Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

After 12 years, Joel McHale is out of The Soup

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

The Soup (E!, 10 p.m., Friday): Sure, he anchored one of the best ensembles in T.V. history for six years, but Joel McHale has spent twice that long bringing his snarky handsome-guy charm to this entertainment clip show, so bite it, Community! (We are actually quite fond of Community—but bite it, Community!) Anyway, The Soup’s been attempting to make absurd T.V. intentionally rather than unintentionally funny since 1991—when it was Talk Soup—under the leadership of the likes of Greg Kinnear, John Henson, Hal Sparks, and Aisha Tyler. But McHale’s been serving up the comedy bisque for the past 12 years, making this series finale sort of a big deal. To help celebrate, he’s promised guests for his final show such as: Eric Idle, Timothy Omundson, Seth Green, James Van Der Beek, Paul Feig, Rob Huebel, Haley Joel Osment, Rich Sommer, Lou Diamond Phillips, Nathan Fillion, Adam Scott, Wendy McLendon-Covey, Donald Faison, Rob Riggle, and Community pals Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash, and Danny Pudi. It’s gonna get soupy up in here.


Also noted

F Is For Family (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Comedian and professional henchman Bill Burr created and voices the lead character of this six-episode animated sitcom about a fractious 1970s Irish-American family. Laura Dern, Sam Rockwell, and Justin Long are in there, too, and it’s co-created by former Simpsons writer Michael Price, which should help flesh out Burr’s signature rage- and incredulity-based comedy stylings. Luckily, in his TV Review, Zack Handlen says the show is a surprisingly thoughtful (and sort of sad) comedy about dealing with life’s disappointments. Dennis Perkins will handle the episodic reviews, one a day from Friday until next Thursday.

“I’m just saying what we’re all thinking! What’s that, I’m not? Well… then can you just deliver my pizza?”

Transparent (Amazon, Friday): Eric Thurm’s wild about this fourth episode of the season, and especially about Amy Landecker’s Sarah, who continues to shine. Says Eric of the beleaguered Pfefferman sibling: “[Landecker] cements herself as an early front-runner for season MVP. Her steely sadness is really fantastic, communicated with perpetually slight builds in her frustration…”


The Knick (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): In the season two finale, Clive Owen’s “I don’t play by the rules” Doctor Thack decides—wait for it—not to play by the rules as he defies Michael Nathanson’s Dr. Zinberg and decides to go ahead with another experimental medical treatment. Brandon Nowalk concedes that Thack’s a loose cannon, but appeals to Zinberg, “He gets results, you stupid Zinberg!”

Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): Ash has nightmares, presumably about realizing he’s in algebra class and he hasn’t studied and he’s not wearing his chainsaw hand. Michael Roffman is just hoping that some friends show up to help him through it.

The Returned (Sundance, 10 p.m., Saturday): Erik Adams called last week’s episode a stunner, saying, “In true prestige-drama fashion, the best episode of season two is its penultimate episode, which pays off season-long threads and solves enough mysteries to maintain the momentum leading to the finale.” Well, here comes the finale, which promises—in The Returned fashion—to leave you haunted, drained, and warily hungry for the next season.


Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m., Saturday): In an early Christmas present—and perhaps to make up for this year’s episode that shall never be spoken of again—Lorne Michaels has invited the SNL alum super-duo of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to host the last show of 2015. Oh, and they’re bringing along a little musical guest named… Bruce Springsteen?!!? All might not be forgiven for an uneven season, Lorne, but this is a good start.

Elsewhere in TV Club

As you all know, we’re deep in the year-end best-of thing around here, and EVERYBODY’S MAD! Well, some of us can express our disappointment in the fact that something we liked was not liked to the same degree without going all “this list is worthless and you suck and this site sucks and did I mention that you suck?” about it. In that vein, the new AVQ&A sees some AV Clubbers listing—politely—those films they wish had been included on the best of 2015 film list. And with the holidays upon us, don’t you feel just a little bit… creeped out? Well so does Anthony John Agnello over at Gameological after playing, then writing about, the eerie Christmas mystery of the nearly forgotten Playstation game Parasite Eve. And since we’re all hyped up for holiday nonsense, prepare your ear-worm repellent as Dan Caffrey takes a listen to the SNL goof turned Christmas staple “I Wish It Was Christmas Today.” And why not finish it off with Oliver Sava’s review of comic god (and sometimes God) Grant Morrison’s Santa-as-superhero book Klaus.


What else is on

Care Bears And Cousins (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Will there be a whole “bronies” movement for the Care Bears? What would they be called? Just spitballing here: “carburetors,” “bears (no, not those bears),” “CB enthusiasts.”


Glitter Force (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Americanized version of the Japanese cartoon Smile PreCure! about… look, even the Wikipedia page is incomprehensible. Waving the white flag on this one.

Making A Murderer (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Anyone out there looking for the next The Jinx or Serial (other than season two of Serial) is advised to check out this Netflix documentary series from Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi about a Wisconsin man whose DNA-aided exoneration for one horrible crime is complicated when he’s charged with another.


Mike Epps: After Dark (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Standup Epps has a new special to get you primed for his starring role in the upcoming T.V. adaptation of Uncle Buck, no doubt. (P.S.—That is definitely still happening, by the way.)

Billboard’s 2015 Women In Music (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Friday): A celebration of Billboard’s iteration of the most successful female artists of 2015. Their honorees include: Lady Gaga, Loretta Lynn, Brittany Howard, Selena Gomez, Lana Del Rey, Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato and Kelsea Ballerini.


The Seven Five (Showtime, 8 p.m., Friday): Documentary about the massive police corruption in the titular NYC precinct, stuff that would not fly in the Nine-Nine.

Not in Ray Holt’s house

Caught On Camera With Nick Cannon (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): [Unsuspecting person feels tap on shoulder, Nick Cannon snaps a picture of the two of them.] “You just got caught on camera… with Nick Cannon!” “Oh, okay.” “Prints are available!” “I’ll think about it.” “With Nick Cannon!” “Uh-huh.” “Nick Cannon, away!”

MasterChef Junior (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday): The remaining kid chefs do a blindfolded taste test of dishes prepared by Gordon Ramsay. The kids lick their lips, as they prepare to settle some scores.


Unforgettable (A&E, 8 p.m., Friday): Poppy Montgomery’s detective can’t forget anything, which doesn’t bode well for her ex-boyfriend when he comes back to town. Just the number of socks left on the floor alone (73). Doomed.

Live From Lincoln Center: Sinatra—Voice For A Century (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Seth MacFarlane finally achieves release as he is allowed to host this tribute to Old Blue Eyes on what would have been his 100th birthday. Singing—and presumably keeping close eyes on MacFarlane—are the likes of Christina Aguilera, Chris Botti, Fantasia, Sutton Foster, Bernadette Peters, and Sting.


A Home For The Holidays (CBS, 9 p.m., Friday): LL Cool J hosts musical performances from Christina Aguilera, Jason Derulo, Rascal Flatts, and Ed Sheeran, who all sing to, but do not adopt, orphans in foster care.

Satisfaction (USA, 10 p.m., Friday): In the season two finale, swinging escort marrieds Neil and Grace decide to put that whole “being escorts and sleeping with piles of other people” thing behind them and start up their business… as escorts?! Well, they probably know what they’re doing.


Z Nation (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): In the season two finale, the survivors drive through the deserted, zombie-infested ruins of Los Angeles. In last week’s defense of this undeniably loopy zombie show, Alex McCown made a surprisingly compelling case that we should be sad Z Nation’s shambling off for the season.

Does The Walking Dead have zombie hockey? No… didn’t think so

Welcome To New York (Showtime, 10 p.m., Friday): Gerard Depardieu is a famous, powerful, boozing, womanizing Frenchman whose sloppy appetites get him into all manner of trouble in New York. (To clarify, that is a synopsis of this new thriller from Abel Ferrara, starring Mr. Depardieu.)

David Tutera’s CELEBrations (WEtv, 10:05 p.m., Friday): A reality show about a celebrity party planner planning a party for another reality star from a show about her life of luxury funded by her criminal husband’s murderous lifestyle. So… TV’s had a good run.

Democratic Presidential Debate (ABC, 8 p.m., Saturday): Anyone else like to picture Kate McKinnon and Larry David getting giggly drunk and working on their next debate sketch? Picturing them ordering in Thai food. And they make Alec Baldwin work the digital recorder and fetch them beers.


A Christmas Melody (Hallmark, 8 p.m., Saturday): Mariah Carey stars and directs this Hallmark Christmas movie. We could go on, but that sentence is just too much of a thing in itself.


The Spirit Of Christmas (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): “A plucky young lawyer” (that’s from the Lifetime site—don’t blame us) is sent to negotiate the sale of a charming little B&B—which just so happens to be haunted by the even more charming and handsome ghost of a dude who died there 95 years ago! Can she help him solve the mystery of his death while simultaneously helping him rediscover… the spirit of Christmas? Bets? Anyone? It’s a Lifetime movie.

Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz, 8 p.m., Saturday): “Leo and Sophia encounter problems trying to control their mysterious invention.” Oh, man, did they finally invent the holodeck?


Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert (AMC, 9 p.m., Saturday): In the dueling dead-guy birthday concerts this weekend, there’s a significantly more impressive lineup for this tribute to the former Beatle. Look for: Aloe Blacc, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Peter Frampton, Kris Kristofferson, Pat Monahan, Tom Morello, Willie Nelson, The Roots, Spoon, Chris Stapleton, and Steven Tyler. And if Paul and Ringo don’t show up, at least we’ll always have special guest host Kevin Bacon! Wait, what?

Survivorman (Discovery Science, 10 p.m., Saturday): Survivorman heads to Patagonia. Wonder what brand of windbreaker he’ll be wearing?


Spotless (Esquire, 10 p.m., Saturday): Are you watching this English series about people who get into trouble while cleaning up bloody crime scenes? Because their are some… stains here at the A.V. Club offices we could use some pointers in getting out. Don’t worry about it.

And now… sport

NCAA Division III Football Championship: Mount Union Vs. St. Thomas (ESPNU, 7 p.m., Friday)


NBA Basketball: Clippers At Spurs (ESPN, 8 p.m., Friday)

NCAA Division I Football Tournament: Richmond at North Dakota State (ESPN2, 8 p.m., Friday)


NBA Basketball: Pelicans At Suns (ESPN, 10:30 p.m., Friday)

College Football: Celebration Bowl—Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T (ABC, noon, Saturday)


College Basketball: Wichita State at Seton Hall (Fox, noon, Saturday)

College Basketball: Utah At Duke (ESPN, noon, Saturday)

College Basketball: Virginia At Villanova (ESPN2, noon, Saturday)

College Basketball: Western Kentucky at Louisville (ESPNU, noon, Saturday)

Barclays Premier League Soccer: Newcastle vs. Aston Villa (NBC, 12:30, Saturday)

College Football: New Mexico Bowl—Arizona At New Mexico (ESPN, 2 p.m., Saturday)

College Basketball: Ohio State vs. Kentucky (CBS, 3:30 p.m., Saturday)

College Football: Las Vegas Bowl—BYU Vs. Utah (ABC, 3:30 p.m., Saturday)

NCAA Division II Football Championship: Northwest Missouri State vs. Shepherd (ESPN2, 4 p.m., Saturday)


College Football: Camellia Bowl—Ohio Vs. Appalachian State (ESPN, 5:30 p.m., Saturday)

College Football: New Orleans Bowl—Arkansas State Vs. Louisiana Tech (ESPN, 9 p.m., Saturday)


Women’s Volleyball: NCAA Championship (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m., Saturday)

In case you missed it

The Big Bang Theory: America’s all abuzz that two forty-something adults who like science and science fiction are able to consummate their sexual relationship! Fine—Kyle Fowle says it was actually pretty touching.


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