TV column for Thursday, March 22


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Station 19” debut, 9 and 10 p.m., ABC.

Shonda Rhimes keeps
producing good shows about pretty people who deal with life, death
and complicated romances. “Grey's Anatomy” mastered the genre;
now it has a well-made spin-off.

We're still in
Seattle, which works well for this: Its firefighters are also
emergency medical technicians; in this case, one of them (Ben Warren)
is also a former surgeon from “Grey's.” This opener focuses on
Andy (Jaina Lee Ortiz); her dad is the captain, her lover is his
lieutenant and her life is tangled.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Chicago Fire,” 9 and 10 p.m., NBC.

This is fighting
fire with fire – literally. As ABC debuts its firefighter/paramedic
show, NBC gives a double slot to its own version. What's more, it has
excellent hours with major turning points.

There are key
personal stories – especially for Otis, Brett and Severide – plus
some big plots. The firefighters meet a troubled couple in the first
hour and face gunfire in the second. Those tend to unfold too
conveniently; still, “Fire” work whenever events wash across the
oft-stoic faces of quietly caring men. “Communication isn't your
first language,” Severide is told in a great closing scene.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Portlandia” finale, 10 p.m. ET, IFC, repeating at 1
a.m.

The eighth and final
season ends with an atypical episode. That's unfortunate, because the
typical ones – stuffed with odd sketches – range only from really
strange to strangely hilarious.

The finale follows
plans for the Portland marathon, which the mayor (Kyle MacLachlan)
obsesses on. There are fairly funny moments for guests Dolly Wells,
Cherry Jones and Tessa Thompson ... and for Fred Armisen and Carrie
Brownstein, who have created wonderful bits in the past. You can
relive the entire season form 5:30 to 10 p.m. ET, then catch last
week's episode again at 12:30 a.m.

Other choices
include:

Basketball, CBS and
cable. Already down to 16 teams, the NCAA tournament rushes toward
its final four. CBS has games at 7 p.m. ET (Nevada and Loyola of
Chicago) and about 9:30 (Kentucky and Kansas State). TBS has games at
7:30 (Michigan and Texas A&M) and about 10 (Gonzaga and Florida
State). There's more Friday, then games this weekend to fill the four
spots.

“Grey's Anatomy,”
8 p.m., ABC. Jackson has savored time with Maggie, but now he must
focus on groundbreaking surgery. And Jo, stymied on her contest
submission, helps Bailey treat an ex-astronaut.

“Superstore,” 8
p.m., NBC. Glenn is upset with the notion that Target is hiring his
people; he tries to retaliate. Meanwhile, Kelly and Jonah might
actually move in together.

“A.P. Bio,” 8:30
p.m., NBC. You have to give a show some credit for managing a brief
scene that combines Flava Flav, Bill Nye (the science guy) and Steve
Jones of the Sex Pistols. Beyond that, this is a moderately funny
episode in which grim Jack tries to write a feel-good book.

“Project Runway,”
9 p.m., Lifetime. Designers create resort wear inspired by Candy
Crush lands.

“Atlanta,” 10
p.m., FX, rerunning at about 11:15. Last week's episode (rerunning at
about 10:38) showed that everyone in Atlanta seems to want Earn's
money; tonight, he decides life is also tricky in the white-folks
world of Marietta.

“Gone With the
Wind” (1939), 10 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. You might want to
record this epic for some time when you have four hours handy. It
follows “Sunset Boulevard” (1950) at 8.