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

There’s no next Next

The cast of Next
Eve Harlow, Aaron Clifton Moten, Michael Mosley, Jason Butler Harner, John Slattery, Fernanda Andrade, Evan Whitten, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Gerardo Celasco
Photo: Miller Mobley/Fox

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


Top pick

Next (Fox, 8 p.m., two-hour series finale): In our fall TV preview, here’s what Sam Barsanti had to say of this John Slattery-starring tech thriller:

Decades after The Terminator, it’s more believable than ever that tech companies will someday send us hurtling toward the apocalypse. In real life, that’s happening because they let elections get stolen, but Fox’s Next—the latest in a long line of fiction about how cell phones are actually scary—suggests that it’s not the skull-stomping Terminators we need to be afraid of, but SkyNet itself. Or, as it’s called here, “neXt.” John Slattery stars as the head of a big tech company who has lost faith (so to speak) in technology, making him the perfect person to assist the FBI’s Cyber Crime Task Force. After all, if anyone knows tech and the evil it’s capable of, it’s a guy who helped program it to do those evils. That’s all pretty straightforward TV procedural fare, but there is a bonus hook here: Slattery’s character sees stuff that isn’t there and has a tendency to smash computers with a hammer because he’s so afraid of them. So maybe he’s not the perfect person to assist anybody.

Fox pulled the plug on this promising series early, so tonight’s two-part finale is not just the end of the season, but the end of the road entirely. Gwen Ihnat will drop in to see what happens when there’s no next episode of NeXt.

Regular coverage

The Bachelorette (ABC, 8 p.m., 16th-season finale): It’s the end of Tayshia Adams’ “journey” to “find” “love,” and thus also the end of our sporadic but nevertheless enthusiastic coverage. Watch for our response tomorro morning, and feel free to head over to our sister site The Takeout for their suitably surreal take on the 16th-season finale.

From Film Club

City Hall (PBS, 8 p.m., broadcast premiere):

“In many respects, City Hall looks like a documentary that Frederick Wiseman might have made four or five decades ago, when he was first exploring how America’s most basic institutions function (or don’t). You wouldn’t be surprised to find it alongside such titles as High School (1968), Hospital (1970), Juvenile Court (1973), and Welfare (1975); given Wiseman’s enduring preoccupation with the nexus of ordinary people and well-meaning authority, it’s rather surprising that he took so long to start tackling government head-on. (A similar film, State Legislature, premiered in 2007.) Still, the world has changed over the past 50 years, and so, too—of late, in particular—has Wiseman’s focus. His occasional geographical portraits now make a point of depicting cultural diversity (In Jackson Heights) or the absence thereof (Monrovia, Indiana). And for City Hall, he’s chosen to look at the municipal workings of Boston, which still has a strong Irish-Catholic image for many people but is in fact “majority minority,” with a population that’s more than 50% people of color. How that gets navigated on a day-to-day basis is the film’s primary, never-stated subject.”


Read the rest of Mike D’Angelo’s film review, and about City Hall’s inclusion in our list of the best film scenes of 2020.

Wild cards

London Hughes: To Catch A D*ck (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., comedy special premiere): Kevin Hart produced this version of Hughes’ Edinburgh Fringe show of the same name, which seems as raunchy as its asterisked title might suggest.

The Price Is Right At Night (CBS, 8 p.m.), Let’s Make A Deal Primetime (CBS, 9 p.m.), and Supermarket Sweep (ABC, 10:01 p.m., special night and time): It’s a big night for people who most enjoy games shows whilst it’s dark outside, as first CBS broadcasts two of its daytime workhorses in the evening hours, and then the marvelous, Leslie Jones-hosted reboot of Sweep airs outside its usual timeslot.

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!