Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, December 27. All times are Eastern.
Top (only) pick
Flesh And Bone (Starz, 8 p.m.): In 1961, FCC chairman Newton N. Minow gave a speech advocating for television made in the public’s interest, where he referred to the current landscape of commercial television as “a vast wasteland.” It’s impossible to say what Mr. Minow would make of Peak TV, but his choice of phrase is beyond accurate for tonight’s schedule. Broadcast and cable networks are all in the midst of a post-Christmas hangover hibernation, midseason premieres aren’t going to pop out until 2016, and even the streaming services have stemmed their ever-flowing output.
As such, the only thing we’re covering tonight at TV Club tonight is the finale of Starz’s ballet miniseries, and Molly Eichel would be perfectly happy if we didn’t as she’s grown to dislike it a lot. A summary list of her complaints: It’s a ballet show that features more dancing scenes in strip clubs then on stage, the episodic plots don’t make sense, the characters are near impossible to invest in, sexual assault is featured only as “white noise,” and the leopard in a diamond-studded collar didn’t even have the decency to be in more than one episode. The only plus side is that, since the finale is supposed to focus on opening night, everyone involved might realize they’re allegedly making a show about ballet. Plus, apparently “Romeo’s prophecy comes to the fore,” whatever that means. Maybe the guy who shit on a pillow will do it again?
Absolutely nothing else. So in the absence of new coverage, why not go back and check out one of the 40 awesome shows that made our Best of 2015 list, or one of the shows that we wish had been on the list, or a show featuring one of these amazing performances? (Just be sure to avoid these massively unnecessary shows.) There was a lot of great TV in 2015, and before 2016 places another massive helping of content on our plates, it’s probably a good idea to make some room in the queue.
Tomorrow in TV Club
The world of ballet may have been a letdown as a TV show setting, but the world of the symphony isn’t: Mozart In The Jungle returns to Amazon on December 30. Vikram Murthi is emerging from rehearsal with some preliminary thoughts on season two.
What else is on?
The Muppets (ABC, 8 p.m.): ABC’s running a marathon of its Muppets series in the hopes it’ll hook some new viewers for when the show comes back from hiatus. We imagine they’re also hopeful those new viewers won’t notice there’s been a change in showrunner since the episodes they saw and this behind-the-scenes reboot has been subjected to a lot of behind-the-scenes rebooting of its own.
Undercover Boss (CBS, 8 p.m.): The craft chocolate world was rocked by scandal last week when Mast Chocolate, one of the most successful and heavily bearded (unclear correlation between the two) companies was accused of lying their way to artisan status. In less controversial chocolate news, this week the COO of Crest Foods finds working at Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip isn’t as sweet as advertised.
The Manners Of Downton Abbey (PBS, 8 p.m.): Downton Abbey knows that in the time since it’s been off the air you’ve all grown fat and lazy, unable to discern which of the 12 forks by your plate is for dessert, which is for salad, and which is for scratching yourself in an impolite location while in polite company. Thankfully, it’s ready to shame you back into into Edwardian grace with the cast and historical adviser educating you on “the proper way to eat, marry, behave, dress, and make money.” We’re assuming the instructions in order are: with multiple courses and little outward enjoyment, with no regard for feelings, as restrained and poised as possible, in multiple layers of increasing difficulty, and at the expense of the poors.
The Librarians (TNT, 8 p.m.): The season two finale puts the team in a showdown with Prospero, which necessitates time travel to 1611 and thwarting a scheme to create a “forest utopia.” Goddamned hippies. We’re betting Prospero also loves himself some Mast Chocolate as well.
Agent X (TNT, 9 p.m.): TNT’s burning off the last two episodes of Agent X tonight, which sees John sent on a suicide mission and a hostage crisis at the opera house. Hey John, going to the opera seems like a suicide mission on its own, doesn’t it? Zing!
Finding Bigfoot (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.): Look, everyone loves a good monster hunt, but this is the ninth season already! Hate to break it to you, but if you were going to find Bigfoot, you would have done so by now. And titling your season premiere “Squatching in the Midnight Sun” is uncomfortably close to Rick And Morty associations you probably don’t want.
The Royals (E!, 10 p.m.): The best part about this show is the episode titles, which are getting increasingly epic as the season goes on. Tonight’s is “Taint Not Thy Mind, Nor Let Thy Soul Contrive Against Thy Mother,” which might be making a last-minute push to defeat Comedy Bang! Bang! for longest episode titles of 2015.
Cutthroat Kitchen (Food Network, 10 p.m.): “One chef is forced to make potato pancakes with tiny tools stuck in potato people.” One wonders if those potato people are themselves being forced to make pancakes with even tinier tools stuck in smaller potato people, and those smaller potato people are doing the same, in a never-ending spiral of subatomic potato pancakes.
12 Gifts Of Christmas (Hallmark, 6 p.m.): Evidently Hallmark isn’t giving up on the Christmas movie trend despite the holiday being over. And so, neither are we! “An unemployed artist gets hired as the personal holiday shopper for a high-strung corporate executive, and the pair soon begin to fall for each other.” Do you feel like Hallmark just plays Mad Libs to come up with these concepts sometimes? “A _______ gets hired as the personal holiday shopper for _______, and the pair soon begin to fall for each other.” There’s hundreds of feasible combinations here. Tell us your favorite in the comments!
A Nanny’s Revenge (Lifetime, 6 p.m.): “A woman vows revenge against a wealthy contractor who is responsible for her parents’ deaths. She sets her plan in motion by getting a job as a nanny in the man’s house.” This sounds a lot like The Hand That Rocks The Cradle to us, so we wonder if this also ends with death by white picket fence. (Spoilers for The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.)
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows—Part 1 and Part 2 (ABC Family, 5 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.): Now that we’re past Christmas, typically the period of reflection and emotion in the Harry Potter universe, it makes sense that we’re jumping right into the battle for Hogwarts and the fate of the wizarding world.
Twister (A&E, 7 p.m.): A film that would one day go on to have a drunken affair with Jaws and produce the Sharknado series, and which has a surprisingly interesting supporting cast as the tornado hunters: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeremy Davies, and Alan Ruck.
Gone In 60 Seconds (AMC, 7:30 p.m.): More like done in 60 seconds, am I right? … C’mon, it’s the end of the year and we’re low on ideas.
Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters (FXM, 8 p.m.): Jeremy Renner is afflicted with magical diabetes, which is all ye need to know about this extraordinarily silly movie.
Oz The Great And Powerful (Syfy, 8 p.m.): Awful Oscar host, Japanese love pillow enthusiast, and Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? adapter James Franco adopts another fantastical guise as the Wizard of Oz, in an installment that came just early enough to avoid being labeled as a hula-hooping Peter Dinklage.
Country Strong (CMT, 9 p.m.): One of our neighbors used to take a particular pride in referring to himself as “country strong.” After this movie, whose synopsis reads a lot like a first draft of the Nashville pilot, he stopped doing that.
Last Vegas and Spring Breakers (Showtime, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.): In lieu of tense, interpersonal dramas, Showtime is instead airing two films of debatable-at-best quality about quartets that engage in questionable-at-best adventures. You have to give them points for committing to the tonal shift.
The Shining (Sundance, 9 p.m.): Amusingly, the aforementioned Twister also contains a sequence where a drive-in is demolished at the same time it’s showing this movie. Having it air after Twister concludes only Stanley Kubrick’s version of the story is unkillable, not by arguably sentient tornados or by the opinions of Stephen King. Though maybe it was King who sent the tornado? Hmm…
The Sixth Sense (Cinemax, 10 p.m.): Normally we’d make an “I see dead careers” joke relating to M. Night Shyamalan, but Wayward Pines turned out to be a solid performer for Fox earlier this year and remarkably got a second season, so that argument’s rendered invalid.
Sunday Night Football, Giants at Vikings (NBC, 8:20 p.m.)
Independence Bowl, Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech (ESPNU, 7 p.m.)
In case you missed it
Doctor Who: It’s the Christmas special! How did Alasdair Wilkins feel about the return of River Song? Did it live up to last year’s joy of seeing Nick Frost as a tangerine-dispensing Father Christmas? What do we know? Do we know things? Let’s find out!