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

Lights Out could’ve been a contender—now it could be your Boxing Day binge

Catherine McCormack (left), Holt McCallany (Screenshot: Lights Out)
Catherine McCormack (left), Holt McCallany (Screenshot: Lights Out)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, December 26.

Top pick

Lights Out (Netflix): A cheap joke—and one that has nothing to do with the holiday’s actual origins—but what would you have us recommend the day after Christmas? (Sure, there’s a new Todd Barry stand-up special, the Kennedy Center Honors, and a New Year’s special in which Elvis Costello voices the father of kid-lit favorite Pete The Cat. But just go with us on this one.) Holt McCallany stars as Patrick “Lights” Leary, a retired boxer trying to figure out life’s next round, caught between a comeback, a job in the intimidation racket, and a difficult diagnosis from his physician. It’s a bit of 2010s Prestige Drama Bingo, but it was also a promising series cut down in its prime, a decision surprising enough that, at the time, FX Networks chief and Mayor of Television John Landgraf phoned us up to explain what happened.


If you loved McCallany in Mindhunter and wondered where his gruff warmth has been all your life; if you’re seeking a quick, compelling binge with a supporting cast of talented ringers (Stacy Keach, Catherine McCormack) and the future stars of Peak TV (a post-Wire, pre-Orange Is The New Black Pablo Schreiber, a pre-Search Party Meredith Hagner); if you simply want to help a dumb “Boxing Day” punchline land—you owe it to yourself to give Lights Out a look.

Regular coverage

Runaways (Hulu)

Wild card

Requiem For A Heavyweight (YouTube): TV’s original champ when it comes to portraying the plights and perils of pugilism. Jack Palance sets the template for Lights Out and other future screen prizefighters in the Playhouse 90 installment that won a purse full of awards and made a name for a combative former paratrooper named Rod Serling. Its sterling reputation has helped Requiem become one of the few live-TV dramas to survive into the 21st century; home-video releases and YouTube uploads abound, like this attempt to reproduce the original broadcast, complete with opening titles and words from the sponsors.

Managing editor, The A.V. Club