Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, December 17. All times are Eastern.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): Of the many, many tie-ins associated with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sheldon Cooper losing his virginity might be the most unexpected of all. Yet that’s how The Big Bang Theory is marking the momentous return of the sci-fi franchise in tonight’s winter finale. Forced to choose between seeing the new Star Wars movie or spending some “special” time with Amy on her birthday, Sheldon turns to his own personal Obi-Wan, Professor Proton (Bob Newhart), for advice. From there—at least according to the promos—Sheldon’s “force awakens.” Meanwhile, Leonard, Howard, and Raj actually do get a chance to check out the new Star Wars film (just a few hours before real-life fans) with a famous Star Trek veteran in tow. Kyle Fowle hopes the force is with all of them.
Jessica Jones (Netflix, 10 a.m.): To its credit, it took Jessica Jones nine whole episodes before it utilized the “villain in a glass cage” trope. In “AKA Sin Bin” Jessica finally gets a chance to turn the tables on Kilgrave after knocking him out last episode. With Kilgrave finally in her clutches, Oliver Sava is positive that the last four episodes are going to center on Jessica and her friends celebrating their victory with nothing bad happening to any of them.
Luther (BBC America, 9 p.m.): Break out your best British accents because “Lufer” is back! Idris Elba returns to TV in a nearly three-hour special event that sees Detective John Luther return to the police force to stop a cannibalistic serial killer on the loose in London. Game Of Thrones’ Rose Leslie is also on hand to deliver her iconic line, “You known nothing John Luther.”
Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.): Sherlock’s father Morland agrees to go undercover as one of his son’s “Irregulars” in the Elementary winter finale. Genevieve Valentine hopes “The Cost Of Doing Business” isn’t too high.
Battlestar Galactica (11 a.m.): Battlestar Galactica gets even more twisted than usual in “The Farm” as Starbuck gains firsthand knowledge about the reproductive desires of the Cylons. Then in the first half of “Home,” Laura Roslin assembles a crack team to try to discover the path to Earth. Zack Handlen will be sure to leave the lights on so they can find it.
Nathan Rabin takes a look at the notorious TV movie KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park for a brand new My World Of Flops:
So KISS made a vehicle too cheesy and dumb even for a KISS project, which is remarkable when you consider that proud stupidity and cornball excess have long been core components of the band’s brand. In its tackiness, its crass opportunism, its low-budget B-movie drive-in vibe, KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park isn’t remotely off-brand for KISS, which may be why it has accomplished the impossible and proved an embarrassment for a band devoid of shame.
SuperMansion (Crackle, 3 a.m.): This stop-motion animated superhero satire wraps up its first season with an episode titled “Lex As A Weapon.” We’re going to take a wild guess that it features Lex as a weapon.
Inside The Actors Studio (Bravo, 8 p.m.): Steve Carell stops by the Actors Studio for a conversation that’s being billed as both “hilarious and heartwarming.” He chats with James Lipton about his early career at Second City, his time on The Office, and his robust film career.
Mom (CBS, 9 p.m.): Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer returns to Mom just in time for the holidays. Elsewhere Bonnie and Christy attend a sober holiday dance and apparently this happens:
Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People Of 2015 (ABC, 9:30 p.m.): Barbara Walters thinks Bradley Cooper is one of the 10 most fascinating people of 2015, which probably tells you all you need to know about this interview special.
Haven (SyFy, 10 p.m.): This under-the-radar SyFy series bows out after five seasons of sci-fi storytelling. The two-hour series finale will hopefully wrap up all those loose ends Haven fans have been wondering about for years.
Running Wild With Bear Grylls (NBC, 10 p.m.): President Barack Obama is the latest famous face to join Bear Grylls on an outdoor adventure. While we’re not sure anything can top Kate Winslet’s Titanic homage from her Running Wild episode, it’s worth taking note anytime a sitting president pops up on a reality show. The whole thing is centered on Obama’s push for climate change awareness so he and Grylls visit the disappearing Exit Glacier before enjoying some wild salmon and s’mores.
The Polar Express (ABC Family, 6:30 p.m.): Terrify your kids (or yourself) with this nightmarish CGI adventure.
Babes In Toyland (TCM, 10 p.m.): This 1961 Walt Disney Christmas musical stars Ray Bolger as the villainous Barnaby and Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands as the two lovebirds he harasses.
Hallmark Christmas Corner
Each week leading up to Christmas we’ll highlight one of Hallmark’s dumbest sounding made-for-TV holiday movies.
On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas (Hallmark, 8 p.m.): “A woman creates 12 gifts to help her longtime crush rediscover the joy of Christmas, but she becomes torn when her boss wants her to unmask her Secret Santa identity and write a story about this.” What a totally relatable Christmas dilemma!
PBA Bowling: World Championship (ESPN, 7 p.m.): Break up the monotony of basketball/football season with this professional bowling championship.
Survivor: Survivor wrapped up its 31st season last night with a three-hour finale, and Carrie Raisler was on hand to document every crazy twist and turn.