Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, December 18. All times are Eastern.
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.): For nine years Stephen Colbert has entertained us with ThreatDowns, Formidable Opponents, and both Tips of the Hat and Wags of Finger. But after an impressive run, the fictional political pundit hangs up his hat so that the non-fictional comedian who plays him can head for greener pastures over at The Late Show. Colbert won’t take over for David Letterman until late August or early September, which means there will be a long Colbert dry spell for the next few months. So be sure to soak in every minute of tonight’s series finale in which Colbert sits down with Grimmy, the grim reaper who has been haunting his set for the past few weeks. Vikram Murthi has been dutifully watching Colbert’s final run of shows, and he’ll report back on whether Grimmy turns out to be a surprise celebrity guest, Colbert himself, or a literal angel of death.
White Collar (USA, 9 p.m.): On any other week, the series finale of White Collar would easily have nabbed the “Top Pick” slot. But sadly, Stephen Colbert’s departure overshadows the departure of Matt Bomer and his fedoras. In “Au Revoir” Neal and Peter try to con the Pink Panthers and get away with a risky heist. The finale is reportedly “open ended” so dust off the White Collar fanfiction you started in the show’s heyday and craft a satisfying ending yourself.
Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.): Holmes and Watson team up with the NYPD to hunt a cop killer. According to CBS, Sherlock’s last case of the year is also his “biggest case” of the year. Myles McNutt thinks that timing sounds a little too convenient. Could CBS possibly be exaggerating to snag new viewers?!? Myles gets to the bottom of The Mystery Of The Hyperbolic Trailer and rounds out another calendar year of his excellent Elementary coverage.
Futurama (10 a.m.): Zack Handlen files his final Futurama review of the year (but don’t worry, he’ll be back after a short two-week holiday hiatus). This week, the show employs some timeless Animal House references in “Mars University” and some rather dated Ally McBeal references in “When Aliens Attack.”
Marco Polo (7 p.m.): Kyle Fowle continues his trek through this not-that-good Netflix original. The sixth episode, ”White Moon” isn’t the worst thing the show has done (hello “The Fourth Step”), but it is very boring. Thankfully, Kyle’s review is anything but boring as he breaks down Marco Polo’s biggest weaknesses and weighs in on the identity of the Blue Princess.
The tables are turned as The A.V. Club reveals the results of our 2014 Readers’ Poll. Did you agree that Hannibal was the best television show of 2014? Whose TV performances reigned supreme? And what was the worst show of the year? All that and more (plus, you know, questions about movies and music and stuff) is available now!
Thomas & Friends (PBS, 1:30 p.m.): TV has largely switched over to holiday mode and we recommend you do the same! Call in sick to work and sit around in your pajamas watching this Christmas-themed episode of Thomas & Friends instead.
The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014 (The CW, 8 p.m.): Just as the three wise men once delivered gifts to the newborn baby Jesus, so do Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams, and Charlie XCX deliver musical gifts to the CW audience in this concert.
People Magazine Awards (NBC, 9 p.m.): For those sick of television specials adorned with shiny Christmas baubles, check out this television special adorned with shiny celebrities instead. The likes of Jon Hamm, Kevin Hart, Michael Keaton, and Maroon 5 gather together to honor influential entertainment personalities. After two hours of celebrity self-congratulations, you’ll long for another Christmas-themed show.
Party Down South (CMT, 10 p.m.): Get an easy superiority complex by comparing your holiday traditions to those of the reality stars of Party Down South. In “Christmas Hangover” the original cast members celebrate the holidays with “family, friends, fried food, and overflowing drinks.”
Miracle On 34th Street (AMC, 8 p.m.): Though this 1947 film has strong ties to both Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was initially released in May in hopes of reaching a larger summer audience. So for those who crave authentic movie watching experiences, consider watching this one in a tasteful 1940s-style bathing suit.
The Santa Clause (ABC Family, 6:30 p.m.): Enjoy the film that confused a whole generation of children about the correct way to spell “Santa Claus.”
College Basketball: Connecticut vs. Duke (ESPN, 8 p.m.): The Connecticut Huskies face off against the Duke Blue Devils, which would be a lot more exciting had Connecticut not gotten off to such a disappointing start this season.
Survivor: Survivor wrapped up its 29th season last night, leaving the show in a panic about turning 30. Luckily Carrie Raisler was there to talk Survivor through this milestone and report back on the two-hour season finale.