Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
"Halleloo"—it's <i>The A.V. Club</i>'s most anticipated TV of December

"Halleloo"—it's The A.V. Club's most anticipated TV of December

Photo: Elseworlds (Jack Rowand/TheCW), Springsteen On Broadway (Kevin Mazur/Netflix), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon), Graphic: Libby McGuire

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (and other winter solstice-adjacent holidays), both in stores and on our screens. This December, prepare to have your stockings stuffed and bedazzled with seasonally appropriate specials from Nailed It!, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. Of course, not all of these entries are tied to the Yuletide—we’re also looking forward to new seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Marvel’s Runaways, as well as the follow-up to this summer’s Steven Universe cliffhanger. So, have a seat next to the digital fireplace and check out the most-anticipated TV offerings for the month.

December 5

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season two

The second season of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s rat-a-tat period piece doesn’t quite hit the ground running like its Emmy-winning predecessor; a transatlantic season premiere looks as potentially divisive as Rory Gilmore’s adventures in grand theft nautical. But with a protagonist as buoyant as Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan, also decorated by various voting bodies), you’ll hardly notice. There’s some bothersome wheel-spinning through Midge’s stand-up hiccups and domestic woes (to say nothing of whatever the fuck’s up with her schmuck husband, Joel), but the season feels appropriately refreshed once the gang arrives in the Catskills. The borscht belt is as good a look on Mrs. Maisel as any other piece of the show’s impeccable production design, which always provides some covetable midcentury-modern marvel to gaze at while the supporting characters circle another narrative dead end. [Erik Adams]

December 7

The Nailed It! / RuPaul’s Drag Race / Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina / Schitt’s Creek holiday special extravaganza begins

December is replete with holiday-themed offerings, but we’ve cherry-picked the ones that’ll really put you in the spirit. Nailed It! kicks things off on December 7 with a Yuletide competition (and seven new episodes) that will make sure you never look at macaroni and glitter the same. Expect a much fiercer contest from RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular, as returning queens Shangela, Jasmine Masters, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Mayhem Miller, Eureka O’Hara, Sonique, and Trixie Mattel compete to become the first “Drag Race Xmas Queen.” (That should also whet your appetite for the new season of All Stars premiering later this month.) Then on December 14, bundle up and head to Greendale for Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale, with guest star McKenna Grace, who is fulfilling her destiny of playing a young Kiernan Shipka (er, Sabrina Spellman). Finally, Schitt’s Creek will put its perverse twist on the holiday special on December 19, with a very (Johnny, Moira, David, and Alexis) Rose Christmas party. [Danette Chavez]

December 9

DC CW “Elseworlds” crossover

It seemed like it would be tough for The CW’s superhero shows to top last year’s “Crisis On Earth-X” crossover event, which stretched for four hours and featured all of the characters from Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends Of Tomorrow teaming up to fight evil Nazi versions of themselves in a parallel universe, but the name of the new crossover alone is proof that The CW is still willing to go all out for these things. “Elseworlds” was the name given to DC Comics stories that took place outside of the normal canon and had some wild twist, and the Elseworlds crossover is embracing that by switching Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen with Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen—meaning Amell is now the Flash and Gustin is now the Green Arrow. The reason for that universal shake-up seems to have something to do with a doctor at Arkham Asylum and a supremely powerful cosmic being known as The Monitor, so Elseworlds will probably need all three of its hours to unpack the delightfully zany comic book weirdness. The Legends gang is sitting out this year, and they will be sorely missed, but Elseworlds will make up for their absence with the debut of Ruby Rose’s Batwoman—not to mention the return of Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman. [Sam Barsanti]

December 16

Springsteen On Broadway (Netflix)

The singer-songwriter and E Street Band leader’s acclaimed residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre is born to end its run in the middle of this month, but though it may die on the street (Broadway, that is) tonight (if tonight is December 15), it lives on in an everlasting list (your Netflix queue). In an intimate setting, against a spare backdrop, Springsteen tells stories from his life and career, shares the stage with bandmate and wife Patti Scialfa, and manages to work in a 15-song, discography-spanning set. If scalpers or geography prevented you from seeing the show in person, or even if you managed to come on up for the rising yourself, here’s your chance to catch the performance that’ll probably make The Boss an EGOT. [Erik Adams]

December 17

New episodes of Steven Universe (Cartoon Network)

Although “Diamond Days” sounds like a holiday sale at your local jeweler’s store, it’s actually a run of new Steven Universe episodes that kicks off December 17. When we last checked in with the Crystal Gems, Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond had crashed Sapphire and Ruby’s wedding. But that confrontation quickly turned to compromise in “Legs From Here To Homeworld,” the season-five episode that introduced Christine Ebersole as the fearsome and much speculated upon White Diamond. No, you didn’t miss that episode on Cartoon Network—it was screened exclusively at San Diego Comic-Con over the summer instead of on Cartoon Network. But you’ll have a chance to get caught up in “Diamond Days,” which sees Steven team up with the Homeworld Gems to cure the corrupted gems (like our personal favorite, Centipeetle/Nephrite). [Danette Chavez]

December 20

Timeless finale (NBC)

Paterson Joseph as Connor Mason, Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin, Claudia Doumit as Jiya, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan
Paterson Joseph as Connor Mason, Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin, Claudia Doumit as Jiya, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan
Photo: NBC

Though it took some time, Timeless eventually blended its many disparate elements—as our own Allison Shoemaker put it, at its best, the NBC sci-fi drama was “part time-travel adventure, part intrigue-filled spy show, part educational romp… with a dash of romance and a healthy smattering of dark, irreverent comedy.” Unfortunately, this balance was achieved just as the second and final season was winding down. But Clockblockers will get a final parting gift in the form of this two-hour finale. On December 20, the Time Team—which may or may not include Rufus at this point—rides again, across “three centuries and two continents,” according to producers Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke. There’s no official teaser yet, but Entertainment Weekly has several preview images, including some that reveal the exotic new locales, as well as on-set interviews. [Danette Chavez]

December 21

Marvel’s Runaways season two (Hulu)

Finally, we get to the fireworks factory. It took literally all of last season—right down to the concluding minutes of the finale—for Marvel’s teen-centric series to earn its title, as the six children of the villainous Pride realized they could no longer continue living in their respective homes, pretending not to know their parents were part of a mystical cabal bent on accruing power in Los Angeles. With the secret out in the open and our protagonists on the run, the show can start to embrace its superheroic potential with gusto, as the respective powers of the kids are now firmly established while they begin a new life on the streets, trying to avoid capture. Given season one devoted as much time to the parents as their offspring (a hallmark of co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who also created The O.C.), look for the second season to dedicate similar time to the adults’ frantic search for their children, which should lend an adrenaline-fueled pacing to the series as it begins its sophomore year—not that any of these kids will get to experience anything like a sophomore year of school ever again. [Alex McLevy]

December 23

Watership Down (Netflix)

It’s an animated miniseries about rabbits dealing with rabbit drama and going on rabbit adventures, but maybe don’t let kids watch this one alone—or maybe at all, depending on how easily traumatized they are. Based on Richard Adams’ iconic book of the same name, Netflix and the BBC’s Watership Down is a four-episode limited series event about the very real horrors and hardships that creatures endure in the wild, told from the perspective of a group of talking British bunnies. This latest adaptation will presumably be just as unflinching with its storytelling as the original novel and the memorable adaptation from ’78, but this one will add a whole new group—a warren, if you will—of famous voicing the rabbits: John Boyega, James McAvoy, Daniel Kaluuya, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Olivia Colman, and Peter Capaldi will all pop up at some point, and there will even be a new theme song from Sam Smith. It might not end up being a fun watch, but at least it’ll be dark and harrowing. [Sam Barsanti]