Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

One Child returns home to China to set things right

Mardy Ma, Katie Leung (Sundance)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, December 5, and Saturday, December 6. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

One Child (Sundance, 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday): Sundance’s newest prestige miniseries (after this summer’s solid The Honorable Woman), is this wrenching-looking four-hour drama about a young Chinese woman (Harry Potter’s Cho Chang, Katie Leung), adopted into a British family, who answers her birth mother’s plea for help after the brother she never knew she had is arrested for murder. Our own Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is bracing herself for pointed critiques of the Chinese legal system, coupled with some emotional heavy lifting. She can handle it.

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Also noted

Constantine (NBC, 10 p.m., Friday): Sort of a good news/bad news situation for the ol’ Hellblazer this week. Sure, NBC announced they were stopping production after the show’s initial 13-episode order, effectively dooming it. But, hey, Brandon Nowalk thought last week’s episode was the best since the premiere, so… that’s something.

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Not, I repeat not an anti-NBC executive spell.

Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 p.m., Friday): Rob Corddry stops by to weird out with Scott and Reggie, which makes perfect sense. There’s also a report of an appearance by Jon Daly’s character Bill Cosby-Bukowski which has Emily L. Stephens kind of concerned. For a number of reasons.

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Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m., Saturday): After a week off, James Franco and Nicki Minaj storm Studio 8H to bring the twin juggernauts of high-energy rap and charm-laden dilettantism to the show. Dennis Perkins says you’ll have to tune in to decide who’s bringing what.

Regular coverage

The Legend of Korra (12 p.m., Friday)

TV Club Classic

The Twilight Zone (12 p.m., Saturday): Zack Handlen thinks he sees the end of the line approaching for his years of diligent Twilight Zone reviews with this week’s episodes “The Brain Center At Whipple’s” and “Come Wander With Us.” Little does he know that, once the last review is filed… he’ll be starting right back at the beginning. Forever and ever and ever.

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Elsewhere in TV Club

Year’s end approaches, meaning it’s time for you, the readers, to tell us how we did everything wrong and you’d do everything different and you’re also very attractive and smell nice and we’re so stupid and smelly! Yup, the A.V. Club Readers’ Polls are up and waiting for your votes! Come on and show us what fer’! (And then go back to yelling at us in the comments like you do every other goddamn day!) Then get all doubly-mad at our picks for the best comedy albums of the year! After you get all that out of your system, why not take a trip alongside Ignatiy Vishnevetsky in search of the legendary long-lost short film of Jean-Luc Godard. There may be a bullwhip involved. Possibly a couple o’ deathtraps. Nothing I.V. can’t handle. Then Katie Rife demands you Hear This—always a good idea when some classic Pixies is on the menu.

“But there is no catharsis, and at the end of the song the guitar bends upward but the singers remain shackled to the ground.”

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Damn, Katie—that sentence is good enough to be a classic Pixies lyric.

What else is on

The Eric Andre Show (Adult Swim, 12:15 a.m., Friday): According to the title of this episode (“The Hannibal Buress Show”), Andre’s co-host takes over this installment. Sounds like a win-win, either way.

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The Heart, She Holler (Adult Swim, 12:30 a.m., Friday & Saturday): Patton Oswalt and Amy Sedaris return to freak you right the hell out with two new episodes of the insanity comedy sinkhole that is Heartshe Holler.

If Amy Sedaris ever stops dressing up like this, the world dies.
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Haven (Syfy, 7 p.m., Friday): Eric Balfour’s Duke is possessed by The Troubles, finally bringing character and actor into perfect unlikability balance.

How Murray Saved Christmas (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): Jerry Stiller voices a grumpy deli owner forced to take over for Santa in this animated special based on the children’s book by Simpsons writer Mike Reiss. Sure, there are lots of talented voice actors involved (Billy West, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Kevin Michael Richardson, Tom Kenny), but really we only need one Murray to save Christmas. Christmas—already saved. Murray’s got this:

Grimm (NBC, 9 p.m., Friday): Even fairy tale monster world has Christmas, if the title “The Grimm Who Stole Christmas” is any indication. On that note, it’s time for our Grimm monster picture of the week!

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Nope. Not unsettling at all.

College Football: PAC-12 Championship Game: Arizona vs. Oregon (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday): Oregon’s only loss this season was to these selfsame Arizonans, so the fact that Oregon is favored by approximately a dozen points suggests a resentment that may erupt into some sort of physical confrontation between these two.

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A Very Grammy Christmas (CBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Okay, when I saw that CBS was airing something called A Very Grammy Christmas, I may have immediately Googled it to find out who was playing Grammy. (I thought Betty White, maybe Angela Lansbury.) Instead, Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5, and Ariana Grande are going to sing Christmas carols. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed.

Aren’t you?
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Z Nation (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): The survivors of that zombie plague that’s not the one on The Walking Dead finally reach California with the one person whose antibodies may hold the cure in the season one finale. Unfortunately for survivors, the ratings have stayed decent—so, probably no cure. Just guessing.

Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways (HBO, 11 p.m., Friday): Dave Grohl and the guys wrap up their eight-city marathon recording sessions, finishing their latest album in New York City. Way back at the beginning of the journey, Noel Murray said the combination of Grohl autobiography and city-by-city musical history tour was uneven but ultimately worthwhile. Last chance to make up your mind, Noel.

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The Birthday Boys (IFC, 11:30 p.m., Friday): In their new episode entitled “The U.S. Healthcare System,” the sketch comedy sophomores welcome guest Chris Elliot as an overworked proctologist—so get ready for extra subtle comedy.

College Football: SEC Championship: Alabama vs. Missouri (CBS, 4 p.m., Saturday): A #1 vs. a #16? Is that even legal?

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College Football: Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game: Florida State vs. Georgia Tech (ABC, 8p.m., Saturday): First off, being crowned “Dr. Pepper Champion” sounds awesome. Second, there’s always the chance that Jameis Winston will do something incredibly stupid. Third, this’ll probably be a pretty good football game.

College Football: Big Ten Championship Game: Wisconsin vs. Ohio State (Fox, 8:17 p.m., Saturday): That’s an oddly specific starting time. Is one of these states on double-secret Daylight Savings Time? Will that give them an advantage? Will anyone get sleepy? These are questions for the bookmakers.

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The Missing (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): The child—still missing. The parents—still very unhappy about it.

Atlantis (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): A royal wedding in Atlantis! Hey, why is the couple registered at Raft World?

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In case you missed it

Elementary: Myles McNutt was apprehensive about the idea of Sherlock and Watson playing parents. As it turns out, they’re pretty great at it—no kid of theirs is ever gonna get away with anything.

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