Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, December 11. All times are Eastern.
Gracepoint (Fox, 9 p.m.): The TV-loving public was largely skeptical about Fox’s decision to remake the beloved British murder mystery Broadchurch for an American audience. And while the show itself has been perfectly fine (and sometimes great), it’s also failed to capture the public’s attention like its source material. That left many wondering if a largely shot-for-shot remake was perhaps not the best adaptation choice. Of course, opinions could still change if the reveal of Danny’s killer in tonight’s finale is so shocking that it recontextualizes the whole show. Like say, if David Tennant’s Emmett Carver committed the murder then purposefully got hired as the lead detective in order to cover his tracks. Whatever the case, Gwen Ihnat will be there to compare Gracepoint vs. Broadchurch murderers and finish out her excellent coverage of Fox’s grand experiment.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): It’s Christmas in The Big Bang Theory universe and Amy decides to celebrate by throwing a traditional Victorian dinner party. Given that the most recent episode saw Jim Parsons don a colonial gown, it’s a safe bet that someone on the writing staff has been reading up on history lately. To get into the historical mood, Kyle Fowle will be filing his review while wearing a silk waistcoat and nibbling some plum pudding.
Reign (The CW, 9 p.m.): While Gracepoint says goodbye forever, Reign merely says “ta ta for now” in tonight’s midseason finale. It looks to be an action packed episode with Francis tracking Narcisse and Mary teaming up with Condé on a dangerous mission. But of even more interest: TV Guide notes that Catherine receives a “surprisingly erotic” bedroom visitor. Caroline Framke is worried someone leaked her Reign fanfiction.
A To Z (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): The canceled-but-still airing A To Z returns after a brief holiday hiatus. Tonight Andrew and Zelda try to buy Christmas gifts for one another with the help of their friends. Before the show’s break, Brandon Nowalk bemoaned A To Z’s cancellation after a particularly good episode revealed the show’s potential. Should tonight’s episode be as strong, Brandon is officially investing in a #SaveAtoZ t-shirt.
Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.)
Futurama (10 a.m.): The Church of Scientology and Titanic both get spoofed in this week’s Futurama double-header. Bender joins the Temple of Robotology in “Hell Is Other Robots” while the gang takes a cruise on a futuristic Titanic in “A Flight to Remember.” Zack Handlen would have preferred it if the show had set its Scientology parody on the Titanic, but he’ll take what he can get.
Drum roll please! We’ve already shared the first half of our best TV shows of 2014 list and now we unveil the 10 best shows to cross our TV/computer screens this year. Returning favorites and debut programs make the list and we eschew cable dramas to name a network series our best show of the year. What scandal! (But not Scandal.)
Elsewhere, Joshua Alston shares his thoughts on Netflix’s newest original series, Marco Polo. Despite the series’ fantastic production values, Joshua found the medieval drama lacking in spark. He writes:
It’s a perfectly valid strategy for Netflix to add a Game Of Thrones-like show to its roster, especially one with as much international appeal as Marco Polo. But Marco Polo doesn’t stack up to the political maneuverings and bloody battles within the Seven Kingdoms, and so often resembles George R.R. Martin fan-fiction, it seems wiser to revisit the superior show.
And in our ongoing 12 Days Of Non-Denominational Winter Holidays (published at 10 a.m.), Noel Murray looks back at 1977’s A Doonesbury Special, a half-hour NBC cartoon with surprisingly dark undertones.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): Vampire Diaries also reaches its midseason finale tonight. The crew tries to bring some Christmas cheer to Mystic Falls because vampires aren’t just for Halloween anymore.
Bones (ABC, 8 p.m.): Bones—that show you always forget is still on—reaches its 200th episode tonight. In the proud tradition of long running procedurals embracing goofy premises for no reason (see also: the Grey’s Anatomy musical), tonight’s episode is an Alfred Hitchcock homage set in 1950s Hollywood.
Robin Williams Remembered (PBS, 9 p.m.): For those who like the sensation of laughing and weeping at the same time, this hour-long special looks back on Robin Williams’ career. It features interviews from his friends, colleagues, and Williams himself. Tissues recommended.
Blake Shelton’s Not-So-Family Christmas (NBC, 10 p.m.): The title of this 2012 special implies country star Blake Shelton will be dabbling in some X-rated material, but as far as we can tell this is just another generic star-filled concert with a couple “edgy” comedy bits thrown in.
The Shop Around The Corner (TCM, 8 p.m.): This 1940 film would later get reworked as the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-com You’ve Got Mail. In this version (itself based on a Hungarian play) Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan play bickering co-workers who unknowingly exchange letters (and fall in love) thanks to a lonely-hearts ad.
Scrooged (ABC Family, 9 p.m.): Get a head start on your Christmas Carol remakes BINGO card with Bill Murray’s take on the classic Charles Dickens tale.
Arrow: In a Flash, Arrow reaches its midseason finale. The Christmas-themed episode delivered guest appearances from Ra’s Al Ghul, Nyssa Al Ghul, Dinah Lance, and Ray Palmer. Alasdair Wilkins unwraps (and unpacks) all the drama in his review.