'Psych: The Movie' recalls more carefree times

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By Kevin McDonough

Was there a popular demand for "Psych: The Movie" (8 p.m., USA)? Did the world suddenly want to get silly again?

The movie airs three years after the series finale of the popular USA Network comedy, starring James Roday and Dule Hill as Shawn and Gus, terminally immature amateur detectives. "Psych" regulars Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson and Corbin Bernsen return, as well as some familiar faces from the series' eight seasons.

A loose and goofy storyline involves a band of tattooed arms dealers and a plot to target Shawn's longtime love interest, Juliet O'Hara (Lawson). Expect the usual foolishness, including long digressions on pop culture, an office outfitted to resemble the set from "Gremlins," fake beards and contrived escapes from imminent peril. In many ways, the ability of Gus and Shawn to bluff and joke their way out of danger hearkens back to vintage "Road Movie" comedies starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby - even probably back to silent comedies and vaudeville as well.

This movie is a reminder of USA's old "blue skies" programming approach — easy, breezy comedies like "Psych," "Monk" and "Royal Pains." The network has since opted for darkened skies, more serious fare typified by "Mr. Robot." That paranoid head-scratcher probably better reflects our current state. But that doesn't mean we can't miss a goofier approach to entertainment.

"Psych: The Movie" also reminds us that Gus and Shawn's lighthearted antics were best enjoyed in hour-long dollops. A full feature may be a tad too much silliness in one sitting.

• The crew discovers a new planet on the season finale of "The Orville" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14). Despite its short freshman outing, this series has been renewed for a second season.

• 'Tis the season for cakes, confections, visions of sugar plums and all that. "The Great American Baking Show" (9 p.m. ABC, TV-PG) begins a new short holiday season.

TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

• Post-Pearl Harbor hysteria becomes the backdrop for the 1979 slapstick epic "1941" (7:30 p.m., This TV). Not even "Saturday Night Live" stars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd at their peak could redeem this Steven Spielberg misfire from the fact that it wasn't very funny.

• Carmine Falcone (John Doman) arrives on the fall season finale of "Gotham" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

• Wynonna, Emmylou Harris, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Ashley Cleveland and Dailey & Vincent perform on "A Nashville Christmas" (8 p.m., getTV).

• A filmmaker strives to understand her once-vibrant sister's path to despair, mental illness and early death in the 2017 documentary "32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide" (8 p.m., HBO).

• The Atlanta Falcons host the New Orleans Saints in "Thursday Night Football" (8:25 p.m., NBC, NFL). Also streaming on Amazon Prime.

• Unexpected guests crash an ogre's holiday party in the 2007 special "Shrek the Halls" (8 p.m. ABC, TV-PG).

• Christmas toys run amok in the 2014 special "Toy Story That Time Forgot" (8:30 p.m. ABC, TV-G).

• Servicemen offer firsthand accounts of the "day that will live in infamy" on "Pearl Harbor: Survivors Remember" (9 p.m., History, TV-14).

• A rookie goes undercover on "S.W.A.T." (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

SERIES NOTES

A new spin on wedding planning on "The Big Bang Theory" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * A new dreamcatcher arrives on "Supernatural" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) * A brisket recipe sparks a family tiff on "Young Sheldon" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Bonnie wants to meet Adam's brother on the "Mom" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * Black Siren strikes on "Arrow" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) * Heather befriends Tyler on "Life in Pieces" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).

LATE NIGHT

Tiffany Haddish is booked on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" (11 p.m., Comedy Central) * Patton Oswalt, Andy Serkis and Royal Blood appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS) * Sarah Paulson and John Hodgman are booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes James Franco and Niall Horan on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) * Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Dave Franco and Hanson appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC) * Mike Birbiglia and Brooks Wackerman visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC).

© 2017, United Feature Syndicate