Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

His Dark Materials reaches the end of its second chapter

Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson
Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson
Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Monday, December 28. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

His Dark Materials (HBO, 9 p.m., second-season finale): HBO’s glossy adaptation of Philip Pullman’s celebrated series closes the book on its second season with “Æsahættr.” That’s the name of the Subtle Knife from which the second book in the trilogy takes its name—and it’s a safe bet that it’ll be hugely important to this finale, in which all roads lead to the Cittàgazze.

The series be back for season three eventually. But for now, content yourselves with Myles McNutt’s recap (or, you know, just read book three. It’s good!)

Regular coverage

Wild cards

We’ve reached the point in this long, long year when most of the broadcast options are either a) festive or b) repeats. So for the rest of 2020, we’ll be highlighting some of those festive things, but also some great shows or episodes from the year you might have missed.

Vernon Jordan: Make It Plain (PBS, 10 p.m., premiere): Okay, this might not be festive, but it is worth highlighting. WETA’s documentary looks at the life and impact of this key figure in the civil rights movement.

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, “The One Where We’re Trapped On TV” (The CW, streaming on Netflix): “There was no chance I was ever going to pick anything other than Legends Of Tomorrow’s “The One Where We’re Trapped On TV” for this list [of the year’s best episodes]. My love for this show is well-documented at this site, but come on, this was made for me. The CW’s worst/goofiest/best superheroes end up in a universe where they’re all characters on TV shows, living through elaborate parodies of Star Trek, Downton Abbey, and Friends, right down to the ridiculous wigs, extremely accurate (yet legally distinct) sets, and ready-made catchphrases? To quote lovable actor and neighbor Nate Heywood from Ultimate Buds: “Why not?” Read Sam Barsanti’s thoughts on this gem, plus the rest of our picks for the year’s best TV episodes.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!