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What to Watch on Thursday: ‘The Comedians’ and ‘Louie’ on FX

Josh Gad (left) and Billy Crystal star in the new FX comedy “The Comedians.”
Josh Gad (left) and Billy Crystal star in the new FX comedy “The Comedians.” Frank Ockenfels/FX

The Comedians (10 p.m., FX) – This sometimes funny new series stars Billy Crystal and Josh Gad as versions of themselves – comic actors reluctantly paired together for new sketch comedy TV show. The first episode is the weakest of the four I viewed, but it hits a sort of stride after that. The running theme is that Crystal’s character, though highly respected and credentialed, isn’t hip enough with younger viewers to carry a show on his own, so the network (in the show, it’s also FX) forces him to team with Gad or there’s no deal. Throughout, Crystal can be a bit too corny, Gad a bit too irreverent (and in one episode, which features guest stars Joe Torre and Sugar Ray Leonard, painfully obnoxious). But Crystal’s hokey comic bits are balanced by his “elder statesman of comedy” persona, and Gad’s flippancy is balanced by sweet insecurity – which makes them a much better matching than either of them realize. A strong supporting cast (more Dennis O’Hare as FX Network president, please) pushes this into the “win” column.

Also on tonight . . .

Mom (9 p.m., CBS) – Bonnie goes to extreme measures to keep a significant secret from Christy.

Backstrom (9 p.m., Fox) – The S.C.U. investigates when a young female sex surrogate is found dead. Also, Backstrom receives upsetting news about his mother.

American Crime (10 p.m., ABC) – Barb goes to the media to bring attention to her son’s murder, while Carter’s situation behind bars worsens and a crucial piece of evidence changes everything.

Lip Sync Battle (10 p.m., Spike) – In the third installment of this surprisingly entertaining series (created by Jimmy Fallon and hosted by LL Cool J), actresses Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt engage in a lip sync battle. (A rerun of Common vs. John Legend airs after.)

The Watch (10 p.m., National Geographic) – Four loners live in isolation in this new series. Among them: a lighthouse keeper in the Atlantic; a watchman at an abandoned amusement park in West Virginia; and an Oklahoma motorcycle club member who patrols an empty toxic mining town.

Louie (10:30 p.m., FX) – Louie goes to a pot luck dinner in the Season 5 premiere.

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