A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
The Big Bang Theory (8/7c, CBS): Talk about going out with the proverbial bang. The beloved hit sitcom takes one last bow after 12 seasons and a record (for a multi-cam comedy) 279 episodes with an hourlong series finale of back-to-back episodes that promises some game-changing surprises — and at least one celebrity cameo — as Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik), Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and the gang head off into a rosy syndication future. Will Shamy get their Nobel Prize? Will Raj (Kunal Nayyar) ever find his soulmate? Will the elevator ever work?
With a half-hour break for the season finale of Young Sheldon (9/8c), which also has a Nobel Prize theme, the Bang celebration continues with a behind-the-scenes special, Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell (9:30/8:30c), hosted by Galecki and Cuoco and featuring a set tour and personal memories. The farewell event continues with a cast reunion on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (11:35/10:35c).
Grey's Anatomy (8/7c, ABC): Like Young Sheldon, the enduring hospital drama has been renewed for two more seasons, and as Year 15 winds down at Grey Sloan Memorial, a dense Seattle fog envelops the city while Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Alex (Justin Chambers) work desperately to save their young patient. Regarding our favorite new relationship of the season, Schmitt (Jake Borelli) is there for a struggling Nico (Alex Landi), but will the handsome ortho doc be back in the fall? (We already know Borelli has been bumped up to series regular.)
Better Things (10/9c, FX): Confirmed for a fourth season, Pamela Adlon's exquisite slice-of-life comedy wraps its third with another piercingly poignant, and at times tartly funny, examination of family dynamics. Parenting three headstrong daughters is not for sissies, but thankfully Sam (Adlon) is up to the challenge. She's not the only one wiping away tears by the end of this powerful episode.
Inside Thursday TV: Amazingly, 20 years has passed since the U.S. Women's National Team claimed their historic Women's World Cup victory. Many of the players come back together for espnW Presents: The '99ers, Reunited (7/6c, ESPN2), hosted by espnW writer and ESPN commentator Julie Foudy, welcoming fellow teammates Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Briana Scurry, Kristine Lilly and Brandi Chastain… In advance of a long hiatus until next midseason, ABC's Grey's spinoff Station 19 (9/8c) leaves Seattle for Los Angeles, where the crew battles deadly wildfires. Guest stars include Patrick Duffy and Nyle DiMarco… NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10/9c) closes the book on its 20th season with Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and ADA Stone (Philip Winchester) going after crooked lawyer Rob Miller (Titus Welliver) when he's suspected of complicity in the death of a teenager found in the Hudson River.