Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Monday, December 23. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

His Dark Materials (HBO, 9 p.m., first season finale): The first season of HBO and BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed fantasy trilogy has been a bit of a mixed bag. The cast’s performances—especially Ruth Wilson’s chilling portrayal of Mrs. Coulter—have been consistently great, but it can’t seem to overcome some clunky story beats. From Myles McNutt’s experts recap of last week’s episode:

Take, for example, the scene where Lyra and Roger reunite after her time with the armored bears. As Roger emerges from the cave, he doesn’t rush to embrace Lyra: instead, he spouts a bunch of exposition from a distance, before then sharing a moment with Lyra. It’s a bizarre staging of a scene that, if you invert those two events, becomes so much more logical: during their embrace, Roger excitedly tells her of the adventure he had in her absence, while she only cares that he’s okay. The show is filled with scenes like this where you feel like even a cursory set of notes could have dramatically improved the storytelling function of the scenes, as opposed to the scene’s cursory role in the story.

We’ll see if Jack Thorne and company can at least stick the landing when the first season comes to a close tonight. McNutt and Lisa Weidenfeld are on hand for our experts and newbies recaps, respectively.


Regular coverage

Wild card

The Price Is Right At Night: A Holiday Extravaganza With Seth Rogen (CBS, 8 p.m.): The second of two Price Is Right holiday specials—the first being Sunday’s The Price Is Right At Night: A Holiday Extravaganza With The Cast Of SEAL Team—Seth Rogen plays to benefit the Alzheimer’s nonprofit, Hilarity For Charity, he founded with his wife.

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