Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, December 12. All times are Eastern.
Modern Family (ABC, 9 p.m.): Depending on whom you talk to, the fourth season of this show has been a solid rebound, at least to season two levels, or it’s been a continuation of the sad decline of a once promising show that got too big, too quickly. And, honestly, there are some weeks when someone who’s on the former side might be on the latter and vice versa. That’s just how it is with one of America’s top comedies. Donna Bowman herself isn’t entirely sure what she thinks, but she does hope that Gloria would just have that damn baby already. Then we could all celebrate the holidays like a normal sitcom would!
Arrow (The CW, 8 p.m.): If there’s one show we were desperately hoping would do a Christmas episode, it’s this one, which just naturally suggests itself for Santa Claus shenanigans, don’t you think? Alasdair Wilkins plans to send his Christmas cards this year with photos of himself posing by Stephen Amell’s abs.
The Middle (ABC, 8 p.m.): We don’t exactly know why ABC couldn’t get it together to take a break after airing all of its Christmas episodes last week, but this show’s new tonight, too. Fortunately, it’s celebrating the happy occasion of Frankie and Mike’s 20th anniversary. Will Harris will send a card.
Survivor (CBS, 8 p.m.): This has been one of the best Survivor seasons in a long, long time, and Carrie Raisler is going to be sad to see it go, but not so sad that she’d like to see it continue on and on, forever and ever. She, will, however be watching the spinoff: Michael Skupin In How Did That Get There?!
The Hour (BBC America, 9 p.m.): Attention, Dominic West fans. On tonight’s The Hour, TV Guide helpfully tells us that “Hector spirals out of control.” Well! With this season’s focus on crime, we certainly hope he doesn’t create a fake serial killer. Todd VanDerWerff gets that The Wire reference.
American Horror Story (FX, 10 p.m.): Todd VanDerWerff died in the course of writing his review last week, so this review will be filed by his ghost, who has access to a screener. It seems sort of fitting for a ghost to write reviews of this show, but we wish he’d stop complaining about how cold he is. Irritating!
Top Chef (Bravo, 10 p.m.): Anna Faris and Chris Pratt turn up, and we find ourselves idly wondering if it wouldn’t just be better to have a cooking show hosted by Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, instead of whatever this show is now. Emily Withrow doesn’t think she’d learn anything, but she’d still watch.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Sopranos (1 p.m.): What is “The Blue Comet”? Well, it’s not a heavenly body, that’s for sure. What it is is a toy train, and once we tell you that, you’ll probably know which character gets a big, showcase scene in this episode, the penultimate one of the whole series. Todd VanDerWerff has a couple guesses.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
The X Factor (Fox, 8 p.m.): We don’t know if this is the end of the road for the show, since the TV Guide description just says that finalists are competing, but we do know that Fox is probably pretty sad that it didn’t bother cutting this series loose when it had the chance. It’s dragging down the bottom line!
Amish Mafia (Discovery, 9 p.m.): We don’t know exactly what the inspiration for this show was, but we have to imagine it had something to do with Weird Al Yankovic’s video for “Amish Paradise.” We’ve considered all other explanations for the existence of this program and found them wanting.
Barbara Walters Presents The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2012 (ABC, 9:30 p.m.): Every year, we watch this special, and every year, we’re disappointed to find that no A.V. Club contributors made it. No Noel Murray. No Keith Phipps. No Tasha Robinson. No ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER. What gives, Barbara?
Jersey On Ice (TLC, 10 p.m.): Finally! A Toddlers & Tiaras/Here Comes Honey Boo Boo/Dance Moms ripoff about young figure skaters! At present, it’s just listed as a “special,” but if we know TLC’s long-term commitment to “Learning” (it’s in the name!), this will be a series before you can say triple lutz.
Fireproof (CMT, 8 p.m.): Kirk Cameron is basically playing “What if Kirk Cameron were a firefighter, and his marriage was in danger of ending in divorce?” in this surprisingly popular Christian hit from a few years ago. As it turns out, if that was all true, he would need the Bible to help him out. The Bible.
Remember The Night (TCM, 9:45 p.m.): Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray are terrific in this underseen holiday comedy, about a district attorney who’s forced to bring an attractive thief home with him for the holidays. The script was by a young Preston Sturges, with Michael Leisen directing.
NBA Basketball: Mavericks at Celtics (ESPN, 8 p.m.): The Celtics are 11-9, while the Mavericks are 11-10, which means that this will just be the most exciting game ever played. We’d say something intelligent here, but we pay so little attention to non-Clipper basketball. Insert your joke here!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Happy Endings (Tuesday): Next week is the Christmas episode of this perennially low-rated ensemble comedy, which might just be everybody's favorite sitcom about a bunch of funny friends. David Sims is hoping Sony drags this one across the line to yet another Christmas episode!