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

The Expanse colonizes the furthest reaches of TV’s holiday calendar

Illustration for article titled The Expanse colonizes the furthest reaches of TV’s holiday calendar

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, December 22. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

The Expanse (Syfy, 10 p.m.): The holidays are a generally barren—some people might even say uninhabited and airless, with atypical gravity, if those people were trying to set up an admittedly flimsy space colonization metaphor and weren’t really thinking this through very well—time for television. Few shows willing to colonize these far reaches of the programming calendar, but if any show is going to give it a shot, it’s got to be Syfy’s new solar system-spanning epic. In any case, tonight’s episode sees trouble brewing, as the ice freighter crew is taken prisoner by the Martian navy, and Space Detective Tom Jane (not his character’s actual name, but definitely his true name) deals with rioters in the asteroid belt.

Also noted

Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce (Bravo, 10 p.m.): This episode involves Abby trying to define her relationship with a new feller by spending time away from work, which is weird when you consider all previous episode descriptions we’ve read involved Abby finding fellers specifically so she could increase blog traffic. You can’t unmix work and love just like that, Abby! Gwen Ihnat will be round later with a more reasoned take, we’re sure.

Jessica Jones (Netflix): We’ve been working our way through Jessica Jones over the past week, and while we’re still an episode or two behind regular reviewer Oliver Sava, but we feel pretty safe in adding our admittedly tardy opinion to the pile by saying this is a terrific, perceptive, complex show as long as its focus is on Jessica and Kilgrave, and it becomes significantly less of all those things the further away it gets from its core story. Seriously, has there ever been a more extraneous subplot in history than the lawyer divorce story? (We’re prepared to be proven wrong by the episodes we haven’t seen … but still!)

What else is on?

Super SmackDown Live! (USA, 8 p.m.): As the Monday night aspect of the What’s On Tonight gestalt entity—sometimes called “LaToya Ferguson”—observed, this is WWE week, and so we, the Tuesday night aspect of the What’s On Tonight gestalt entity—we may once have had a name, but we no longer remember it—should point out SmackDown is airing on a special night, with the New Day taking on the Lucha Dragons.


IMPACT Wrestling (9 p.m.): Meanwhile, if you prefer some non-WWE wrestling, check out this two-hour look at the best of 2015 for the rival promotion TNA. Former WWE champs Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy are prominently involved, among others.

The Year: 2015 (ABC, 9 p.m.): And for those who feel that the best and most memorable events of 2015 comprise more than just what happened in one indie wrestling promotion, we guess there’s always this two-hour special. Everything from the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality to the Star Wars excitement will be discussed.


Hunting Hitler (History, 10 p.m.): Despite the fact that Hitler absolutely, definitely died in that damn bunker in Berlin, the hunt is still on, apparently. This week is looking at some estate in the Andes, which is, again, not that damn bunker in Berlin, so it’s decidedly not a place Hitler was ever in after, say, April 29, 1945.

Star Trek Into Darkness (FX, 8 p.m.): So, this movie is pretty okay! Yeah, the big twist is kind of insultingly obvious to anyone who knows the first thing about Star Trek, there are bits that are just rock dumb by any standards but especially by what has been such a proudly intellectual franchise, and the part where it’s kind of, sort of a 9/11 truther allegory is, um, troubling, to say the very least. But we’ve got to admit: Even being aware of all those problems going in, we generally enjoyed this movie, and not just as mindless entertainment. Something about this movie’s emotional logic is just right, for all its other very big flaws. And so ends our very half-hearted endorsement of a J.J. Abrams movie.


Mission: Impossible III (Showtime 2, 8 p.m.): And now for our full-hearted endorsement of a J.J. Abrams movie! We’re pretty sure we’ve spotlighted the third Mission: Impossible before, but everyone should go watch this movie. It’s not trying to redefine the world or anything, but it’s a wonderfully, leanly constructed thriller, Tom Cruise runs through approximately all of China in the climax, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is just the absolute perfect villain in this. This is definitely not the best ever use of Hoffman’s prodigious talents, but we’re not sure he ever quite elevated a film more than pretty much any actor could have like he did here.

Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo Vs. Temple (ESPN, 7 p.m.): This is a random game happening at a random time, but it’s almost certainly the best mid-major matchup of this bowl season, with the runners-up of the MAC and the American—both of which were contenders for a New Year’s bowl slot until some late-season losses—going at each other. Toledo’s Matt Campbell has already left for Iowa State, taking a little bit of the luster off this one, but this should still be some very solid football.


In case you missed it AKA How Stone Cold Steve Austin Saved Christmas

The Great Holiday Baking Show: We’ve mostly avoided talking about the holidays in these Tuesday listings, but yeah, we’ll make an exception for this. We did not see the Santa Claus heel turn coming. And sure, this is a “fake” Santa, but let’s not pretend Stone Cold wouldn’t stun the real one, too.

We’re shocked this didn’t turn into a full-on feud building toward a Santa title shot at Wrestlemania. Real missed opportunity there.