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Critic’s corner: What’s on TV Thursday

American skaters Madison Chock (left) and Gracie Gold.

BRIAN SNYDER /Reuters

American skaters Madison Chock (left) and Gracie Gold.

2014 Winter Olympics 8 p.m., NBC

Although the grandiose, official opening ceremony doesn’t happen until Friday night, it’s time to let the Sochi games begin in primetime. Or at least the preliminary rounds of snowboarding, freestyle skiing, and figure skating. Viewing of the Olympic games will be available across several networks (including USA, MSNBC, and CNBC) and other platforms (including mobile apps), and a full schedule can be found at www.nbcolympics.com/viewers-guide . Thursday we’ll see the first-ever figure skating team event with teams of skaters from the top 10 ranked nations from across all four competitive styles — men’s, women’s, pairs, and ice dancing — mixing it up. Also featured will be the slopestyle of men’s and women’s snowboarding and the moguls event for women’s freestyle skiing.

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The Moaning of Life 8 p.m., Science Channel

Former Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant sidekick Karl Pilkington considers his singular journey around the globe. This episode examines how different cultures deal with death, which should be eye-opening for Pilkington since he’s never been to a funeral.

The Big Bang Theory 8 p.m., CBS

It’s wine o’clock.

American Idol 8 p.m., Fox

Hurray for Hollywood.

Rake 9 p.m., Fox

“Bridesmaids” screenwriter Annie Mumolo pops up as a fellow gambling addict in need of help from Keegan (Greg Kinnear).

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