Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, December 16. All times are Eastern.
Homeland (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Amid all the good cheer and glad tidings tonight, a message from a darker place: Brody pretty much has to die to keep Homeland sustainable, right? Following the events of “In Memoriam,” the man has little to live for, beyond Carrie—and she’s the likeliest source of his demise. Todd VanDerWerff will be collecting your opinions in order to post them to his giant Homeland Conspiracy Corkboard.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): Echoing the very first episode of The Simpsons proper, Santa’s Little Helper prompts a story about Homer’s own boyhood dog. Robert David Sullivan fears that this will all end with a case of rabies.
Survivor (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): A season for the ages—and, with 25 seasons under its branded bandana, you can talk about “ages” of Survivor now—wraps up with a final vote. If the last torch stays lit for a few more days, Carrie Raisler won’t complain.
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Zach Galifianakis lends his voice to the show’s requisite homeless guest star who teaches the regulars the true meaning of Christmas. If need be, Rowan Kaiser can help the show kill two tropes with one episode by posing as a wealthy miser threatening to shut down a local orphanage.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): The Nativity story is retold by Peter Griffin. Kevin McFarland would muster a “Simpsons did it!,” but then he’d have to make a good 2,012 years worth of similar observations.
Dexter (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Dexter’s intricate web of lies and protective measures comes crashing down in a hail of warrants and foreboding previews of the season-seven finale. That’s a good setup for season eight that has Joshua Alston dreading those rumors of a ninth season.
American Dad! (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Heading into the Christmas TV dead zone, it’s now safe to declare this year’s holiday-episode trends: The Mayan apocalypse and lesser-known companions of Saint Nicholas. American Dad! brings Krampus into the animated realm, and Kevin McFarland hopes the show finds some way to incorporate the hairy horror of The Badalisc as well.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Simpsons (Classic) (3 p.m.): Nathan Rabin will file his review of “Treehouse Of Horror IV” as soon as he gets out of jury duty. He can’t go into specifics, but apparently the case has something to do with a dispute over the ownership of a soul. In fact, he can’t even say how he ended up in the jurors’ pool—some dirty dealings by fellow juror Richard Nixon, no doubt.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Call Of The Wildman (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.): It’s a Very Special Turtleman Christmas, in which everyone’s favorite backwoods conservationist helps protect a local turkey population and looks into a light display that’s been made into a snack by a local wild thing. Later: The June Taylor Dancers wrangle a warthog.
Royal Pains (USA, 9 p.m.): The breezy USA favorite returns with a two-hour movie event that bridges its fourth and fifth seasons, all the while providing a egg-nog-and-peppermint flavored dose to viewers in need of a Paulo Costanzo fix.
VH1 Divas 2012 (VH1, 9 p.m.): The latest edition of VH1’s annual celebration of big voices and big attitudes revolves around “dance music”—though, for obvious reasons, the focus isn’t falling on any of the newfangled, computer-assisted dance tunes that ostensibly made this hook a viable option for VH1 Divas 2012.
Golden Sisters (OWN, 10 p.m.): Perhaps you’ve seen this YouTube video of three elderly sisters cracking up while they watch the Kim Kardashian sex tape. If you’ve watched it more than once, OWN bets you’d be interested in watching Mary, Josie, and Teresa go on adventures that don’t involve shocked reactions to Ray J’s penis—like learning karate in order to survive the apocalypse all those hip, younger TV shows have been talking about.
Toy Story 3 (ABC Family, 8 p.m.): The bittersweet conclusion to the theatrical Toy Story franchise finds Andy going to college and his toys—oh, no, it’s all right, we just… we just have something in our eyes. Anyway, Woody, Buzz, and friend go to a daycare but some—oh, there it goes again. Sorry, this is really embarrassing. Just move on to the next capsule. [Open weeping ensues.]
A Christmas Carol (TCM, 9:30 p.m.): The film the British call Scrooge (sort of like how they call an elevator a “go-up box”) gave cinema its definitive Ebenezer, in the form of Alastair Sims. And every night after its première, he’d be visited by at last three spirits reminding him know that no one made a better version of the character.
Sunday Night Football: 49ers at Patriots (NBC, 8:20 p.m.): Super Bowl preview? NBC certainly hopes you’ll think so, because it’s the closest the Peacock will get to airing that big game this year.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Saturday Night Live (Saturday): If you couldn’t figure out why Martin Short was granted the honor of hosting SNL’s annual holiday bash—with no less a musical guest than Paul McCartney—give the recent Vanity Fair profile of the entertainer a whirl. Having been thoroughly charmed by the man who was Ed Grimley, report back to David Sims’ review of Short’s third turn as SNL host.