
So what else is on? ... It's curtains after tonight for ABC's woeful reboot of Charlie's Angels (8/7c), which audiences quickly gave the boot, but as our Michael Schneider reports, the networks are far from giving up on remakes. Better luck next time. ... The CW's The Vampire Diaries (8/7c) wraps a pretty thrilling fall run as My Morning Jacket performs at the Homecoming dance — there's always some reason to party in Mystic Falls — while everyone gets busy trying to thwart wicked Klaus' latest ghoulish plans. ... In what sounds like a real-life Glee, the Showtime special Thespians (7:30/6:30c) follows four amateur troupes on their way to the world's largest high-school theater competition. As a curtain-raiser, tune in earlier for the entertaining 2003 movie Camp, set at a summer camp for young musical-theater hopefuls. ... Can you imagine being sent home by Kelly Osbourne? She's the guest judge on Lifetime's Project Accessory (10/9c), with the challenge du jour involving a "bodysuit" makeover.
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