Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5. All times are Eastern.
A Very Murray Christmas (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Bill Murray wanted to do a Christmas special with some of his celebrity pals (including Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Paul Shaffer, George Clooney, and Amy Poehler) crooning and goofing around. Thankfully, Netflix said, “Yes, of course. You’re Bill Murray.” And, sure, as Alex McCown said in his pre-air review, “There’s the sense that Murray knows A Very Murray Christmas is a little uneven, but he also gives the impression that he doesn’t really give a fuck,” but that’s more of a recommendation for this ramshackle, oddball enterprise to fans of the ever-impossible-to-pin-down Murray. Will you watch this? Yes, of course. He’s Bill Murray.
Reign (CW, 8 p.m., Friday): Genevieve Valentine was less than impressed with Reign’s, let’s call it “loosey-goosey” approach to historical verisimilitude in last week’s episode—the term “garbage fire” may have come up. So here’s hoping this “historical” drama gets its act together this week, as Mary and Catherine work together when Catherine discovers the dark secret that a Spanish prince is actually… Wolverine?! Aw, c’mon, Reign, at least meet Genevieve halfway here.
Grimm (NBC, 9 p.m., Friday): Les Chappell is all aflutter as Nick and Hank meet the mythical Rat King! And here’s your Grimm monster picture of the week!
Please Like Me (Pivot, 10 p.m., Friday): “Josh deals with the aftermath of his “hall pass” while Arnold was away.” Brandon Nowalk throws up his hands, exclaiming, “Dammit, Josh—didn’t you learn anything from the national nightmare that was the movie Hall Pass? Dammit, Josh.”
The Knick (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): Clive Owen’s Thack attempts a new cure on the patients in the inebriation ward, studiously ignoring the look everyone’s giving him that clearly says, “Heal thyself, Doctor Hypocrite.” Brandon Nowalk stands in the corner, nodding silently.
Marc Maron: More Later (Epix, 10 p.m., Friday): New standup special from the longtime standup comic best known these days for his excellent interviews with other standup comics and his fitfully amusing IFC show. He’s still funny, though, as Daniel Berkowitz assures us all in his pre-air review.
Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories (Adult Swim, 11 p.m., Friday): Everyone’s favorite off-putting, queasily brilliant comedy duo returns for another installment of their horror-themed anthology series. This time, a tornado dumps a guy’s septic tank—mostly filled with his semen—on a children’s hospital. Yup, sounds like Tim & Eric all right. Dan Caffrey braves the septic semen-storm for his review.
Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): When Ash undergoes an awakening, you can be sure of one thing—it’s gonna be short-lived. Oh, and it’s gonna result in him covered in Deadite viscera. So, two things. Michael Roffman says, “You’re forgetting about him saying something pithy and cool. Like boomstick.” Sorry, Mike—three things.
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): After last week’s all-time classic of an episode, the righteously pissed-off Doctor strides across Gallifrey to confront his fellow Time Lords, who’ve been tormenting him in some truly horrifying ways. Still jazzed up from the Doctor’s triumph, Alasdair Wilkins is primed for this season finale, crying out, “Doctor—power chords!”
The Returned (Sundance, 10 p.m., Saturday): Sure, this series about the eerily risen dead is haunting and mysterious, and deeply moving, but that didn’t stop Erik Adams from comparing it admiringly to Mystery Science Theater 3000 last week. That’s why we pay him the big bucks.
Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m., Saturday): Can Ryan Gosling be funny? Well, looking over his IMDb page, Dennis Perkins says, “Ummmm…” But that doesn’t mean he can’t be one of those stealth amazing hosts that come along every once in a while. (Seriously, who thought that Hamm guy was freaking hilarious until he hosted?) Leon Bridges is the musical guest, a guy whose ‘60s throwback sound definitely isn’t funny, but is quite pleasant indeed.
Elsewhere in TV Club
In this week’s AVQ&A, get ready to scoff, as your favorite AV Clubbers reveal the past pop culture they only discovered for the first time this year. Then Kenneth Partridge asks the musical question in his For Our Consideration feature, “Is it time to say enough with the Beatles, already?” Then, in another For Our Consideration piece, Alex McCown traces the surprisingly entertaining development of that other, decidedly more bananas zombie apocalypse series, Z Nation. Does that other show have plant zombies, aliens, and super-speed zombies? We thought not—and we said, good day, sir.
What else is on
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m., Friday): Hong Kong and Macau feel the incoming splash of American game show contestants and sigh deeply, silently wishing for sharks.
MasterChef Junior (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday): The young chefs are tasked with providing food for a children’s birthday party, leading to the following exchange: “For your party, I’ve whipped up a traditional French mille-feuille with a marbled icing.” “But I want cake.” “It is a cake, you drooling little monster! Ramsay’s going to send me back to public school! Here—just eat it! Eat i—”
Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m., Friday): Tim Allen’s kid needs a new hockey coach, so he warms up all that aces Canadian material he’s been holding onto.
Undateable (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): As close as we’ve got at this point to a Ron Funches: Live concert film, as this sitcom continues to grab for ratings with a full season of slight line fumbling.
30 minutes of live Funches every week, NBC—Think about it
Unforgettable (A&E, 8 p.m., Friday): Poppy Montgomery’s detective still can never forget a single goddamned thing! Which is a shame in this week’s case where “A young jazz prodigy is shot and killed and the team investigate the underbelly of the jazz scene,” since her detective Carrie Wells has some memories of the underbelly of the jazz scene that she would very much like to block out.
Truth Be Told (NBC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): The chatty assholes accidentally chat via text, causing them to commit to chatting awkwardly in person. Thus is ever the downfall of chatty assholes in the digital age.
Dr. Ken (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): It has been brought to our attention that Ken Jeong reads What’s On Tonight and does not like it when we make jokes about his eponymous sitcom. Therefore, in the interest of peace, we will simply state that this episode, where Ken and Dave Foley shoot some hoops, seems like a fun way to spend an afternoon at the gym. Plus, Dr. Ken is almost certainly a better 3-point shooter than Steph Curry and is very nice and also smells good.
America’s Next Top Model (CW, 9 p.m., Friday): After 22 seasons, this attractiveness contest series comes to an inevitable and solemn end, as the most beautiful person who has ever lived or will live is crowned, ensuring a life of serene wisdom and cosmic fulfillment. Plus, we’re pretty sure she gets a clothing line at Kmart.
Marriage Boot Camp (WE, 9 p.m., Friday): Nothing guarantees a mutually satisfying resolution to the inherent problems of the modern romantic relationship more than being exploited by scolding strangers on a reality show. Season four premiere!
Shark Tank (ABC, 9 p.m., Friday): A college student pitches a grown-up version of his favorite childhood toy. The hosts look at each other uncomfortably, as he wheels in a suspiciously huge Tickle Me Elmo shape under a sheet.
The Who—Live In Hyde Park (Showtime, 9 p.m., Friday): We can think of at least two things wrong with the title of this 2015 concert.
Satisfaction (USA, 10 p.m., Friday): “Neil and Grace extricate Anika from a dangerous situation after experiencing a mind-altering drug trip.” Not to nit-pick, but we’re assuming that means Anika was on the drug trip, leading to a dangerous situation, and not that Neil and Grace tried to rescue Anika while tripping balls. Because that would be a recipe for disaster.
Z Nation (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): “All hell breaks loose when it’s discovered that Dr. Kurian’s Z-Vaccine doesn’t work at all.” Not at all? Jesus, Dr. K—that is some straight-up zombie apocalypse nonsense right there.
Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz, 8 p.m., Saturday): Leo attempts to uncover the secrets of the Turkish armor. Unfortunately, once he determines it’s not made of taffy, he’s out of ideas. It’s the 15th century after all.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter the Saturday made-for-TV Christmas movie Hellscape
The Flight Before Christmas (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): Mayim Bialik winds up stuck in an airport on Christmas Eve with Reginald VelJohnson and Jo Marie Payton and makes the mistake of asking them if Urkel’s behind the delay. It does not go well. But, as they approach her, hate in their eyes, the airport trembles, as if from something embedded in the very concrete making up the strangely arcane configuration of the structure itself. They wait until the rumbling subsides, and then, their frightened eyes seeking comfort in each other, they embrace, and weep.
Just In Time For Christmas (Hallmark, 8 p.m., Saturday): A young woman, faced with the seemingly impossible decision between her hometown boyfriend and her dream teaching job, is confronted by a mysterious stranger who promises that he can transport her three years into the future in order to see what her final decision will mean. Accepting his offer despite the otherworldly, growling cadence of his incantation, she sees glimpses of a sea of blood, a lingering stench of brimstone and bile, and the sight of costars William Shatner and Christopher Lloyd. She attempts to recant, but knows in her already withering soul that she has doomed herself—and us all.
Royal Family Christmas (TV One, 8 p.m., Saturday): A close-knit family attempts to lure their estranged parents back together for the holidays, but, when the wayward patriarch and matriarch (Richard Lawson and Debbi Morgan) reveal they have only been faking their separation to bring the family together, they’re greeted by the sight of their youngest daughter, a glass in her hand. “Nog?,” she asks, in a voice seeming to come from somewhere far, far away. “Nog?,” She continues, as her voice grows somehow hollower and louder at the same time. “Nog… Nog Shoggoth… Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn…” Also starring Vivica A. Fox and Tischina Arnold!
Merry Kissmas (Ion, 9 p.m., Saturday): Two nondescriptly pretty people are stuck in an elevator on Christmas. They make small talk and gradually realize they do not remember why they are in an elevator, or even what building they are in. As the piped-in carols seep into their minds, and the buttons light up with unknown symbols, they are greeted with visions of boiling, gingerbread-scented cauldrons filled with strange sweetmeats, and the far-off call of half-remembered murmurations. As their true forms emerge and they begin the unholy union that will call down the Ancient Ones, their burbling chatter sounds something akin to “Kiss… Mass… Kissss… Mass…”
Survivorman (Discovery Science, 10 p.m., Saturday): Survivorman attempts to rough it in the Himalayan foothills. Should be a doddle—call us when you get to the actual Himalayas, Survivorman.
Spotless (Esquire, 10 p.m., Saturday): When a sleazy politician’s night with a prostitute goes terribly wrong (shocker!), the crime scene cleanup brothers are called in with their rags and Swiffers and whatnot.
And now… sport. So, so much sport
NBA Basketball: Nets At Knicks (ESPN, 7 p.m., Friday)
College Football: MAC Championship—Bowling Green Vs. Northern Illinois (ESPN2, 8 p.m., Friday)
NBA Basketball: Cavaliers At Pelicans (ESPN, 9:30 p.m., Friday)
College Basketball: Oregon At UNLV (ESPN2, 11 p.m., Friday)
College Football: American Athletic Football Championship—Temple At Houston (ABC, noon, Saturday)
College Football: Texas At Baylor (ESPN, noon, Saturday)
College Football: Conference USA Football Championship—Southern Mississippi at Western Kentucky (ESPN2, noon, Saturday)
College Basketball: Temple At Wisconsin (CBS, 12:30 p.m., Saturday)
Barclay’s Premiere League Soccer: Chelsea At Bournemouth (NBC, 12:30 p.m., Saturday)
College Basketball: Syracuse At Georgetown (Fox, 1 p.m., Saturday)
College Basketball: Arizona At Gonzaga (ESPN, 3:15, Saturday)
College Football: SEC Championship—Florida Vs. Alabama (CBS, 4 p.m., Saturday)
College Football: Mountain West Championship—Air Force At San Diego State (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m., Saturday)
College Football: Pac 12 Championship—Stanford Vs. Southern California (ESPN, 7:45 p.m., Saturday)
College Football: ACC Championship—North Carolina Vs. Clemson (ABC, 8 p.m., Saturday)
College Football: Big Ten Championship—Michigan State Vs. Iowa (Fox, 8 p.m., Saturday)
In case you missed it
Battlestar Galactica: TV Club Classic lives! And Zack Handlen’s on the case, reviewing the second season of Battlestar, people! Happy days, all around.