ALSO SEE: Complete 2021 NFL TV Schedule
All Times Eastern. PBS programming varies regionally.
Wednesday, Nov. 24
Jeremy Renner reprises his role from the Avengers films as sharpshooter Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, who joins forces with another well-known Marvel archer, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). In the comics, Bishop takes on the mantle of Hawkeye from Barton, so this series may very well feature a similar passing of the torch. Florence Pugh also reprises her big-screen MCU role, playing Yelena Belova, and if you saw her post-credits scene at the end of Black Widow, you have some idea how Belova may figure here. Hawkeye will also introduce Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, aka Echo, a superhero who can perfectly copy another person’s movements and is one of the few deaf characters in comic books. Vera Farmiga also stars. First two episodes are available today; subsequent new episodes are available Wednesdays.
Warren Jeffs was the Prophet of the FLDS, an offshoot of Mormonism, whose controversial reign ended with a conviction for child sexual assault, landing him in jail for life. After Jeffs’ downfall, some in the community pledged their loyalty to him, while others turned their backs on him and FLDS altogether. Ten years after his arrest, those left behind attempt to rebuild their community. This documentary chronicles these events and is an allegory for the unsettling reality we are living through.
Neil Patrick Harris, Winslow Fegley, June Diane Raphael and Steve Zahn star in this humorous and heartfelt look back at the adventures of childhood. Set in suburban Chicago in the 1980s, the story centers on 10-year-old Jake Doyle’s (Fegley) herculean quest to get the latest and greatest video game system for Christmas. Harris plays an adult Jake and also narrates, with Raphael and Zahn playing young Jake’s parents.
A Boy Called Christmas
In this magical and comic origin story for Father Christmas from England, an ordinary young boy named Nikolas (Henry Lawfull) sets out on an extraordinary adventure into the snowy north in search of his father, who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves, Elfhelm. Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and a loyal pet mouse (voice of Stephen Merchant), Nikolas soon meets his destiny. Jim Broadbent, Sally Hawkins, Toby Jones, Maggie Smith and Kristen Wiig also star.
Jackie Justice (Halle Berry, also making her directorial debut) is a mixed martial arts fighter who leaves the sport in disgrace. Down on her luck and simmering with rage and regret years after her last fight, she’s coaxed into a brutal underground fight by her manager and boyfriend Desi (Adan Canto) and grabs the attention of a fight league promoter (Shamier Anderson) who promises Jackie a life back in the octagon. But the road to redemption becomes unexpectedly personal when Manny (Danny Boyd Jr.) — the son she gave up as an infant — shows up at her doorstep.
The latest stop-motion animated charmer from Aardman, the British studio famous for beloved titles like the Wallace & Gromit films, is a half-hour musical adventure about a bird named Robin (voice of Bronte Carmichael) who has been raised by mice. Beginning to question where she belongs, Robin embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Gillian Anderson, Richard E. Grant and Adeel Akhtar are also among the voice cast.
The reality series following elite Los Angeles real estate agents returns for Season 4.
Kevin Hart makes his dramatic series debut in this limited, seven-episode drama on which he also serves as an executive producer. In the series, a tour stop for world-famous comedian Kid (Hart) in his hometown of Philadelphia becomes a matter of life and death when the consequences of a lost evening with his wayward older brother (Wesley Snipes) threaten to destroy everything he’s built.
The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles
This season of the docuseries reunites original The Real World: Los Angeles cast members Beth Anthony, Beth Stolarczyk, David Edwards, Glen Naessens, Irene Berrera-Kearns, Jon Brennan and Tami Roman in the same Venice Beach house they shared back in 1993, in the second season of MTV’s The Real World. That season made history with a number of series firsts, including never-before-seen “confessional” style interviews, cast members exiting midseason with new houseguests moving in, a wedding and more. The series also tackled important issues such as same-sex relationships, abortion, consent, safe sex and eating disorders. After spending decades apart, the roommates will reconnect to find out how the series transformed their lives once the cameras stopped rolling, and they’ll discover, once again, what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.
Dragons Rescue Riders: Heroes of the Sky
This latest series spinoff of DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon animated film franchise follows Viking twins Dak and Leyla, who were rescued and raised by dragons, growing up learning to speak their language. Along with young dragons Winger, Summer, Cutter and Burple, they defend and protect other dragons on exciting adventures around their home of Huttsgalor.
Saved by the Bell
In Season 2 of this revival of the ’90s sitcom, Bayside High gears up to compete in the Southern California School Spirit Competition. Daisy (Haskiri Velazquez) is determined not to get sidetracked by “Bayside nonsense,” but when a cute new student is elected student council VP, she finds herself in way over her head; Mac (Mitchell Hoog) sees the competition as a way to finally step out from his father’s shadow; Jamie (Belmont Cameli) leans on Lexi (Josie Totah) in the wake of his parents’ divorce, while Lexi struggles to be a more understanding girlfriend; Aisha (Alycia Pascual-Peña) seeks a new outlet after football is canceled; DeVante (Dexter Darden) finds love with a rich Bayside girl; and Slater (Mario Lopez) and a newly single Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley Lauren) grow closer despite their tumultuous romantic past. All 10 episodes are available today.
All six hourlong episodes of the third and final season of this espionage drama are available today. The new season continues the journey of Hanna (Esmé Creed-Miles), who was created by the sinister Utrax organization and trained to be an assassin, but is now secretly trying to destroy the group. Ray Liotta joins the cast as Gordon Evans, a respected former military man and intelligence operative who wields incredible insider power.
ESPN, beginning at 7:30pm Live
A Wednesday night NBA doubleheader on ESPN opens with Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets in Boston to take on Jayson Tatum and the Celtics. Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers are in the Bay Area to battle Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the second game.
College Basketball: Baylor vs. Arizona State
ESPN2, 7:30pm Live
A marquee matchup in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis college basketball tournament in the Bahamas has the NCAA champion Baylor Bears vs. the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Wild Tales From the Farm: “Hunkering Down”
Smithsonian Channel, 8pm
Watch some animals hunker down while others get ready to strut their stuff as fall gives way to winter on the farm. Mozart-loving cows, curious piglets and a new hen rivalry bring wintertime drama to the Southern England farm. Downton Abbey costar Hugh Bonneville narrates.
Star of the Month: Sydney Greenstreet
TCM, beginning at 8pm
Catch a Classic!
Turner Classic Movies’ monthlong Wednesday-night salute to the films of legendary actor Sydney Greenstreet concludes this evening, and it starts out with a bang with two of Greenstreet’s most famous movies. First up is the iconic, Oscar-winning Casablanca, the 1942 drama about romance and intrigue in the titular North African city that ranks as one of Hollywood’s finest productions ever. Among the ways this film reaches perfection is with its flawless casting, evident not just in its primary stars — Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid — but also its second-billed actors like Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre and, of course, Greenstreet. As crooked club owner Ferrari, Greenstreet is not in the film a lot, but the character plays a key role, and when he does show up, Greenstreet steals the scene, as usual. Up next is the beloved, holiday-set 1945 romantic comedy Christmas in Connecticut, led by Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan, with Greenstreet as the editor for Stanwyck’s journalist character. After that is the 1944 film noir The Mask of Dimitrios, led by Greenstreet and also starring Lorre and Zachary Scott; Between Two Worlds (1944), a wartime fantasy drama starring John Garfield and Henreid; The Velvet Touch (1948), a film noir headlined by Rosalind Russell; and They Died With Their Boots On (1941), a fictionalized account of the life of George Armstrong Custer (Errol Flynn) that was Greenstreet’s second film, featuring the actor in a smaller supporting role as Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott. — Jeff Pfeiffer
Batwoman: “Pick Your Poison”
The CW, 9pm
As Ryan’s (Javicia Leslie) family dynamic grows more complicated, she also finds herself in the middle of a Bat Team standoff between Luke (Camrus Johnson) and Mary (Nicole Kang). Meanwhile, Alice (Rachel Skarsten) finds a new sidekick to do her bidding.
A “Saturday Night Live” Thanksgiving
This two-hour special highlights memorable Thanksgiving-themed sketches from SNL’s 47 seasons.
NOVA Universe Revealed
Many think that the Big Bang is when the universe started and time itself began. What clues can we discover about this ultimate genesis of everything, and can we ever really know what existed before the universe’s birthday? “Big Bang,” the finale of this NOVA miniseries, winds back the ages with the help of animation based on stunning images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Discover infant galaxies, and learn how scientists came up with an incredible theory for what happened billionths of a billionth of a second after the universe’s birth.
Secrets of the Dead
Season 19 concludes with “The Caravaggio Heist.” In 1984, a Maltese national treasure went missing from the cathedral of St. John in Valletta — a masterpiece by the legendary Italian artist Caravaggio. Two years of investigations across Europe led to nothing, but a strong-willed priest never gave up. Father Marius Zerafa, director of museums in Malta, managed to establish a channel of communication with the thieves and set off on a quest to recover the priceless painting, putting his life on the line for the sake of a masterpiece.
Even More Funny Women of a Certain Age
This monthly comedy showcase in New York and Los Angeles returns to Showtime with a third hourlong comedy special, filmed at the Irvine Improv in Orange County, California. Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives), in her first ever standup performance, leads a cast of female comedy veterans in a night of uninhibited laughs. The special also stars Carole Montgomery, Wendy Liebman, Monique Marvez, Leighann Lord and Marsha Warfield, who talk sex, dating and how they hilariously made it through the pandemic.
Thursday, Nov. 25
The Beatles: Get Back
Peter Jackson’s original documentary about the Beatles airs over three days on Thanksgiving weekend, with three separate two-hour episodes rolling out today, tomorrow and Saturday. The six hours of content is entirely comprised of never-before-seen footage, including the band’s final live performance, footage that only Jackson has been given access to in the more than 50 years since its recording. The central narrative thread in The Beatles: Get Back is the Fab Four preparing for their first live show in over two years. They write and rehearse 14 new songs, demonstrating their camaraderie and creativity while doing so. In addition, the Beatles’ last live performance as a group, a rooftop concert in early 1969 on London’s Savile Row, is shown in its entirety. Jackson remarked that the footage, originally captured by Michael Lindsay-Hogg (the director of many Beatles music videos), reveals John, Paul, George and Ringo in a fresh, compelling way. “It’s raw, honest and human,” he said. “Over six hours, you’ll get to know the Beatles with an intimacy that you never thought possible.”
12 Dates of Christmas
Season 2 of the holiday dating series follows three singles, Amanda Grace, Danny and Markelle, as they escape to a stunning winter wonderland, each searching for someone special to bring home for the holidays. The new season promises to spice up this festive time of year with even more dating drama, romance and surprises inside the fantasy lodge.
F Is for Family
The raunchy and nostalgic adult animated comedy returns for a fifth and final season. Cocreator Bill Burr, Laura Dern and Justin Long lead the voice cast.
This anime adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book series is a half-hour, super-powered heist story about small-time crook Johnny Bolt, who recruits the ultimate crew of supervillains for one last job.
South Park: Post COVID
Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman make their debut on Paramount+ in this first of what the streaming service is describing as “exclusive events” based on the long-running, cult-favorite South Park animated series. A second exclusive event was announced for sometime in December; details on what both of these events are about were not fully available at presstime.
TCM, beginning at 8:30am
Catch a Classic!
Happy Thanksgiving! On this family-oriented holiday, enjoy a day of hilarious family films on Turner Classic Movies. Today’s lineup, airing well into tomorrow morning, in order, features: Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary (1941), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938), The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963), Room for One More (1952), Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), Father of the Bride (1950), Houseboat (1958), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), Yours, Mine and Ours (1968), Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) and Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960).
The 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
NBC, 9am Live; also streams on Peacock
The ultimate holiday tradition is back for its 95th year of giant balloons, fabulous floats, exciting performers and more fun.
The National Dog Show
NBC, 12pm; also streams on Peacock
More than 1,000 purebred dogs from over 100 American Kennel Club-sanctioned breeds, including many of America’s elite show dogs and their owners and handlers, compete for Best of Breed, First in Group and Best in Show at this annual event hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, which dates back to 1879. This year, the National Dog Show will introduce one new AKC-sanctioned breed: the Biewer (pronounced “beaver”) terrier, which joins the Toy Group. John O’Hurley is back to host, alongside analyst David Frei and reporter Mary Carillo. NBC will re-air the show on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 27.
CBS, FOX & NBC, beginning at 12:30pm Live
The NFL’s Thanksgiving Day tradition continues with the Chicago Bears at the Detroit Lions (FOX), the Las Vegas Raiders at the Dallas Cowboys (CBS) and the Buffalo Bills at the New Orleans Saints in primetime (NBC; also streams on Peacock).
National Dog Show Junior
Following the National Dog Show, which airs on NBC and streams on Peacock, the streaming service will exclusively stream a brand-new way to watch the National Dog Show, including kid-focused content that will combine judging highlights with Best in Show features. Matt Iseman, Laurie Hernandez and kid reporter Anna Laible host.
College Football: Ole Miss at Mississippi State
ESPN, 7:30pm Live
The Ole Miss Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs battle in the Egg Bowl college football rivalry game tonight at Starkville’s Davis Wade Stadium.
The Magic Maker
This Thanksgiving, famed magician Adam Trent breaks the No. 1 rule of magic and puts magic in the hands of everyday people to help them with the biggest and most emotional moments of their lives. Whether it’s helping a U.S. soldier “magically” reappear to his family after serving overseas or teaching a nervous young man to “walk on water” for his marriage proposal, Adam Trent spends this holiday amazing and astonishing viewers while making dreams come true as “The Magic Maker.”
World Pet Games
Contestants showcase how skilled their furry friends are in five outrageous events, with winners receiving a donation to an animal charity made in their honor. Erin Andrews and Finesse Mitchell cohost with Rachel Bonnetta serving as a sideline reporter.
Nine Kittens of Christmas
Hallmark Channel, 8pm
Cat lovers Zachary and Marilee are thrown back together at Christmas when they’re tasked with finding homes for a litter of adorable kittens. Brandon Routh, Kimberley Sustad and Gregory Hattison star.
Pop Goes the Vet With Dr. Joya
Nat Geo Wild, 11pm
As part of Nat Geo Wild’s Vetsgiving week, enjoy a sneak peek of its latest veterinary reality series, which will formally premiere in spring 2022. This show follows Kentucky-based veterinary dermatologist Dr. Joya Griffin. From impacted earwax to oozing cysts to massive hair loss, there’s no case too mysterious or bizarre for her as she investigates the largest organ in an animal’s body — the skin. Another sneak peek will air on the evening of Nov. 27.
Friday, Nov. 26
South of Heaven
Feature Film Exclusive!
In this crime thriller, convicted felon Jimmy (Jason Sudeikis) gets early parole after serving 12 years for armed robbery. Upon his release, he vows to give his girlfriend, Annie (Evangeline Lily), who is dying of cancer, the best last year of her life. But things are never that simple, and when he is given a “side job” from his parole officer (Shea Whigham), it sets off a series of events that leaves Jimmy in the crosshairs of a local crime boss (Mike Colter). Now, he must stop at nothing to save Annie and fight for whatever time they have left.
’Twas the Fight Before Christmas
This quirky Christmas documentary about freedoms, with a message about differences and tolerance at its heart, follows the story of a north Idaho neighborhood turned upside down by one man’s obsession with bringing holiday cheer to all through the biggest community Christmas event America has ever seen. Christmas-loving lawyer Jeremy Morris’ plan hits a snag when the home owners’ association informs him that the event violates the rules of the neighborhood. A contentious fight over the festivities erupts and things snowball out of control. As the situation escalates, the film pieces together the polarized perspectives and asks the question: Who wins when different rights and interests collide?
Discovery+ debuts three immersive programs to get you into the holiday spirit: Cozy Holiday Kitchens, which allows viewers to experience festivity through food by stepping into the kitchen to prepare holiday meals with chefs from India, Mexico, Ethiopia and the United States; Festive Fireplaces of the World, in which a group of over 30 filmmakers takes viewers to the farthest corners of the Earth to experience the unique warmth and comfort of sitting by a fire; and Surfing Santa, an immersion that allows viewers to relax and celebrate the festive season from the beach.
Shock Docs: Demon in the White House
This documentary reveals the historic origin of paranormal activity at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Did two grieving first ladies unwittingly invite into their famous home spirits that may still torment America’s presidents, their families and their closest advisers?
Madagascar: A Little Wild: Holiday Goose Chase
Hulu & Peacock
The gang from DreamWorks’ animated Madagascar film franchise is back in a new seasonal special. It’s holiday time in New York, and Melman is determined to add another sticker to his yearly “nice” list. When he meets Hank, a goose who has been separated from his family, Melman, Alex, Marty and Gloria embark on a wild goose chase around the city to reunite Hank with his merry flock.
A Castle for Christmas
Famed author Sophie Brown (Brooke Shields) travels to Scotland hoping to buy a small castle of her own, but the prickly owner, Duke Myles (Cary Elwes), is reluctant to sell to a foreigner. The pair constantly butt heads while they work toward a compromise, but they just may find something more than they were expecting.
School of Chocolate
Eight top pastry and chocolate professionals are coming to School of Chocolate to take their skills and careers to the next level. Their teacher is world-renowned chocolatier Amaury Guichon, known globally for creating mind-blowing chocolate showpieces and unbelievable pastries. One lucky student who manages to prove themselves Best in Class after eight episodes will win a prize package that includes a career-changing opportunity.
Blue’s Clues and You!: “A Blue’s Clues Festival of Lights”
In this Blue’s Clues & You! holiday special, a surprise guest comes to Periwinkle’s house to celebrate Chanukah, the very joyful festival of lights. Josh and Blue play Blue’s Clues to figure out who the surprise guest is, and celebrate the holiday by spinning dreidels, frying latkes and singing an original Chanukah song.
BTN, CBS, FOX & FS1, beginning at 12pm Live
Black Friday action on the college gridiron has Boise State at San Diego State (CBS), Kansas State at Texas (FOX), Utah State at New Mexico (FS1), Iowa at Nebraska (BTN) and Missouri at Arkansas (CBS).
NHL Hockey: St. Louis at Chicago
ABC, 1pm Live
The NHL Thanksgiving Showdown takes place at Chicago’s United Center, where Ryan O’Reilly and the St. Louis Blues face off against Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks.
Golf: Capital One’s The Match: DeChambeau vs. Koepka
TNT, TBS, truTV & HLN, 4pm Live
Two of golf’s most intense and competitive rivals, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, go head-to-head in this 12-hole match at Wynn Golf Course in Las Vegas.
Hallmark Channel, 6pm
Christmas “Chris” Whitaker (Marisol Nichols) always believed she was destined to spread Christmas joy through her love of toymaking. When Chris was 10 years old, she sold homemade toys at her neighborhood Christmas stand, always with her best friend, Joe Sullivan (Paul Greene). Chris and Joe fulfilled their dream of running a toy company together, forming CJ Toys while in college. As their company grew, Chris began to lose sight of why she loved toymaking in the first place and focused on profit margins instead of making quality toys. Disheartened by the new direction of the company, Joe stepped back from the business rather than sacrifice the craft. But when Chris gets a once-in-a-lifetime offer to merge with a mega toy company and become its CEO, she needs Joe’s signature to seal the deal. While Chris tries to get Joe to sign the papers, what Joe helps Chris rediscover just might change both their lives.
A Loud House Christmas
This feature-length, live-action TV movie based on the animated series follows Lincoln Loud (Wolfgang Schaeffer), who is gearing up for the ultimate Christmas until he finds out that most of his sisters have plans to be elsewhere for the big day. Determined to remind his family that they all need to be together, Lincoln and his best friend Clyde McBride (Jahzir Bruno) embark on a mission to preserve the family’s holiday traditions.
Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic 2021
The CW, 8pm
This special, hosted by Dean Cain, features some of today’s hottest magicians as they perform holiday-themed magic.
An Unexpected Christmas
Hallmark Channel, 8pm
Jamie (Tyler Hynes) travels home a week before Christmas, but he still hasn’t told his family he broke things off with his girlfriend Emily (Bethany Joy Lenz), whom they adore. When Emily arrives in town unexpectedly for work, Jamie offers her a deal — he’ll get the governor to deliver the Christmas Day address for her marketing campaign and in return, Emily will stay with his family for the week under the pretense she and Jamie are still together. What follows is a week of awkward fumbling and near misses as Jamie and Emily try desperately to keep their true relationship status a secret. Eventually, their ruse begins to unravel. Just when it seems like Christmas has been ruined, Jamie pulls out all the stops to make things right, resulting in a very unexpected Christmas.
Frosty the Snowman
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.
Reba McEntire’s Christmas in Tune
Years after their personal and professional breakup, the singing duo of Georgia (Reba McEntire) and Joe Winter (John Schneider) agree to reunite after their daughter, Belle (Candice King), asks them to participate in a Christmas charity concert, only to find themselves getting back in tune both on and off the stage.
Kristen and Justin are thrilled when their daughter, Olivia, returns home after being missing for six years. Olivia was kidnapped, along with five other girls around the same age, but only Olivia has been discovered, and she claims she wasn’t with the other girls, nor does she know how to find them. As Kristen goes overboard trying to help Olivia readjust to normal life, Justin can’t help but feel uneasy. Something is off about this girl, especially as she tells contradictory stories about her time with her captor and can’t seem to recall small details about her life pre-abduction. Soon, Kristen begins to realize Justin’s suspicions were right all along — this girl is not Olivia, but a seventh previously unknown captive named Natalie. Hoping to finally find Olivia, Kristin teams up with Natalie to track down her daughter. Stars Emily Alatalo, Steve Belford and Natalie Jane.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
In this original 1966 animated TV special based on Dr. Seuss’ classic story, Boris Karloff narrates and voices the title Grinch, who schemes to steal every material vestige of Christmas from the Whos of Whoville. But the Grinch ultimately discovers he can’t remove the spirit of Christmas from the Whos’ hearts. An encore presentation will air Christmas Day (Saturday, Dec. 25).
Dean Martin — Part II
TCM, beginning at 8pm
Catch a Classic!
Tonight’s second of two evenings celebrating the movies of legendary crooner Dean Martin kicks off with two classics in which the “King of Cool” costarred with Frank Sinatra and other fellow Rat Packers. First up is Ocean’s 11 (1960), the enjoyable heist comedy that saw the Rat Pack at the pinnacle of their film appearances. World War II vets Danny Ocean (Sinatra) and Jimmy Foster (Peter Lawford) recruit nine of their former military comrades — including Sam Harmon, played by Martin — to help them rob five Las Vegas casinos on New Year’s Eve. The fun ensemble cast also includes Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Angie Dickinson, Cesar Romero, Norman Fell and plenty more. Up next is Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), a musical that sets its retelling of the Robin Hood legend in mob-run, Prohibition-era Chicago. There, North Side boss Robbo (Sinatra) hopes to get a leg up in his power struggle with rival racketeer Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk). Robbo sets himself up as a latter-day Robin Hood, with philanthropic fronts enabling him to scam the rich, take his cut and then give to the poor. Among Robbo’s band of merry men helping him with his scheme is pool hustler Little John, played by Martin. Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby, Barbara Rush and an uncredited Edward G. Robinson also star. Also of note: This is the film in which Sinatra introduced the tune associated with the Windy City ever since — “My Kind of Town,” which received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. Tonight’s Dean Martin tribute concludes late-night with a re-airing of the 2021 documentary King of Cool. — Jeff Pfeiffer
5 More Sleeps ’Til Christmas
This half-hour animated family special is inspired by Jimmy Fallon’s bestselling book. Narrated by Fallon, the colorful special focuses on a boy who has his meticulous, detailed plan leading up to Christmas upended upon the arrival of some unexpected guests at the home he shares with his mother and his dog, Gary. From finding the best tree, to perfecting his snow sled, to making scrumptious Christmas cookies, everything goes topsy-turvy as Christmas morning draws near. But, despite all the changes, the true spirit of Christmas manages to shine through.
Trolls Holiday in Harmony
This half-hour animated special is based on the hit Trolls feature-film franchise and includes four original songs. As the holidays near, Queen Poppy (voice of Anna Kendrick) plans the first annual Trolls Kingdom Secret Holiday Gift Swap. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when she and Branch (Justin Timberlake) draw each other’s name. Meanwhile, Tiny Diamond (Kenan Thompson) comes down with a bad case of writers’ block trying to think of a special holiday rap for his dad. The voice cast also includes Rachel Bloom, Ron Funches and Kunal Nayyar.
Great Performances: “Coppélia”
Featuring a blend of live-action dance with animation, this performance is a contemporary reboot of the 1870 classical comic ballet favorite Coppélia, originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to the music of Léo Delibes, with libretto by Charles-Louis-Étienne Nuitter. The film features ballet stars Michaela DePrince and Daniel Camargo.
Set in a small Texas military town and shot in vérité style, this award-winning feature documentary chases three spirited teenage girls — Brittney, Aaloni and Autumn — as they live out their fever-dream summer. The film captures intimate moments in female friendship while revealing the often-traumatic experience of growing up in a culture of toxic masculinity. Though the girls’ experiences are completely unique to their upbringing, Cusp tells a strikingly universal coming-of-age tale that is, at turns, funny, tragic, complicated, magical and stirring.
A “Saturday Night Live” Christmas Special
The annual special brings back some of the classic Christmas and holiday-themed sketches from over the long history of SNL.
How to With John Wilson
John Wilson continues his heartfelt mission of self-discovery, exploration and observation as he films the lives of his fellow New Yorkers while attempting to give everyday advice on six new deceptively simple topics.
The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek: “Trek Goes to the Movies”
This episode looks at the 1980s, when Paramount released three linked Star Trek movies to huge box-office success. The first, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), saw Ricardo Montalbán return to his villainous role Khan from the original series. It was followed by Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), directed by costar Leonard Nimoy, who returned to the director’s chair for 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the biggest Star Trek success yet. This episode ends the docuseries’ run on the linear History channel; six additional episodes of The Center Seat can be viewed on History Vault, History’s subscription video service.
Travel Channel, 10pm
This series, which has been streaming on discovery+, makes its linear premiere on Travel Channel beginning tonight. In the series, former federal agent and paranormal investigator Ben Hansen, working in cooperation with former Project Blue Book investigator Jennie Zeidman, reopens case files of some of the most astounding UFO encounters in history, files that have been hidden from the public for decades.
Saturday, Nov. 27
Meet Your Makers Showdown
This competition series is hosted by This Is Us star and crafting enthusiast Chrissy Metz, and features singer-songwriter LeAnn Rimes as “inspiration judge” and TV host Mark Montano as craft expert judge. In each of the six hourlong episodes, four top artisans will complete two challenges that test their creativity, skills and passion for their craft. Rimes will lead fellow judges on a walkthrough among contestants that delves into their creative process, and Montano will evaluate their technique and originality. Together with a weekly guest judge who specializes in the featured trade, they will award $10,000 to one maker.
College Football: Ohio State at Michigan
FOX, 12pm Live
One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports is renewed today as the Ohio State Buckeyes are at “The Big House” in Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines. Ohio State has won the past eight meetings. Last year’s game was canceled due to COVID-19.
Frankie Drake Mysteries: “Showstoppers”
Mary (Rebecca Liddiard) looks into a morality violation by Rita Hart’s (Sarah Swire) modern dance troupe, and Frankie (Lauren Lee Smith) questions if they’ve brought the Spanish flu to Toronto.
Royally Wrapped for Christmas
GAC Family, 8pm
Lindsay Palmer (Jen Lilley), the New York-based director of an international charity organization, is called to the Kingdom of Veronia by its royal family, who runs the foundation, to interview for the job of overseeing the whole operation. As Lindsay is put through the interview process, she ends up finding true love with the prince (Brendan Fehr).
Christmas at Heart Castle
Hallmark Channel, 8pm
Brooke Bennett goes to Ireland for Christmas to search for her Irish roots. While there, she meets Aiden Hart, Earl of Glaslough. Mistaken for an elite event planner, she’s hired to host his castle’s epic Christmas party. Lacey Chabert and Stuart Townsend star.
Robbie the Reindeer
CBS airs two Robbie the Reindeer animated holiday specials tonight, beginning with “Hooves of Fire,” in which Robbie (voice of Ben Stiller) competes against Blitzen (voice of Hugh Grant) in the Reindeer Races for a position on Santa’s sleigh team. Then in “Legend of the Lost Tribe,” Robbie must stop Blitzen from creating a Reindeer World theme park.
Merry Liddle Christmas Baby
This holiday, the Liddles have much to be merry about! Jacquie Liddle (Kelly Rowland) and her husband Tyler (Thomas Cadrot) are preparing for the arrival of their first baby. Meanwhile, Jacquie’s sister Treena (Latonya Williams) and her husband Julian (Jaime M. Callica) are thinking about adopting a baby themselves, and spirited fashionista sister Kiara’s (Bresha Webb) relationship with Chris (Nathan Witte) is heating up. With Jacquie’s family expanding in ways she could never have expected, the Liddles are headed for a crazy Christmas filled with merry mayhem and lots of love and laughter.
Dirty Little Deeds
When Jessica and her new husband, Simon, learn his father has died, they return to Simon’s estate to help his family’s struggling winery. Upon arriving, Simon’s family gives Jessica the cold shoulder as she’s confronted by the memory of his deceased former wife, Daphne. Matters get worse when Jessica and her friend, Madison, find Daphne’s body on the estate. Suspicious of her new husband, Jessica begins digging into the family’s past and uncovers a deadly web of lies. Now, Jessica must save herself and Simon from his corrupted family if she hopes to build a new life with her husband. Stars Nayirah Teshali, Adam Hollick, Ashley Doris and Aleksandra Kaniak.
TCM, beginning at 8pm
Catch a Classic!
Picking up a hitchhiker carries its risks, but can be especially deadly if it’s one of the extraterrestrial monstrosities featured in tonight’s TCM double feature that is looking for a free ride. To be fair, the crews of the spaceships in these films did not bring the beasts on board knowingly, but they still had to deal with the horrific fallout from these space stowaways.
First up tonight is 1958’s It! The Terror From Beyond Space, a nice blending of sci-fi and horror. Despite the era in which it was made, and its cheesy-sounding title, low budget and brief runtime (68 minutes), this film delivers a suspenseful viewing experience. Set in the far-off future of 1973, and not actually “beyond space,” the story follows an American space crew sent to retrieve the sole survivor of a Mars mission, who claims that a hostile humanoid being has killed the rest of the expedition. An escape hatch is unwittingly left open while the crew is on Mars, and once the crew starts heading home and people start getting picked off one-by-one, they begin realizing the survivor may be right as it becomes apparent that the ruthless Martian thing has come onboard. It! is kind of unique for its time in creating a tense buildup before fully revealing the creature (played by actor/stuntman Ray “Crash” Corrigan in his final film). The creature costume isn’t completely terrible considering the budget and the era, but the film really shines in its first part, where we only get glimpses of the creature, or hear its eerie growl echoing as a hapless crew member explores a ship’s lower level or some other dark hiding place. Those initial scenes have a creepily restrained and ominous atmosphere courtesy of director Edward L. Cahn, the man who also brought you such fun and wonderfully titled quickie horror films as Creature With the Atom Brain, Invasion of the Saucer Men and Curse of the Faceless Man.
If the plot for It! sounds quite similar to tonight’s second film, the 1979 sci-fi/horror classic Alien, you aren’t the only one thinking that: Representatives for the 1958 film tried suing the producers of Alien for plagiarism, and It! screenwriter Jerome Bixby once chuckled as he said in an interview, “Frankly, I feel like the grandfather of Alien.” Alien, like It! itself, clearly drew from other sci-fi works before it, but also became transformative and influential in its own right, thanks to the superior talent of its cast and crew (and their superior budget). The movie, in which the relentlessly and remorselessly deadly “xenomorph” comes onboard the deep-space salvage ship Nostromo — literally exploding onto the scene out of poor John Hurt in the infamous “chestburster” sequence — is the ultimate “haunted house movie in space.” The gothic design of the ship, the truly otherworldly look of the creature designed by H.R. Giger, the atmospheric direction by Ridley Scott in just his second feature film and the exceptional cast led by Sigourney Weaver in her iconic role as Ripley — the most kick-ass “final girl” in any horror film — along with Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, Ian Holm and Hurt, made this an instant classic and launched an eventual franchise with ensuing films of varying quality. While it may be that in space no one can hear you scream, the screams coming from your living room if you tune in to Alien this evening are another matter. — Jeff Pfeiffer
Wellington Paranormal: “Twas the Patrol Before Christmas”
The CW, 8:30pm
In this spooky festive special, Minogue (Mike Minogue) and O’Leary (Karen O’Leary) attend to a number of different paranormal events on a busy Christmas Eve patrol.
USA Network, 9pm
Don Johnson (also an executive producer) and Cheech Marin reprise their roles as Nash Bridges and Joe Dominguez, elite investigators in the San Francisco Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit, in this two-hour movie based on the 1996-2001 cop drama. The movie picks up 10 years later in the lives of the characters. Original series creator Carlton Cuse (Lost) is also an executive producer.
The Story of Santa Claus
This animated musical holiday special features the voices of Ed Asner, Betty White and Tim Curry, and revolves around a gentle toymaker whose only wish is to deliver a toy to every child on Christmas.
Time for Them to Come Home for Christmas
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 10pm
During the holidays, a woman with amnesia catches a ride with her handsome nurse to investigate the only clue to her identity: a newspaper clipping for a Christmas Festival with a cryptic invitation. Jessy Schram and Brendan Penny star.
Pop Goes the Vet With Dr. Joya
Nat Geo Wild, 10pm
As part of Nat Geo Wild’s Vetsgiving week, enjoy a sneak peek of its latest veterinary reality series, which will formally premiere in spring 2022. This show follows Kentucky-based veterinary dermatologist Dr. Joya Griffin. From impacted earwax to oozing cysts to massive hair loss, there’s no case too mysterious or bizarre for her as she investigates the largest organ in an animal’s body — the skin.