Stars gather to honor the legendary comedy producer Norman Lear, who turned 100 in July. All three Law & Order series kick off their new seasons with a crossover storyline. A Netflix limited series dramatizes the heroic 2018 rescue of a Thai youth soccer team from a flooded cave. The Good Fight tackles a topical case involving discriminatory hiring practices in pro football.
Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter
Shouldn’t laughter come before music here? No matter, the living legend that is Norman Lear takes top billing in a star-studded tribute, honoring the man behind All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons and other groundbreaking TV comedies on the occasion of his 100th birthday this summer. Comedy performances, surprise reunions and renditions of his shows’ many iconic theme songs are among the highlights, with appearances by the likes of George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Rita Moreno, Rob Reiner, Jennifer Aniston, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Kimmel, Octavia Spencer, Anthony Anderson, Kristen Bell, Justina Machado, Tracee Ellis Ross and many more. All together now… Those Were the Days.
Law & Order
Upending the usual order on which they air on Thursdays, the Law & Order franchise kicks off a new season with its first three-way crossover, titled “Gimme Shelter.” The action begins on Organized Crime when Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and SVU’s Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) are called in on the case of a young girl’s murder that’s being investigated by Law & Order’s Detective Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) and his new partner, Detective Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks). As the trail leads to sex trafficking and a possible terrorist threat, the story moves on to SVU and ultimately to Law & Order, where DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and ADA Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy) take on an international crime ring.
Thai Cave Rescue
What director Ron Howard was able to accomplish in two-and-a-half hours in his acclaimed Thirteen Lives movie takes Netflix six episodes. Less star-driven, the limited series Rescue was filmed entirely on location in Thailand including at the actual Tham Luang cave, where 12 members of a youth soccer team and their coach were trapped during a flood. The desperate situation led to a global response as the world watched Thai Navy SEALs, British cavers and divers attempt a successful rescue.
The Good Fight
TV’s most inventive and enjoyable legal drama gets timely again, when Liz (Audra McDonald) teams with new partner Ri’chard (the great Andre Braugher) on a case tackling pro football’s Rooney Rule, requiring teams to interview minority candidates for senior authority positions including head coach. They’ve got the goods on a fictional Chicago team accused of skirting the practice, but as usual, there’s a twist. Their young colleague Carmen (Charmaine Bingwa) is in a bind of her own when her gangster client (Ben Shenkman) leans on her to subvert justice. As for Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), she’s just trying to stay positive, swearing off doomscrolling for 72 hours as she stops to smell all sorts of colorful flowers while riots rage on city streets.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Celebrity Family Feud (8/7c, ABC): Things could get raucous in the season finale, when Johnny Knoxville (currently in Hulu’s Reboot) leads one Jackass team against another, led by producer/director Jeff Tremaine.
- Power of Women: The Changemakers (10/9c, Lifetime): The network partners with Variety for a special that spotlights celebrities with women who represent their charity of choice. Among the participants: Halle Berry, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Misty Copeland, Laverne Cox, Idina Menzel, Julianne Moore and Katy Perry.
- The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone (streaming on Netflix): A documentary short follows the journey of Georgie, an Australian transgender teen and activist, as she works to affect policy and laws affirming gender identity with the support of her family.
- The Kardashians (streaming on Hulu): The famous family of influencers is back, magnifying their lives for reality-TV cameras in their second streaming season.
- Tyler Perry’s Zatima (streaming on BET+): A spinoff of Perry’s Sistas focuses on the relationship of Fatima (Crystal Renee Hayslett) and ex-con Zac (Devale Ellis) after they make things official.
- Raven’s Hollow (streaming on Shudder): See how it all began for Edgar Allan Poe (William Moseley) in this period supernatural thriller when he and four other West Point cadets stumble upon gruesome secrets in a secluded community in upstate New York.
- Batali: The Fall of a Superstar Chef (streaming on discovery+): See how it all fell apart for superstar chef Mario Batali after multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.