What to watch on Thursday, May 23...
SERIES PREMIERE, 8pm & 8:30pm, NBC
A brush with death leaves housewife Beth (Anne Heche) believing God has plugged in a direct hotline to her brain. Despite the reservations of her philandering husband and teenage daughter, she eases into her new prophetic powers in “The Book of Beth” at 8pm. Then she attempts to mend fences with wronged friends in “Take it Back” at 8:30pm, as NBC burns this series off as quickly as possible.
SERIES PREMIERE, 9pm, Fox
Does Someone Have to Go?
I am professionally obligated to alert you to the existence of the scuzziest new reality series this side of Panem, but I urge you to consider it more of a warning than a recommendation. Employees at various workplaces are pitted against one another for the amusement of their economic better. Whee?
SERIES PREMIERE 9pm, AMC
Holland, MI, is the first stop on an eight-city tour spotlighting amateur entertainers in small-town America. A pair of Hollywood coaches will select the primo performers for a local talent show, where the audience will vote for its favorite act.
The crime procedural import settles into its regular timeslot with “Crimes of Passion.” After a hit-and-run accident, Flynn and Vega prove that not all Pacific Northwest detectives need 26 damn episodes to solve the death of a teenage girl with seedy ties to a prominent local politician.
SEASON 4 PREMIERE, 10pm, ABC
ABC rounds out Canadian-Cop-Drama Thursdays as “Surprises” kicks off another season of Rookie Blue to hold down the summer fort. Andy and Nick stumble into peril during an undercover operation, while an arrest at 15 Division pulls Sam and the other officers into their investigation/rescue.
“Trou Normand” finds the team pursuing a killer who sculpts his victims’ remains into totem poles. Their investigation brings Abigail under new scrutiny—and draws both Will and Freddy Lounds closer to the clandestine coalition between Abigail and Hannibal.
Men at Work
Milo and Gibbs keep mum when Tyler begins dating a woman they know far too well. Elsewhere in “The Gibbs-Orcism,” Neal and Amy are foiled once again by their “anniversary curse,” which according to my research has claimed the lives of more than 14,000 sitcom bit players in the last three years alone.
Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous
Christy asks Zach out, and while the logline circumspectly describes their get-together as “peculiar,” the episode’s title—”Zach Stone Is Gonna Make a Sex Tape”—perhaps gives away the game.
SEASON 1 FINALE, 12am, Cartoon Network
Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell
“People in Hell Want Ice Water,” explains the title of this episode, in which Satan orders some demons to compete for a cool, delicious drink. Seems like a wasted opportunity to nab some PepsiCo dollars by throwing in a Gatorade product placement, but I suppose it’s heartening that Hell hasn’t been totally commercialized yet.
– Vin Diesel, Steve Schirripa, and The Mowgli's on Conan, 11pm, TBS
– Ludacris on Chelsea Lately, 11pm, E!
– Morgan Freeman on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, 11pm, Comedy Central
– New York Times reporter Christopher Chivers on The Colbert Report, 11:30pm, Comedy Central
– Tyler Perry, Isla Fisher, and The Shout Out Louds on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 11:35pm, NBC
– Mark Ruffalo, 2013 National School Scrabble champions Kevin Bowerman and Raymond Gao, and Reggie Watts on Jimmy Kimmel Live, 11:35pm, ABC
– Julianne Moore, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Danny Bowien, and Boz Scaggs on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 12:37am, NBC