It's the most wonderful time of the year… on your TV screen!
Television is the gift that keeps on giving. Endless options for fans of any genre. Networks, cable, streamers -- you name it, there's quality programming to be had. Movies, reality, sports, documentaries… click and ye shall receive!
I'm a proud member of the Critics Choice Association. I take my television quite seriously, and the coolest part of being a member is the screeners that arrive between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's a great way to catch up on movies and TV that might have slipped through the cracks in 2021.
Next week I'll focus on the best shows of the year, but right now I find myself returning to some old favorites. Don't get me wrong… there's plenty of new stuff worth watching. But right now, I'm craving comfort food.
There's tons to catch up on or see for the first time on your favorite streamer(s), but sometimes it just feels good to enjoy some familiar faces. This week provides a primer on an all-time great, the latest chapter of the best show of its kind, and some proven holiday classics.
Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street (HBO Monday at 10pm) The Children's Television Workshop launched my career when I was a toddler learning how to get to Sesame Street. I've written before about the powerful influence of the early Muppets, and this documentary explores the early history of America's favorite kids show. Here's hoping for plenty of Grover and that bald blue mustached guy who kept finding a fly in his soup.
Survivor 41 (CBS Wednesday at 8pm) Condensed season. Pandemic. Rule changes. Not a problem. Jeff Probst has done it again with the best reality competition show on network television. Twice a year I am fully invested in individuals whose names I'll never remember as they outwit, outplay and outlast the competition. The finale is always full of surprises (my money is on Xander), and then it's on to Season 42! Take me to Fiji now.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (PBS Sunday, now streaming on Apple TV+) Holiday specials come and go, but this is one that tells you what Christmas is really all about. It also features some fantastic piano jazz and the finest cartoon dancing you'll ever see. I love Rudolph, the Grinch and the Miser brothers, but that little tree and the Peanuts gang get me every time.
The Sound Of Music (ABC Sunday 8pm) The hills are alive and as cheesy as ever. This is the equivalent of watching The Ten Commandments when Passover/Easter rolls around. The Von Trapps do their thing accompanied by some of the most memorable show tunes ever written. Laugh, cry and sing along as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. The Sound of Music will always be one of my favorite things.
THIS WEEK’S SPTIMNBAFOBYMB! (Shows Premiering That I Might Not Be A Fan Of But You Might Be!)
American Auto (NBC) – A comedy about a Detroit auto company trying to keep up with the times. Monday at 8pm.
Grand Crew (NBC) – Six pals hang out a wine bar… clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. Tuesday at 8pm.
Shatner In Space (AMAZON) – Captain Kirk completes his quest for the final frontier with some help from Jeff Bezos. Wednesday.
MacGruber (PEACOCK) – First a sketch, then a movie, and now a streaming series with Will Forte in the title role. Thursday.
Finding Magic Mike (HBO MAX) – Regular guys compete for a chance to join the cast of the Magic Mike Live stage show in Las Vegas. Thursday.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS A fictional pandemic and old school Duttons…
Station Eleven (HBO MAX) Thursday, December 16th
Ready for a series centered around battling a flu that devastates the planet? No, it's not a documentary. This adaptation of the award-winning novel focuses on multiple timelines during an apocalypse. The fiction of 2014 became the fact of 2020.
This ten-parter has a loaded cast and plenty of pandemic to go around. Remind yourself that this is entertainment and you're not watching a news channel.
1883 (PARAMOUNT+) Sunday, December 19th
The Dutton family has been on that ranch for a long, long time. This streaming-only prequel sets the stage as the Duttons travel across the plains in post-Civil War America.
Sam Elliot (who else?), Tim McGraw and Faith Hill pave the way for Kevin Costner and crew in the next century surrounded by beautiful country and not-so friendly neighbors. If you're looking for more Yellowstone, here's your fix.
If you love or hate my picks, I'd love to hear from you.
Get vaccinated. Get a booster. Stay healthy and safe!