(Here are the five TV best-bets for Thursday, Oct. 8; feel free to use in any form, all or some, print and/or web)
1) “Connecting” and “Closer Look Thursday” debuts, 8 and 8:30 p.m., NBC. First is a new effort – flawed, but fun – to make a socially distant show about social distance. Mismatched friends – ranging from the immensely lovable Annie (upper left) to a doofus named Rufus (upper middle) – chat online. It’s occasionally serious and often funny … but the biggest laughs will probably come from “Closer Look.” Seth Meyers offers a mock-newscast … something he has mastered on “Saturday Night Live” and his own latenight show.
2) Football, 8:15 p.m., ET Fox and NFL Network. Now Fox has a full fall line-up. The final pieces were “NeXt,” which debuted Tuesday, and football. Previous Thursday games this fall were only on the NFL Network, but now the two share the game. The Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Bucs, each off to a strong start (3-1), collide. Except for some Saturdays, Fox is now rerun-free.
3) “Supernatural” return, 8 p.m., CW. Only three hourlong dramas (“Gunsmoke” and two from “Law & Order”) have lasted longer than “Supernatural.” But this 15th and final season (tying “ER” for fourth place) was stalled by COVID. Now – after a six-month break – it returns for its last seven episodes. Tonight’s hour is small (only four characters), but very clever. Meagan Fay, a likable TV veteran, plays a wood nymph who combines the persona of Mary Poppins and the power of Merlin.
4) “Star Trek: Discovery,” 10 p.m., CBS. At the end of the first two episodes, Burnham had hit bottom. Convicted of mutiny (for trying to override the captain and attack the Klingons), she’s also blamed for her captain’s death and or the Klingon war. Now we finally meet the Discovery ship and the show’s core, with characters who avoid “Trek” traditions. There’s an enigmatic captain (Jason Isaacs), an argumentative science officer (Anthony Rapp) and a neatly insecure colleague (Mary Wiseman).
5) More sci-fi. After “Supernatural” and “Discovery,” things deteriorate. “Outpost” (9 p.m., CW) opens its season with a bit of everything – good fight scenes, occasional magic, clumsy humor (in the apothecary) and inept drama. “Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones” (9-10:33 p.m. ET, BBC America) concludes a two-night tale. The original, 1967 footage was lost, but the audio remained. Now it’s been matched to new animation … a fine idea, except the animation is flat and drab, as is the story itself.