Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, December 10. All times are Eastern.
Nashville (ABC, 10 p.m.): Right now, shows are either going on winter hiatus or randomly coming back from weeks off, at odds to the trends of the rest of television. Despite taking a break itself, “at odds” might be the perfect way to describe, well, odd season of Nashville. Gunnar suddenly has a child, thanks to the daughter from Spy Kids. Teddy (who is still a character) is living an even more creepy version of Pretty Woman. Rayna is working triple time to undo all Connie Britton’s good work on Friday Night Lights, Spin City, and that one episode of Life As We Know It where she played Kelly Osbourne’s step-mother. Scarlett has declared a war on black people, both by having a Mystical Negro homeless friend and stealing her black best friend’s job. Laura Benanti’s character hasn’t gone all Single White Female on Rayna yet, but keep your fingers crossed. The only things that remain constant are Deacon’s moping, Luke Wheeler’s cowboy hats, Juliette and Avery being the best characters on this show, and Will Lexington (unfortunately) not covering any Rooney songs.
In this winter finale, Luke and Rayna get closer and closer to their doomed wedding while Teddy uses his Mayoral powers to find his prostitute soulmate. Avery “makes an unexpected decision,” which, let’s face it, is probably to propose to Juliette, the mother of his unborn child. There’s no mention of whether on not Maddie continues to be a little brat, but much like The Legend Of Scarlett’s Homeless Guy, just because it doesn’t always show up onscreen doesn’t mean the show’s not still doing it. Gwen Ihnat will try to make sense of all of this.
Arrow (The CW, 8 p.m.): Arrow chooses the more sensible (although still very much over-the-top) winter finale option, with guest stars galore: Ra’s Al Ghul, Nyssa Al Ghul, Dinah Lance, and Ray Palmer. Plus, it looks like the mystery of Sara Lance’s murder will finally be coming to an end, with Ra’s Al Ghul giving Oliver 48 hours to find Sara’s killer before the League of Assassins starts their own official investigation. Of course, “official investigation” in that instance translates more to “killing the citizens of Starling City.” Alasdair Wilkins was just hoping they’d all have a White Elephant/Yankee Swap situation to figure out who did what.
Modern Family (ABC, 9 p.m.): The forever young Haley Dunphy is turning 21! That’s right, y’all—it’s “Haley’s 21st Birthday,” and it’s the last new Modern Family episode of 2014. There’s really only one question to ask about such an important event: How will the Dunphys traumatize Alex “Jan Brady” Dunphy in this episode? Joshua Alston has been working on a list of possible scenarios, and right now, it looks like a moat full of alligators at the top spot.
Kingdom (DirecTV, 9 p.m.): And now for the first season finale of the MMA family drama Kingdom, with the episode “King Beast.” It’s fight night, with everyone rooting for Ryan to get back on top of the world. The episode preview video breaks it all down: “The Fights. The Family. The Finale.” But where’s the shoehorned Christmas theme to round the episode out?
The Game (BBC America, 10 p.m.): Cold War espionage series The Game is also having its first season finale tonight. The clock in ticking for MI5 “to piece the puzzle together and avert disaster.” The KGB bombing and the mole’s confession were just the beginning, and— Again, what’s with the lack of holiday cheer, The Game? There was still Christmas during the Cold War.
Regular coverage (that takes the road most holiday-based)
Black-ish (ABC, 9:30 p.m)
South Park (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.)
Key & Peele (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.)
Regular coverage (that will not go gentle into that winter hiatus)
Survivor (CBS, 8 p.m.)
The 100 (The CW, 9 p.m.)
Top Chef (Bravo, 10 p.m.)
American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX, 10 p.m.)
TV Club Classic
Lost (Classic) (1 p.m.): It’s the Lost season two finale, Charlie Brown! Myles McNutt will of course be around to discuss episodes 23 and 24 of the season, “Live Together, Die Alone.” This might be a spoiler, but: Despite how strange the island is, Santa Claus never shows up. What’s up with that?
Elsewhere in TV Club
Sean O’Neal doesn’t have 20 Questions for Mystery Science Theater’s Joel Hodgson. He doesn’t even have 21 Questions for Mystery Science Theater’s Joel Hodgson. What he does have, however, are 11 Questions—the perfect number—for Mystery Science Theater’s Joel Hodgson at 10 a.m. Get a pot of coffee, eat some cold breakfast pizza, and just enjoy the power of the question and answer format.
Also, for The A.V. Club’s 12 Days Of Non-Denominational Winter Holidays feature, Erik Adams talks about a better cat-based Christmas special than Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, A Garfield Christmas. This is another 10 a.m. piece, so if you’re not already having the cold breakfast pizza, how about some nice breakfast lasagna? That’s what the holidays are all about, really.
Then, last but neither least nor chronologically last is the first part of The A.V. Club’s list of the best TV shows of 2014. Who’s making the grade? Whose presence on the list is an affront to quality television? What do we all have to do to make Too Many Cooks the reigning, defending champion of television? Read and find out.
What else is on?
Melissa & Joey (ABC Family, 8 p.m.) / Baby Daddy (ABC Family, 8:30 p.m.): If the Halloween episodes of ABC Family’s hit sitcoms weren’t enough holiday laughs (performed in front of a live studio audience) for you, then have no fear. There are now Christmas episodes of Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy. It used to be that once a show went on hiatus, it just went on hiatus. But then how would you know how funny the characters’ holidays were? Exactly. You wouldn’t and you would die a little inside because of that. First up, there’s “A Melanie & Joshiah Christmas,” which unfortunately doesn’t have Mel capitalizing off of one of her more popular television shows. There is a tale about a “stable boy” that serves as an allegory for her and Joe’s relationship, though. Then, in “It’s A Wonderful Emma,” Ben wishes that Christmas didn’t exist…and his wish is granted! Apparently the show decided to get really dark with its otherwise ridiculously chipper lead this year.
Alright, that’s enough Christmas cheer
The Mysteries Of Laura (NBC, 8 p.m.): Laura is back, ready to show us all what middle-aged women can do, even if at first people think they can’t do it. This week, a fertility doctor goes missing at the horse races, and Laura’s terrible children that she drugged in the pilot are accused of bullying at their Tae Kwon Do class. According to the episode description, “a group of nosy mothers” take offense to the latter. Obviously they’re nothing more than “nosy,” because as Laura will teach us all, a middle-aged woman both be a kind of terrible cop and a really terrible mother to two demon spawn. Yes they can! Yes they can! Yes they can! As for that horse race/fertility plot, well, you can guess how those can be turned into things middle-aged women can do.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, 9 p.m.): In this 16th season episode of Law & Order: SVU, there’s a serial rapist that strikes in areas where there are minimal rape kits. One of these places is Atlanta, where SVU Chief Patton (Harry Hamlin) is in charge and, whoa boy, he is not handling any of this well. Also, Chief Dodds (Peter Gallagher) is breathing down Olivia’s neck for not solving this case in less than an hour. This is probably the worst time to ask this, but can we please get a Law & Order: SVU: Atlanta (or any city that requires both Harry Hamlin and Peter Gallagher’s combined assistance) spin-off cooking? NCIS is spinning things off left and right, and its original show was JAG. JAG! There’s no reason more Law & Order spin-offs shouldn’t have that type of success. Wait, never mind. It’s on NBC. On second thought, just leave your favorite JAG moments in the comments instead.
Stalker (CBS, 10 p.m.): Hey, what’s the Stalker crew up to tonight? “A famous athlete’s estranged wife is stalked after naming names in a tell-all memoir…Also, Beth finally reveals the painful details of her past.” Not this week, Stalker. Not this week.
Chicago P.D. (NBC, 10 p.m.): What’s the crossover between people who watched Greek and people who watch Chicago P.D.? Wherever you are, you’ll probably want to know that Casey Cartwright herself, Spencer Grammer, is in this week’s episode. She’s playing Jenn Cassidy, Officer Roman’s ex-partner who broke his heart (and made him hate ever having a woman for partner) by not being not that into him. That should be fun! Also, there’s a hostage situation at Olinsky’s house. That doesn’t look like it has any Greek crossover, but there should be at least one mention of cop shenanigans when one brings up Chicago P.D.
Two Weeks Notice (USA, 6 p.m.) / Notting Hill (Ovation, 7 p.m.): Pick your Hugh Grant poison. Sure, it’s easy to just throw Love, Actually out there, given the season, and call it a day, but no one ever said What’s On Tonight decision-making was easy. Do you go with Sandra or Julia? Do you go with America or Britain? What do you choose? Do you not have a DVR or either one of these movies on DVD?
NHL Hockey: Maple Leafs at Red Wings (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.): This is the first of two meetings this week for the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings. Last month, Toronto beat Detroit 4-1. Will the Red Wings get their revenge tonight? If not, that’s probably going to be kind of awkward and bad for team morale. Especially if they lose again on Saturday, you know? Aww, Detroit.
Lucha Underground (El Rey, 8 p.m.): As this has become a weekly fixture on Wednesday’s What’s On Tonights, I’ll also allow it to be the place where we say: “So. CM Punk, huh?” It’s a shame we won’t see the Chick Magnet himself in Lucha Underground, but that’s alright, because Lucha Underground is where it’s at, regardless. This week’s main event is an uninterrupted 25-minute “The Top of the Ladder” match, with Prince Puma, Johnny Mundo, and Big Ryck going head-to-head (-to-head) to retrieve Dario Cueto’s briefcase prize, filled with $100,000 in cash. Let us again thank Lucha Underground for being the only mainstream wrestling program (besides NXT) that just “gets” it.
In case you missed it
The Mindy Project: At least one show knows how to take on the season head first. This week’s episode of The Mindy Project is simply titled “Christmas,” an episode that Gwen Ihnat gives an A- and says makes the series “three-for-three within the tricky category of holiday episodes.”