A select viewing guide for Thursday, May 17
COMEDY 30 Rock NBC, CITY-TV, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT Thursday nights won't be nearly as funny after tonight's sixth season finale of TV's sharpest sitcom. Already confirmed to return next fall, 30 Rock has a tradition of wrapping up each season on a chaotic note, and tonight is no exception. Shifty network exec Jack (Alec Baldwin) wants to show the world that his marriage to Avery (Elizabeth Banks) has survived her kidnapping (and forced marriage to Korean leader Kim Jong-un), so he arranges a gaudy ceremony to renew their vows. And officiating the occasion: Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), of course. At the same time, Liz's dense suitor Criss (James Marsden) makes one last pitch for a relationship, while Tracy (Tracy Morgan) asks civil-rights activist Cornel West for tips on how to be a good African-American celebrity.
DRAMA Grey's Anatomy ABC, CTV, 9 p.m. ET/PT Get out the handkerchiefs for tonight's eighth-season closer of this beloved medical drama. Show creator Shonda Rhimes has confirmed that one of the show's principal characters will die in the finale, which naturally has fans in a lather trying to guess who will be killed off. To heighten suspense, the finale has not been made available for preview and the plotline description is vague: “Faced with a life-threatening situation, the doctors must fight to stay alive while trying to save the lives of their peers.” Of course, the fact that series regulars Patrick Dempsey, who plays Derek, and Ellen Pompeo (Meredith) haven't renewed their contracts should provide a clue as to who will soon cease TV existence. Bet the bank on Dr. McDreamy dying.
COMEDY Community NBC, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT All is finally calm behind the scenes on Community. From most reports, the public tiff between series star Chevy Chase (who left an expletive-laden critique of the show on his boss's answering machine) and creator Dan Harmon (who played the nasty message at a comedy club and released it to TMZ) has been resolved and the show wrapped its third-season episodes on a peaceful note. Whether or not NBC will renew the low-rated series for a fourth season is another story. In any event, tonight's finale finds the sandwich-shop feud between Chase's character Pierce and strong-willed Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) reaching critical mass. Toward resolving the dispute, a mock court is arranged with Shirley represented by Jeff (Joel McHale) while Pierce retains Jeff's lifelong nemesis Alan (Rob Corddry).
(Kristin Callahan/Rex Features)
DRAMA The Mentalist CBS, CTV, 10 p.m. ET/PT Prepare yourself: The normally redoubtable Thomas Jane (Simon Baker) is no longer the confident psychic-sleuth he used to be. In tonight's fourth-season finale, Jane is stung by yet another failed attempt to find the serial killer known as Red John, so he abandons his duties with the CBI to lick his wounds. He winds up in Las Vegas – where else? – to drown his sorrows, but things start looking up when a beautiful cocktail waitress, played by Canada's own Emmanuelle Chriqui, takes an interest in him.
MOVIE The Rite The Movie Network, 10:45 p.m. ET (Only in Eastern Canada) Released almost four decades after The Exorcist, this 2011 thriller proved that the semi-plausible prospect of demonic possession can still scare the daylights out of moviegoers. Colin O'Donoghue plays the young seminary student Michael Kovak, whose mentor Father Xavier (Ciaran Hinds) ships him off to the Vatican for instruction in the lost art of exorcism. Although highly skeptical of the practice, Michael becomes a believer once he meets the dour Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins, still channelling Hannibal Lecter), who has performed thousands of exorcisms. The master and the student join forces when a young pregnant woman begins barking and eye-rolling like Linda Blair in her prime.