Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for November 22-25, 2012. All times are Eastern.
Treme (Sunday, HBO, 10 p.m.): This Thanksgiving, show your appreciation for abundance: second helpings, long weekends, expanding waistlines, deep discounts on consumer electronics, a super-sized What’s On Tonight?, and 15 extra minutes of Treme. Of course, the actual occasion for that additional quarter hour is the series’ third-season finale, but you can fold Annie’s album release, Davis’ escape from the music biz, and a break in the legal clouds for Toni into your “What I’m thankful for” address on Thursday night—be grateful for this bountiful harvest of David Simon-led TV drama, for its fields will be fallow before long. Keith Phipps can’t wait to dig in.
Glee (Thursday, Fox, 9 p.m.): Nobody Tells Ryan Murphy What To Do, Example No. 291: Not only is Glee refusing to take a holiday leave like the rest of television, but it’s ignoring Thanksgiving altogether to debut a superhero-based episode. Brandon Nowalk has a screener, so this nonsense won’t disrupt his day off.
Once Upon A Time (Sunday, ABC, 8 p.m.): Television awakens from its tryptophan coma in time for its Sunday-night stories, beginning with Mary Margaret and Emma’s latest attempt to return to Storybrooke. Oliver Sava wants to make an “Over The River And Through The Woods” joke right now, but he has to keep it under his hat for a few more days.
The Simpsons (Sunday, Fox, 8 p.m.): Presumably eager to see God wrestle “hope” out of from under President Obama’s mug, Flanders gets all excited to see the word spelled out in the bark of a tree. Robert David Sullivan will file his review as soon as he finishes investigating this spider web that contains the phrase “SOME PIG.”
Bob’s Burgers (Sunday, Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Opening a deep reserve of Jaws illusions, the Belchers’ seaside community is terrorized by a mechanical shark. This is perfectly timed with the opening of Rowan Kaiser’s new marina, You’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat.
Revenge (Sunday, ABC, 9 p.m.): In the proud tradition of Thanksgiving flashbacks, Revenge activates its flux capacitor and takes a trip to 2006. Carrie Raisler welcomes the chance warn everyone about the looming subprime mortgage crisis.
The Walking Dead (Sunday, AMC, 9 p.m.): The two halves of season three are poised for a head-on collision, and Zack Handlen’s dreams of Rick and The Governor engaging in a battle of who’s the craziest look more and more likely to come true.
The Good Wife (Sunday, CBS, 9 p.m.): Bruce McGill goes D-Day on Lockhart/Gardner’s latest case, though it’s Stockard Channing’s debut as Alicia’s mom that’s running over the show’s protagonist with a metaphorical motorcycle. That notion has finally given David Sims a good ending for his Animal House/Grease fan-fiction!
Family Guy (Sunday, Fox, 9 p.m.): The Griffin men just don’t do well with animals that aren’t Brian: Peter has his long-standing rivalry with the giant chicken, Chris contended with the Evil Monkey for years, and now Stewie is tormented by a pet turtle. Friend to all creatures Kevin McFarland can’t figure out what they’re doing wrong.
Boardwalk Empire (Sunday, HBO, 9 p.m.): Gyp Rosetti moves in on Atlantic City, presumably to build big, gaudy, hotels-cum-monuments-to-his-largesse in the style of Donald Trump. And now Noel Murray can’t get the image of Bobby Cannavale with a Trump combover out of his head.
Dexter (Sunday, Showtime, 9 p.m.): It took six-and-three-quarter seasons for Dexter, a show about a murderer, to give an episode the Charles Manson-inspired title “Helter Skelter.” Joshua Alston will take this show of restraint as a further sign of the series’ creative renaissance.
Homeland (Sunday, Showtime, 10 p.m.): At press time, there’s limited information (and no screener) available for “Two Hats,” so we can only guess that this installment deals with Brody’s fraying allegiances. Either that or Todd VanDerWerff is about to sit down with an hour where two pieces of headwear break down the season so far and set the table for its final three episodes.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Thursday, NBC, 9 a.m.): This year’s festivities include appearances by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, the cast of Sesame Street, and gold-medal Olympians, but let’s not overlook the main attraction: The parade debut of a Papa Smurf balloon, a vast improvement over 2008’s generic “Smurf” entry.
National Dog Show (Thursday, NBC, 12 p.m.): Doing nothing to debunk rumors that he’s merely a projection of Christopher Guest’s imagination, John O’Hurley hosts the 169th edition of this Thanksgiving tradition.
Punkin Chunkin (Thursday, Science, 8 p.m.): For a holiday ritual with a little less history (and a richer sense of humor): Mythbusters’ Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara head to Bridgeville, Delaware for a closer look at how to make a pumpkin pie the hard, several-thousand-pounds-per-square-inch way.
Michael Jackson: Bad25 (Thursday, ABC, 9:30 p.m.): 25 years ago, Bad was the Michael Jackson LP that couldn’t possibly live up to the expectations set by Thriller. Today, it receives a track-by-track retrospective directed by Spike Lee. One can only imagine what outsized tribute awaits Dangerous in four years. (An immersive, Steven Spielberg-directed IMAX experience, probably.)
iCarly (Friday, Nickelodeon, 8 p.m.): Sonia Saraiya takes a look at the final episode of the series that defined the last seven years of Nickelodeon programming—a show that also made sure Apple-inspired “i” puns are carried by the current generation of tweens and teens into the next several decades.
Unlikely Animal Friends (Friday, Nat Geo Wild, 8 p.m.): We try not to contradict Dr. Peter Venkman too regularly, but dogs and cats living together aren’t a sign of the apocalypse—just a sign that humans on Thanksgiving break could use the sight of a labrador retriever and a cheetah cub hanging out.
Trapped In The Closet: Part Three (Friday, IFC, 9 p.m.): Marah Eakin volunteered for the assignment / she opened up the screener / she couldn’t believe R. Kelly squeezed more chapters out of this insane project / But she could believe he’d name a character “Beeno” / And that dripping sound / IT’S STILL THERE! / Please enjoy this third part of Trapped In The Closet / Closet / Closet / Closet / Closet / Closet…
Killer Karaoke (Friday, TruTV, 9 p.m.):As with most things involving Stephen “Steve-O” Glover, this hybrid of Fear Factor and Say What? Karaoke is either a new high-water mark for gonzo TV or a new low for the medium. What say you, lady singing Carrie Underwood while reaching into a box full of snakes?
It’s A SpongeBob Christmas! (Friday, CBS, 9:30 p.m.): Deck the pineapple and brush up on your Rankin-Bass, as SpongeBob gets legitimately absorbent in this stop-motion Christmas spectacular. Zack Handlen will be with you as soon as he finishes plopping on the deck and flopping like a fish.
Made In Jersey (Saturday, CBS, 8 p.m.): The first casualty of the fall season lives out the rest of its episode order in Saturday-night purgatory, confirming that its version of Kyle MacLachlan is the version of Agent Cooper who’s trapped in Twin Peaks’ Black Lodge.
Marvin Marvin (Saturday, Nickelodeon, 8:30 p.m.): It’s the holidays, so let’s dig up an old Videocracy chestunt: “Warning: Fred.” Lucas Cruikshank makes his ploy for all the Nickelodeon timeslots with TV’s latest variation on My Favorite Martian.
Downton Abbey Revisited (PBS, 8 p.m.): Law-abiding American viewers still have to wait until the new year to see the third series of Downton Abbey—but Angela Lansbury’s willing to reward their patience with a sneak peek and behind-the-scenes footage in this special.
Liz & Dick (Sunday, Lifetime, 9 p.m.): With the patron saint of My World Of Flops, Lindsay Lohan, playing one of the title characters, this Lifetime portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s troubled romance more or less arrived in The A.V. Club offices bearing a “For review by Nathan Rabin” stamp.
The Cleveland Show (Sunday, Fox, 9:30 p.m.): We heard that the ugly duckling of the Seth MacFarlane family finally turned a corner in terms of quality, and a belated Thanksgiving installment seemed as good an episode as any to send Simon Abrams to investigate such rumors.
Extreme Cougar Wives (Sunday, TLC, 10 p.m.): If this TLC special doesn’t end with one of its age-inappropriate couples skydiving hand-in-hand, someone at the network should re-consider its use of the term “extreme.”
Cheaper By The Dozen (Thursday, TCM, 8 p.m.): Thanksgiving dinner will probably be over by this point, so turn TCM on and let the 14-person Gilbreth brood provide a sharp contrast to whatever clean-up chaos is occurring in your kitchen.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Thursday, MTV, 9:30 p.m.): Canadian Thanksgiving occurred last month, so that leaves the inhabitants of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s video-game-and-indie-rock-damaged version of Toronto free to battle evil exes and punch one another’s lives in the face for your enjoyment tonight.
Field Of Dreams (Friday, HBO Signature, 7:10 p.m.): Home with your parents this weekend? Having trouble communicating with your father? Kevin Costner and his baseball ghosts should be able to help.
Our Idiot Brother (Friday, TMC, 8 p.m.): Or perhaps you’re in the mood to commiserate about an absent sibling—in which case Paul Rudd’s hippie doofus in this film can be the target for your gentle jibes.
Star Wars (Saturday, Spike, 7:30 p.m.): The flurry of rumors and speculation surrounding Disney’s upcoming Star Wars sequels is renewing enthusiasm for the franchise in ways that haven’t been seen since the lead-up to The Phantom Menace. Revisit the special-edition cut of the true first Star Wars film for a reminder of why it’s okay that George Lucas no longer rules this galaxy.
Die Hard 2 (Sunday, Cinemax, 8 p.m.): Set one year after the seize of Nakatomi Tower, the original “Die Hard on an airplane”—well, in an airport and then on an airplane—presents another rough Christmas for John McClane.
Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (Sunday, ABC Family, 8 p.m.): Like the rest of the world, this telefilm ignores the existence of Home Alone 4, instead returning the franchise to the “random moppet sets elaborate traps for random criminals” motif of Home Alone 3—with a dash of “negating your childhood memories” for good measure.
College Football: TCU at Texas (Thursday, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.): Is it possible all of this secession talk coming out of the Lone Star State is actually related to grumpy college football fans being forced to reorient their Thanksgiving viewing habits to include a Longhorns-Horned Frogs matchup rather than the traditional meeting of UT and Texas A&M?
College Football: Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, ABC, noon): The Hawkeyes have a chance to play spoiler, as a Nebraska loss could knock the Cornhuskers out of contention for the Big Ten title.
College Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis (Saturday, NBC Sports, 9:30 p.m.): New NCAA rules state that before the men’s basketball season can commence, Atlantis must be raised from the bottom of the sea—or something like that. We think it has something to do with the championship match of this preseason tournament taking place in the Bahamas.
Sunday Night Football: Packers at Giants (Sunday, NBC, 8:20 p.m.): Carried by the momentum of five straight wins, Green Bay arrives at MetLife Stadium, where the winners of the last two Super Bowls meet to send this Thanksgiving weekend off on a suitably epic note.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Key & Peele (Wednesday): Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele prepare for the holiday shopping rush by reminding viewers that parents in the 1990s once fought tooth-and-nail to secure their children vaguely racist Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers toys. Steve Heisler dreams of a day when teenaged crime fighters are judged by the form of their zord, rather than the color of their skin.