TV Best Bets

Friday, Dec. 1: ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Two-Hour Season Premiere

© 2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. Credit: Bob D'Amico

ALSO SEE: Christmas Calendar: Holiday Movies, Specials, Classics, and Marathons

All Times Eastern.

Friday, Dec. 1

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Orientation”
ABC, 8pm
Season Premiere!
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for Season 5 with a special two-hour premiere. At the end of last season, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) was onboard a ship in deep space, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were being held by a mysterious group. Now they must discover where they are and how to get home as the clock ticks down for humanity.

East Los High: Finale Event
Hulu
Series Finale!
This event bids farewell to the highly acclaimed original series. Season 4 left fans on the edge with shocking cliffhangers. Now, eight months later, the crew prepares to leave high school — and maybe even East L.A. — behind as they begin a journey of self-discovery.

Dark
Netflix
New Series!
This drama with a supernatural twist is set in a present-day German town where the disappearance of two young children exposes the double lives and fractured relationships among four families, with a mystery that ties back to the same town in 1986.

Voyeur
Netflix
Original Documentary!
This documentary follows Gay Talese, the 85-year-old giant of modern journalism, as he reports one of the most controversial stories of his career: a portrait of a Colorado motel owner, Gerald Foos. For decades, Foos secretly watched his guests and kept detailed journals of their most intimate and private moments. Talese’s insatiable curiosity leads him to turn his gaze to a man accustomed to being the watcher, exploring a tangle of ethical questions. Voyeur also debuts in select theaters today.

The Loud House: “Snow Way Out/Snow Way Down”
Nickelodeon, 7pm
In the night’s first holiday-themed episode, despite the heavy snowfall, Lana convinces the kids to go to the Burpin’ Burger to meet her racecar-driving hero. Then, Lincoln goes on vacation with Clyde and realizes just how overprotective Clyde’s dads are.

We Bare Bears: “The Perfect Tree”
Cartoon Network, 7:30pm
In this holiday episode, Chloe and Ice Bear drive up north to find the perfect Christmas tree while Grizz and Panda are in charge of decorating Chloe’s house.

MacGyver: “CD-ROM + Hoagie Foil”
CBS, 8pm
Mac (Lucas Till) and the team follow a group of Indonesian mercenaries who are transporting a lethal amount of stolen nerve gas. Guest star William Baldwin returns as Riley’s (Tristin Mays) father in the new episode “CD-ROM + Hoagie Foil.”

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
The CW, 8pm
Based on the zany song that became a holiday hit, this goofy Christmas Eve adventure features young Jake Spankenheimer trying to track down his missing grandma to prove that Santa Claus is real.

College Football: Pac-12 Championship
ESPN, 8pm Live

The winners of the Pac-12 North and South Divisions play in the Pac-12 football championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Hell’s Kitchen: “Welcome to the Jungle”
FOX, 8pm
This week’s challenge takes place in the Hell’s Kitchen “jungle,” where contestants cook using an exotic meat — like elk, boar and venison — and must “hunt” for side-dish ingredients using a spear.

Blindspot: “This Profound Legacy”
NBC, 8pm
An international crisis looms … again … and the team shifts into high gear as they race to prevent the worst. Meanwhile, tattooed heroine Jane (Jaimie Alexander) struggles to cope with a secret from her past.

Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic
The CW, 9pm
This holiday special features some of today’s hottest magicians performing festive feats of magic. Some of the big names scheduled to perform include Jarret and Raja, Jonathan Pendragon, Ed Alonzo, Jibrizy, Les Arnold, Murray SawChuck, Farrell Dillon, Tommy Wind, Titou, Naathan Phan and Greg Gleason.

Deadly Dentists: “Dental Plan”
Investigation Discovery, 9pm

This is the second episode in ID’s three-episode series (let’s hope this one doesn’t get a renewal) that profiles true stories of dentists involved in murders. When Dr. Roman Rezanowicz met and married Kelli Davis, her family was willing to look past his cultural idiosyncrasies because the couple was so clearly in love. He had a successful dental clinic, they had several wonderful kids and everything was happy until their lives started to unravel, and Kelli ended up dead.

Savage Kingdom: Uprising: “First Blood”
Nat Geo Wild, 9pm
The docuseries about African animal clans delivers on its title when leopard Neo and his father, Dark Eyes, compete for control.

Z Nation: “Frenemies”
Syfy, 9pm
Some evil foes infiltrate the barbershop where Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) and the rest of the gang have been hiding out. We sure hope that they don’t all get clipped!

Blue Bloods: “Pain Killers”
CBS, 10pm
Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and Baez (Marisa Ramirez) join a narcotics task force to track down a drug supplier in the new episode “Pain Killers.” Baez comes into contact with drugs and is soon fighting for her life from an accidental overdose.

All Def Comedy
HBO, 10pm
New Series!
Created by Russell Simmons and hosted by Tony Rock, this comedy series, taped before a live audience at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles, spotlights up-and-coming comics as well as Def Comedy veterans.

Saturday, Dec. 2

Zak Storm: “Spirited Away”
Discovery Family Channel, 9am
While searching for a kidnapped Clovis, Zak and CeCe get trapped in spirit form while two powerful beings from the Sea of Stars inhabit their bodies.

Bunsen Is a Beast: “Bunsen Saves Christmas”
Nickelodeon, 11:30am
Bunsen is excited to celebrate his first Christmas, but when Amanda finds out she’s on the naughty list, she stuffs Santa in a gift box and hijacks all the toys.

Power Rangers Ninja Steel: “Past, Presents and Future”
Nickelodeon, 12pm
Sarah teams up with Santa Claus to save Christmas and the Power Rangers from a time-manipulating monster.

College Football
FOX, CBS and ABC, beginning at 12:30pm Live

It’s college football conference championship Saturday, with some teams’ hopes for a berth in the College Football Playoff on the line. Among the biggest games are the Big 12 championship game (back after a six-year absence) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (FOX); the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (CBS); the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (FOX); and the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (ABC).

Baked in Vermont
Food Network, 12:30pm
New Series!
Just in time for the holidays, Gesine Bullock-Prado (yes, she’s Sandra Bullock’s sister) welcomes you to her Vermont farmhouse, where she shares tips and tricks to make baking easy, accessible and fun. Whether it is hosting a house party for friends, creating a menu of deliciously simple finger foods, or teaching students in her baking class, Gesine believes all good things begin with butter and flour!

Christmas in Evergreen
Hallmark Channel, 8pm
Original Film!
After a chance encounter with a local veterinarian (Ashley Williams), a young girl (Jaeda Lily Miller) wishes upon a magical snow globe, hoping to keep her and her father (Teddy Sears) in the charming town of Evergreen, Vt., for Christmas. When the wish comes true, they experience their most magical Christmas ever. Barbara Niven, Holly Robinson Peete and Keith Martin Gordey also star.

Four Christmases and a Wedding
Lifetime, 8pm
Original Film!
When event planner Chloe (Arielle Kebbel) is hired to plan the local Christmas festival, she embraces the challenge, much to the chagrin of her mother (Markie Post), who wishes for her busy daughter to find love. On the opening night of the festival, Chloe meets a man, and they begin a short-lived romance before fate pulls them apart. Over three more Christmases, the pair meet at the festival, but something always gets in the way of love. The movie also stars Corey Sevier, Judge Reinhold and Robyn Lawley.

Tiny Christmas
Nickelodeon, 8pm
Original Film!
On Christmas Eve, a clumsy elf accidentally shrinks two kids. When the kids are scooped up into Santa’s sack and dropped off across the street at their neighbor’s house, they have to work together to navigate holiday hazards and make it home in time for the holiday.

The Essentials: Colin Clive
TCM, 8pm
Sick of holiday schmaltz? Then a block of the British horror star’s classics may be your cup of tea. It starts with Bride of Frankenstein, where Clive plays the titular doctor, who builds a mate for his monster. Later, in Mad Love, the actor is a pianist whose hands get amputated and replaced with a murderer’s.

Christmas in Angel Falls
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 9pm
Original Film!
Rachel Boston stars as an angel named Gabby who gets a special assignment and is dispatched to Angel Falls, a town that has lost its Christmas spirit. Along the way, she befriends Jack Avery (Paul Greene), the volunteer fire chief, who’s initially skeptical about her plan. In the process of bringing back beloved Angel Falls Christmas traditions, Gabby has a surprising revelation about herself and her own dreams that sets her down an unexpected path. Beau Bridges also stars.

Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady
HBO, 9pm
Don’t let the title of this show fool you: Michelle Wolf is many things — including saucy and alarmingly honest — but she’s not a nice lady. And in her first standup special for HBO, the comedian, a contributor to The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, will explain why, taking on weighty subjects like gender inequities with an effervescence that’s as disarming as it is funny.

Murder Made Me Famous: “Susan Smith”
REELZ Channel, 9pm

Blinded by her obsession for a man who wasn’t interested in women with children, Susan Smith did the unthinkable: She pushed her car into a lake, killing her two young sons who were passengers. Smith’s case first garnered national attention when — for nine days — she made public emotional pleas for the safe return of her children, claiming her vehicle had been carjacked by a black man who drove away with her sons still in the car. Smith eventually pleaded guilty to killing her sons and was sentenced to life in prison.

Undercover Angel
PixL, 9pm
Original Film!
When a little girl prays for a miracle to help her recently widowed mother, an angel posing as a handyman is sent down from heaven to help her find a new dad. While trying to accomplish his mission, the angel falls for the mother, ultimately forcing him into the unlikeliest of choices. Stars Katharine Isabelle, Shawn Roberts, Britt Irvin, Julian D. Christopher and Lilah Fitzgerald.

The Graham Norton Show
BBC America, 10pm
The talk show host welcomes guests Will Ferrell, John Lithgow, Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson to his sofa to chat about their joint effort sure to win an Academy Award, Daddy’s Home 2.

The Ugly Christmas Sweater
Lifetime, 10pm
Original Film!
In this 10-minute mini-movie, on the first day of her new job, Megan’s apartment floods, forcing her to wear her only non-damaged article of clothing: an ugly Christmas sweater from her grandma. Little does Megan know, her unfortunate turn of events is the key to impressing her new boss.

Sunday, Dec. 3

College Football Playoff Selection Show
ESPN, 12pm Live
The College Football Playoff Selection Committee releases the final rankings of the season and announces the four teams that will be competing in the Jan. 1 Rose and Sugar Bowl semifinal games.

Miss Me This Christmas
TV One, 7pm
Original Film!
Three years after their romantic Christmas Day wedding, “perfect couple” Regina (Erica Ash) and Franklin (Redaric Williams) Young have decided to divorce. But a holiday season filled with infatuation, fast romance and questionable decisions forces them to ask: What happens if you love something and let it go? Eva Marcille, Allen Maldonado, Richard Gant and Persia White also star.

12 Days of Giving
UP TV, 7pm
Original Film!
A man who wins a small fortune decides to share his winnings by acting as a Secret Santa to people in a small town. Stars Ashley Jones (The Bold and the Beautiful) and David Blue (Ugly Betty).

School of Rock: “Jingle Bell Rock”
Nickelodeon, 7:30pm
Tomika and Summer try to get Kale into the school’s holiday pageant while Zack, Lawrence and Dewey attempt to re-create Freddy’s Christmas traditions since he’s spending the holidays without his mom.

The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special
CBS, 8pm
Fifty years after The Carol Burnett Show debuted, CBS honors the show’s timeless good humor with The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special, returning Burnett (84), Vicki Lawrence (68) and Lyle Waggoner (82) to the show’s original stage alongside a host of actors, singers and comedians who share what the show meant to them. Guest stars include Martin Short, Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Bernadette Peters and Kristin Chenoweth.

Christmas at Holly Lodge
Hallmark Channel, 8pm
Original Film!
Alison Sweeney, Jordan Bridges and Sheryl Lee Ralph star in this holiday film about a very special inn that serves as home-away-from-holiday-home for its guests. Sophie Bennett (Sweeney) inherited the Evergreen Inn and Ski Lodge from her parents, but unbeknownst to her, a major developer has his eye on her home and has sent Evan Hunter (Bridges) to evaluate the property. But when Evan meets Sophie, their attraction sparks an unlikely romance.

Dating Game Killer
Investigation Discovery, 8pm
Original Film!
In this film based on true events, Guillermo Diaz portrays Rodney Alcala, one of America’s most prolific serial killers, whose near-genius IQ and smooth-talking ability even landed him a 1978 appearance as a contestant on The Dating Game. While Alcala’s precise victim count remains unknown, he is thought to have killed as many as 130 women and children before he was captured in 1980. The film follows the journey of Carol Jensen (Carrie Preston), a mother tragically impacted by the collateral damage of Alcala’s evil. Robert Knepper also stars.

My Christmas Prince
Lifetime, 8pm
Original Film!
Every Christmas, Manhattan teacher Samantha (Alexis Knapp) returns to her Wyoming hometown, and this year, her European boyfriend, Alex, joins her. But when Samantha discovers that Alex is a prince destined for his small country’s throne, she must decide if she wants to trade teaching for tiaras.

The Walking Dead: “Time for After”
AMC, 9pm
Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has to enlist the help of his lieutenants in solving a huge issue facing the Sanctuary. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group continue to enact the plan.

Magical Christmas Ornaments
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 9pm
Original Film!
After a bad breakup, Marie, a former Christmas-lover, loses her Christmas spirit. Trying to restore it, her mother sends Christmas ornaments from her childhood, and a coincidental blessing follows each one. Marie’s Christmas spirit gets another boost when she meets her handsome neighbor, and they feel a spark of romance. As Christmas approaches, she hopes for one more blessing from her magical Christmas ornaments. Stars Jessica Lowndes and Brendan Penny.

The Spruces and the Pines
ION, 9pm
Original Film!

A Romeo and Juliet-like romance takes place among two feuding families who own competing New England Christmas tree lots. Against their families’ wills, Julie Pine and visiting-from-Texas Rick Spruce fall in love and are forced to hide their Yuletide relationship. Stars Jonna Walsh, Nick Ballard, Tom Kemp, Kathy Harum, Ken Cheeseman, Sarah Fischer and John MacGregor.

Curb Your Enthusiasm
HBO, 10pm
Season Finale!
Curb fans know that every season might be the last. Or it might not. The Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning comedy series from Larry David wraps up its ninth season tonight.

Monday, Dec. 4

National Christmas Tree Lighting
Hallmark Channel, 7pm
The tradition of the National Christmas Tree lighting dates back to President Calvin Coolidge in 1923. This year, Boys II Bow Ties, Mannheim Steamroller and the U.S. Navy Band will perform holiday numbers during the event co-presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.

The Great Christmas Light Fight
ABC, 8pm
Season Premiere!
Season 5 of ABC’s home décor competition features back-to-back episodes filled with families who have turned their homes into Christmas castles. In each episode, four households show off their homes’ amazing transformation, before judges Carter Oosterhouse and Taniya Nayak award the coveted Light Fight trophy and a $50,000 prize to the display they deem as the most spectacular.

The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee
HBO, 8pm
As Washington Post executive editor from 1968-91, Ben Bradlee was largely credited with taking down President Richard Nixon in 1974 after the Post broke the Watergate story and exposed the largest political scandal in American history. Told primarily in Bradlee’s own words, The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee is an intimate portrait of this formidable man, tracing his remarkable ascent from a young Boston boy stricken with polio to one of the most pioneering and consequential journalistic figures of the 20th century.

The Voice: “Live Top 10 Performances”
NBC, 8pm
The Top 10 artists perform live in front of coaches Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton for America’s vote. Carson Daly hosts.

Ride With Norman Reedus: “My New York”
AMC, 9pm
Season Finale!
Norman Reedus rides around his home city of New York while visiting friends, eating pizza with Mario Batali, and exploring the city’s art, food and culture.

Vanderpump Rules
Bravo, 9pm
Season Premiere!
Now serving (Sur-ving?) more drama! Season 6 of the reality hit finds no-nonsense restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump determined to open another eatery, this time with inexperienced partners Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz.

Superior Donuts: “Error of Admission”
CBS, 9pm
Guest Star Alert!
Jim Rash (Community) guest-stars as a college dean in the new episode “Error of Admission.” Franco (Jermaine Fowler) considers giving up admission to his dream school after he learns Arthur (Judd Hirsch) included his ethnicity on the application, despite Franco’s desire to be accepted solely on the merits of his art.

The Good Doctor: “Sacrifice”
ABC, 10pm
Midseason Finale!
Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) tries to convince his colleague, brilliant autistic surgeon Shaun (Freddie Highmore), to see a therapist. Let’s just say his suggestion doesn’t go over so well. Also on the breakout drama: Another medic acts inappropriately with Dr. Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas).

Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics: “The Color of Comics”
AMC, 10pm
On this week’s episode, Robert Kirkman spotlights a group of artists who in 1993 created Milestone Comics, the first African-American comics imprint. Milestone stopped publishing comics in 1997, but they’re now reopening bigger than ever.

RelationShep
Bravo, 10pm
New Series!
At the ripe age of 37, Southern Charm’s Shep Rose realizes that he’s cutting it close with his goal of being married with two kids by the age of 40, so he embarks on a cross-country search for love. His hunt takes him on a series of blind dates in Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin and New York City. He hopes to meet the perfect woman — a worldly, intellectual, outdoorsy, artistic, free-spirited, lingerie model with an astrophysicist’s brain, who can throw back a beer — and bring her back to Charleston.

Cash Cab
Discovery Channel, 10pm
Season Premiere!
Discovery Channel’s popular, Emmy-winning game show returns after more than five years. The original host, comedian Ben Bailey, is back to take unsuspecting cab passengers on the ride of their lives as they try to answer trivia en route through New York City traffic. Pedestrians and friends can help them out via phone, text or social media, and some unwitting passengers are even joined by a guest celebrity to help them. The celebrity lineup this season includes Matthew Perry, Brooke Shields, Scott Bakula, Gilbert Gottfried, Dave Foley, Jeff Garlin and Susie Essman. If the riders and celebs get three questions wrong, they are out on the street.

The Wall: “Deck the Wall: A Holiday Spectacular”
NBC, 10pm
’Tis the season for (potentially life-changing) fun. A pastor mother and her social worker daughter answer quiz questions and hope the balls bounce their way … which means big bucks on this Chris Hardwick-hosted game show.

The Healer: “My Life Changed”
TLC, 10pm
Charlie and Amber meet a young girl named Madison, who suffered a stroke in high school and now struggles to walk and open her hand completely. Charlie also has his work cut out for him when he visits a skeptical doctor to help with his patient, who is an ex-military man struggling with intense knee pain. Charlie visits an actress who suffers from a rare condition called Graves’ disease.

Teeny Tiny Christmas
Food Network, 11:30pm
Artist Jay Baron — who’s developed an online following for videos that demonstrate him making everything from stir fry and spaghetti to crepes on a miniature scale — cooks an entire microsized Christmas dinner, including a ham, in this special. Oh, you like everything bigger at the holidays? Here’s the world’s teeniest, tiniest violin …

Tuesday, Dec. 5

NHL Hockey
NBCSN, beginning at 7:30pm Live
A big Eastern Conference rivalry opens NBCSN’s NHL doubleheader as Henrik Lundqvist and the N.Y. Rangers are in Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. In the second game, the Minnesota Wild travel to Los Angeles to face off against the Kings.

The Voice: “Live Top 10 Eliminations”
NBC, 8pm
Seven artists will be revealed as safe by America’s votes. The bottom three artists will then compete for the Instant Save, and two will be eliminated.

Star of the Month Marathon: Lana Turner
TCM, 8pm
Lana Turner is best known for her scandalous personal life, but the actress had assets — in every sense of the word. TCM is screening Turner’s films every Tuesday in December, beginning tonight with They Won’t Forget, the mystery flick that earned her the nickname “the Sweater Girl” for the way her cardigan hugged her, uh, curves.

Will & Grace: “A Gay Olde Christmas”
NBC, 9pm
For its holiday episode, the sitcom turns back the clock … to 1912. “We tell our version of the Scrooge story,” Debra Messing says. And it’s Will (Eric McCormack) — not sarcastic Karen (Megan Mullally) — who’s the iconic Christmas Carol miser! Messing assumes the role of his Jewish immigrant wife, Mullally is an Irish mother facing eviction from her apartment, and Sean Hayes brings laughs as her friend trying to stop that from happening. “The episode is making a statement about where we’ve all come from and where we are now,” Messing says. “It’s a love letter to America and a reminder of our roots.”

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “99”
FOX, 9:30pm
In the comedy’s 99th episode, the borough’s finest miss their return flight from L.A., but Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) needs to get home. Road trip, anyone?

Superstore: “Christmas Eve”
NBC, 9:30pm
Newly single Cloud 9 employee Amy (America Ferrera) struggles to not get too grinchy when she finds herself stuck at work on Dec. 24.

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World: “Chrysalis”
ABC, 10pm
Kevin (Jason Ritter) is forced to choose between completing his mission, which involves helping a talented artist find the courage to believe in himself, and attending the opening night of Reese’s (Chloe East) play. Meanwhile, Yvette (Kimberly Hébert Gregory) makes a startling discovery about Dave (Will Sasso) and Amy (Joanna Garcia Swisher) prepares to go out on her first date since her husband died.

Stripped
Bravo, 10pm
New Series!
In each episode, a household is stripped of all material possessions to force the family members on a journey of self-discovery to determine what they really need. In the premiere episode, designer-obsessed fashion-stylist Ali and her frugal accountant husband Justin embark on the 21-day challenge to clear their house of distractions so they can focus on each other.

The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer: “The Secret FBI Files”
History, 10pm
The hunt goes into high gear as the FBI releases secret files on the mysterious Zodiac Killer, and a handwriting analyst connects the Zodiac’s letters to a taunting letter mailed 3,000 miles away in Albany, N.Y. The code team has a massive breakthrough on the Z-340.

Chicago Med: “Trust Your Gut”
NBC, 10pm
When Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson) receives financial complaints from the hospital board, she is forced to implement new guidelines that cause headaches for the doctors. Dr. Rhodes (Colin Donnell) and Ava (Norma Kuhling) continue to compete in the operating room, while Dr. Charles (Oliver Platt) and Dr. Reese (Rachel DiPillo) are surprised when they treat a man who has a peculiar theory about his sickness.

Damnation: “Den of Lost Souls”
USA Network, 10pm
A carnival comes to a small town in this Depression-era drama. Estranged brothers Seth (Killian Scott) and Creeley (Logan Marshall-Green) check out the newcomers, but it’s a friend from their past who takes them on a roller-coaster ride.

Wednesday, Dec. 6

Shut Eye
Hulu
Season Premiere!
In Season 2, with their future uncertain, Charlie (Jeffrey Donovan) and Linda (KaDee Strickland) need to completely trust one another, but that’s never been easy for these con artists. The Marks family faces similar uncertainty as their home has been literally taken from them.

Crazy Cookie Builds
Cooking Channel, 8pm
Best friends Brenda Nibley and Elisa Barber create made-to-order Christmas treats. Why dream of sugarplums when you can have visions of gingerbread mansions and chocolate peppermint shortbread sleighs dancing in your head?

A Very Pentatonix Christmas
NBC, 8pm
An encore airing of the holiday special that originally aired just after Thanksgiving. Grammy-winning group Pentatonix returns to NBC for their second annual Christmas special, ringing in the season with guests including Jennifer Hudson, Jay Leno and America’s Got Talent winner Darci Lynne Farmer.

Polar Bear Town: “The Big Exodus”
Smithsonian Channel, 8pm
Season Finale!
At the end of summer, only the locals and the polar bears are still in town. Dennis and Andrew try to find an uninhabited island where bears and belugas are rumored to be found in abundance. Kelsey and Karine fly to a remote camp on the hunt for bears that have had little human contact. Renowned polar bear scientist Robert Rockwell ventures deep into the heart of polar bear country in search of bear DNA while conservation officers release Big Bear from polar bear jail and helicopter him back into the wild.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Bravo, 9pm
Look no further than this episode’s title, “When Chairs Fly,” for a glimpse of what’s in store as the ladies gather for Kim DePaolo’s Posche Fashion Show. Who’s doing the tossing? The smart money is on (known furniture-abuser) Teresa Giudice.

SEAL Team: “Rolling Dark”
CBS, 9pm
In the new episode “Rolling Dark,” Jason (David Boreanaz) and the SEALs must rescue a Russian scientist and his wife and bring them across the Afghanistan border to safety as Chinese and Russian Special Forces close in, intent on stopping them.

Dynasty: “The Best Things in Life”
The CW, 9pm
Everything is shiny and bright at the city’s annual tree lighting, but behind the scenes, the Carringtons struggle with ghosts from their past; Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies) tries to move on from her former flame; Steven (James Mackay) and Jeff (Sam Adegoke) band together to right an old wrong; and Cristal’s (Nathalie Kelley) past resurfaces, threatening her future with Blake (Grant Show).

Property Brothers at Home: Drew’s Honeymoon House
HGTV, 9pm
Renovations on Drew Scott and fiancée Linda Phan’s L.A. crib continue. With time running out before their big pre-wedding party, brother-of-the-groom Jonathan better get cracking. That full wall of curved windows isn’t going to build itself!

Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist
National Geographic, 9pm
New Miniseries!
Sigourney Weaver narrates this three-part documentary about the iconic primatologist who was found murdered in her Rwandan home in 1985, after years spent trying to save the mountain gorillas. Weaver portrayed Fossey in the 1988 film Gorillas in the Mist, a biography about Fossey and her work.

Law & Order: SVU: “Intent”
NBC, 9pm
Midseason Finale!
The SVU investigates an online catfishing prank that leads to rape. This episode features guest stars Brooke Shields, Gage Golightly, Steve Howey and James Monroe Iglehart.

Designated Survivor: “Three-Letter Day”
ABC, 10pm
After sorting through thousands of letters all requesting something of President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland), the White House staff are assigned three, with Emily (Italia Ricci), Seth (Kal Penn), Aaron (Adan Canto), Lyor (Paulo Costanzo) and Kendra (Zoe McLellan) joining forces to get answers and possibly save a life. Meanwhile, Hannah (Maggie Q) and Damian (Ben Lawson) continue to chase down leads to exonerate the First Lady, but in the end, Hannah learns the truth may be closer than she thinks.

Criminal Minds: “False Flag”
CBS, 10pm
Series star Joe Mantegna directs the new episode “False Flag,” in which the BAU is called in to investigate the deaths of two conspiracy theorists in Roswell, N.M.

South Park
Comedy Central, 10pm
Season Finale!

South Park’s epic 21st season comes to a close tonight on Comedy Central.

Knightfall
History, 10pm
New Series!
The legendary monastic warriors, the Knights Templar, are the tragic heroes of History’s new 10-episode action drama Knightfall. Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey) stars as Landry, a disgruntled Templar who becomes the unlikely leader of the order at a crucial point in its history as the Templars must navigate dangerous politics in their quest to recover the Holy Grail.

Chicago P.D.: “Monster”
NBC, 10pm
Midseason Finale!
The Windy City police department’s Intelligence Unit goes after an opioid pill mill whose dangerous product causes the death of a judge’s daughter. Detective Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger) also comes under scrutiny after commanding officer Voight (Jason Beghe) learns that he’s the one leaking information to the department’s hated independent auditor (Mykelti Williamson). He is, after all, out to bring down Voight.

The A Word
SundanceTV, 10pm
This episode of the moving family drama finds Nicola (Vinette Robinson) making a film about her 7-year-old nephew Joe (Max Vento). The final product triggers her brother-in-law Paul’s (Lee Ingleby) feelings about his son’s condition.

Happy!
Syfy, 10pm
New Series!
Christopher Meloni executive produces and stars in this wild series based on the graphic novel by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson. Meloni plays Nick Sax, a drunk, corrupt ex-cop turned hitman. After a hit gone wrong, Sax’s pathetic life is changed by the appearance of Happy (a CGI creation voiced by Patton Oswalt) — a tiny, relentlessly positive, blue-winged horse who is the “imaginary” friend of a little girl who has disappeared. Happy tries to get Sax to help find the girl, even as cops and the mob relentlessly pursue the man.

Mr. Robot: “eps3.8_stage3.torrent”
USA Network, 10pm
Elliot trolls a former ally, Mr. Robot leaves cryptic text and Tyrell gets new commands.

Broad City
Comedy Central, 10:30pm
Season Finale!

In the Season 4 finale “Friendiversary,” Ilana (Ilana Glazer) and Abbi’s (Abbi Jacobson) celebration takes a turn for the dangerous when they witness something horrible.

Thursday, Dec. 7

Shrek the Halls
ABC, 8pm
It’s Christmas Eve and everyone is filled with holiday cheer — except for Shrek. For the sake of Fiona and the kids, he tries to get into the spirit of things as only an ogre can. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have their own ideas about what Christmas is all about, so when Donkey, Puss in Boots, Gingerbread Man and the whole gang try to join in on the fun, Shrek’s plans for a cozy family celebration end up spiraling into one truly unforgettable Christmas. Featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.

The Big Bang Theory: “The Confidence Erosion”
CBS, 8pm

Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) try to eliminate stress from wedding planning by applying math to the process in the new episode “The Confidence Erosion.”

A Christmas Story 2
CMT, 8pm
Catch the 2012 sequel to A Christmas Story that finds Ralphie five years older and desperate for a car.

A Nashville Christmas
getTV, 8pm
This all-new 60-minute music-variety special features popular country artists singing holiday standards. Among the show’s highlights are Wynonna’s solo performance of “O Holy Night”; Emmylou Harris’ “Coat of Many Colors”; Wynonna and Emmylou’s first ever duet of “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem”; Lorrie Morgan’s rendition of “The Christmas Song”; and Pam Tillis’ “Santa Claus Baby.” Ashley Cleveland and Dailey & Vincent will also perform.

Psych: The Movie
USA Network, 8pm
Original Film!
Fake psychic detective Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), return in an all-new adventure that picks up three years after the series finale. Roday, who cowrote the flick along with series creator (and the film’s director) Steve Franks, shares that the film is a love letter to the series’ voracious fans, known as Psych-Os. “I hope that they’ll be pumped, they’ll be satisfied, they’ll have taken a walk down memory lane and they’ll also reconnect with these characters that they spent so much time with. And most importantly, laugh a lot along the way,” he says.

NFL Football: New Orleans at Atlanta
NBC & NFL Network, 8:20pm Live
NFC South rivals meet at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a Thursday Night Football clash as Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints take on Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

Toy Story That Time Forgot
ABC, 8:30pm
During a post-Christmas play date, the Toy Story gang find themselves in uncharted territory when the coolest set of action figures ever turns out to be dangerously delusional. It’s all up to Trixie the triceratops, if the gang hopes to return to Bonnie’s room. Features the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kristen Schaal, Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles and Joan Cusack.

The Great American Baking Show
ABC, 9pm
Season Premiere!
Ready, set, bake! The third season of the culinary competition, based on the popular U.K. series The Great British Bake Off, kicks off with bakers from around the country presenting their best bakes in a series of holiday-themed challenges.

Mom: “Smooth Jazz and a Weird Floaty Eye”
CBS, 9pm
Guest Star Alert!
In the new episode “Smooth Jazz and a Weird Floaty Eye,” Bonnie (Allison Janney) insists on meeting Adam’s (William Fichtner) estranged brother, Patrick (guest star Steven Weber), and things get weird when he takes a romantic interest in Christy (Anna Faris).

Van Helsing: “Wakey, Wakey”
Syfy, 9pm
A tense standoff between law enforcement and the survivors erupts into a bloodbath. In a bid to evade a vicious breed of vampire, Axel and Scarlett find themselves hunted like prey.

Life in Pieces
CBS, 9:30pm
At last! Jen and Greg (Zoe Lister-Jones and Colin Hanks) finally get a night away from their daughter on tonight’s episode of the family comedy. Somehow, they wind up babysitting for a kid that’s not even theirs!

Top Chef
Bravo, 10pm
Season Premiere!
Season 15 follows 15 diverse chefs from across the country as they battle it out for the coveted title amid the breathtaking landscapes and thriving culinary scenes in Denver, Boulder, Telluride and Aspen. Host Padma Lakshmi and head judge Tom Colicchio return to the judges’ table alongside Gail Simmons and Graham Elliot.

S.W.A.T.: “Octane”
CBS, 10pm
In the new episode “Octane,” Hondo (Shemar Moore) puts aside his misgivings about Jim Street’s (Alex Russell) recklessness and allows the newbie to go undercover to bust a ruthless trafficker.

Ghost Wars: “Post-Apocalypse Now”
Syfy, 10pm
An arrival from Lambda headquarters gives the town hope for the first time in weeks. The company distributes supplies, promising to get everyone off the island in due course. While the eccentric young CEO Daphne Vikander takes great interest in Roman, Landis suspects she has unsavory designs for the townspeople’s future.

Friday, Dec. 8

The Crown
Netflix
Season Premiere!
Creator/writer Peter Morgan and director Stephen Daldry reunite behind the scenes for Season 2 of this acclaimed drama that tells the inside story of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy). This will be Foy’s last season portraying Elizabeth; in Seasons 3 and 4, as the series progresses closer to the present day, the queen will be played by Olivia Colman.

Sunny Day: “Best Christmas Ever”
Nickelodeon, 10:30am
When a snowstorm traps Doodle at his cousin’s house on Christmas Eve, Sunny and the gang devise an intrepid plan to trek through the snow and reach Doodle in time to spend the holiday together.

Nella the Princess Knight: “The Knight Before Christmas”
Nickelodeon, 11am
Santa visits Castlehaven on Christmas Eve, but when naughty snow dragons take his sack of presents, it’s up to Nella and her friends to save the holidays.

You Killed My Mother
Lifetime Movies, 8pm
Original Film!
An emotionally disturbed teen attacks a hospital nurse when she is told her critically ill mother won’t qualify for a liver transplant. After her release from a mental institution years later, Jo (Carlena Britch, Supernatural) plots an elaborate scheme of revenge against all those she blames for her mother’s death. The film stars Ashley Jones (General Hospital), Sarah McVie (Guilty at 17) and Seamus Patterson (This Life).

Blindspot: “Adoring Suspect”
NBC, 8pm
The team goes undercover on a movie set to stop a terrorist plot with unlikely backers. Roman (Luke Mitchell) blackmails Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) with a horrible secret about Jane (Jaimie Alexander).

Deadly Dentists: “Concealed Abscess”
Investigation Discovery, 9pm

ID wraps up its three-episode series on deviant dentists with Dr. Glenn Engleman, who cared for his South St. Louis neighbors for decades despite the violence escalating nearby. His assistant’s husband dies in a hunting accident and an associate is killed in a car bombing. But as police investigate, they find that these deaths may actually be connected. Figuring out how and why reveals a shocking twist that swirls around the dentist that they never suspected.

Z Nation: “Return to Mercy Labs”
Syfy, 9pm
Warren’s dream leads our heroes back to Mercy Labs where she must perform a dangerous task without knowing why.

Blue Bloods: “Heavy Is the Head”
CBS, 10pm
Midseason Finale!
Don’t go, Baker! New York police commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) gets some bad news: His favorite aide ­(Abigail Hawk) has a new job offer. Meanwhile, Frank’s son Jamie (Will Estes) asks his sis, ADA Erin (Bridget Moynahan), for a favor.

Superstition: “Echoes of My Mind”
Syfy, 10pm
The Dredge captures Calvin and tries to torture him into releasing the evil demons imprisoned in his ring. What’s worse, The Dredge’s minions are descending on the town’s Founders Day Festival.

Saturday, Dec. 9

Zak Storm: “The Swap”
Discovery Family Channel, 9am
In order to avoid being defeated by Golden Bones, Zak and his team have to exchange boats with him. While Clovis and the Chaos are being held hostage, Zak and the rest of the crew chase them aboard a hovercraft.

College Football: Army vs. Navy
CBS, 3pm Live
The great football tradition continues today at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia as the Army Black Knights take on the Navy Midshipmen. Last year, Army broke Navy’s 14-game winning streak — the longest in the series’ history — with a 21-17 victory.

Homicide for the Holidays: “Christmas Mourning”
Oxygen, 6pm
The true-crime series examines the 2003 Christmastime slayings of Bob and Idella Young, an elderly couple stabbed in their Idaho home. It’ll make your dinner with the in-laws seem delightful by comparison.

Mary Poppins
ABC, 8pm
When Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber), the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, face the prospect of a new nanny, they are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews). Embarking on a series of fantastical adventures with Mary and her Cockney performer friend, Bert (Dick Van Dyke), the siblings hope to pass on some of their nanny’s sunny attitude to their preoccupied parents (David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns).

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
CBS, 8pm
The longest-running holiday special in television history returns as Rudolph and his friends — Hermey the elf, Yukon Cornelius and others — save Christmas in this classic Rankin/Bass special featuring the voice of legendary performer Burl Ives.

2017 Heisman Trophy Presentation
ESPN, 8pm Live
The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the year’s most outstanding player tonight on ESPN, with Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, Stanford RB Bryce Love, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, Notre Dame RB Josh Adams, and Louisville QB and 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson all hoping for invites to the ceremony in New York City.

The Christmas Cottage
Hallmark Channel, 8pm
Original Film!
When Lacey takes a rare break from work for her friend’s Christmas Eve wedding, she reconnects with her former flame. And when the two decorate the cottage where the newlyweds will spend their honeymoon — a cottage said to bring true love to anyone who stays there — they feel their chemistry return. Stars Merritt Patterson and Steve Lund.

Christmas Encore
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 8pm
Original Film!
A struggling actress takes a role in her last off-off-Broadway show — a modern take on A Christmas Carol — before giving up her dream and moving home. Instead she finds romance with her director and a renewed passion for her craft and the city. But when the historic theater loses its lease and the show is set to fold, she and her castmates need a Christmas miracle. Stars Brennan Elliott and Psych’s Maggie Lawson.

Christmas in Mississippi
Lifetime, 8pm
Original Film!
Holly Logan (Jana Kramer, Dancing With the Stars) returns to her coastal hometown to help resurrect the town’s holiday light show for the first time since a terrible hurricane struck five years earlier. Although she has second thoughts when she discovers the festival is run by her high-school sweetheart, Mike (Wes Brown), the work helps Holly fall in love with her hometown, and Mike, all over again. Also stars Faith Ford, Barry Bostwick and Richard Karn.

It’s a Wonderful Life
USA Network, 8pm
James Stewart and Donna Reed star in Frank Capra’s 1946 classic about a man on the brink of ending it all who gets a second chance after finding out what life would be like without him, thanks to the aid of a kindly guardian angel.

Frosty the Snowman
CBS, 9pm
The classic animated musical special returns, narrated by Jimmy Durante. Jackie Vernon provides the voice of the “jolly, happy soul” whose old silk hat full of magic brings him to life. The special is followed by the 1992 sequel, Frosty Returns.

Runaway Christmas Bride
ION, 9pm
Original Film!
A runaway bride, Kate, making herself scarce for the holidays, meets a ski patrol rescuer, Jason, at a resort. Her December days begin to brighten until her parents and jilted fiancé, Alex, show up at the mountain to reset the wedding for Christmas. Stars Travis Milne, Cindy Busby and Mark Milburn.

The Christmas Trap
Lifetime, 10pm
Original Film!
In this holiday mini-movie, a couple on the brink of divorce gets stuck in an elevator together on Christmas Eve. While an elevator crew works to rescue them, they reminisce, resolve their issues and rekindle a love that had never really died.