Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Showtime finales keep terrorists and sex researchers from ruining your good, clean, family holiday

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, December 15. All times are Eastern.


Homeland/Masters Of Sex  (Showtime, 9 p.m./10 p.m.): Showtime recognizes that the end of the year is an important time to retreat from the hectic and the everyday. As the days get colder and the nights get longer, families gather near, and they probably don’t need the added distractions of Homeland and Masters Of Sex. And so Mathison and Brody and Masters and Johnson take their seasonal leave tonight, so you can turn your mind to the important things—like arguing with your parents about the trajectory of Homeland’s third season. Todd VanDerWerff and Sonia Saraiya will keep arguing regardless.



Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): Peter Pan looks to reign terror upon the citizens of Storybrooke, presumably not through a rendition of “I’ve Gotta Crow.” Gwen Ihnat knows that’s more of an NBC Peter Pan thing.

Survivor (CBS, 8 p.m.): Once a season, Survivor throws your Sunday What’s On Tonight correspondent for a loop by staging its two-hour finale away from its regular Wednesday roost. So we’re a bit scrambled here, but not as much as Carrie Raisler will be if she takes on both Survivor and Revenge tonight.

The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): Springfield turns into a (nuclear) winter wonderland for the holidays. When it comes to Christmas songs about fantastical winter landscapes, Dennis Perkins is more of a “Marshmallow World” kind of guy.


Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): It’s a Christmas of confinement on Bobs Burgers, as the Belchers are stuck in a yuletide car chase while Teddy gets snared by the kids’ “Santa trap.” If that works, Pilot Viruet will be constructing her own Teddy trap later tonight.

Revenge (ABC, 9 p.m.): It’s wedding-bell bliss for Emily and Daniel—but can Emily Thorne ever experience anything remotely close to bliss? Carrie Raisler doesn’t think so—at least not until Emily finally gets her REEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEEEEEEEEENGE!


Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): Summaries of this episode all but do an old-timey song-and-dance routine around Brian’s inevitable resurrection, so let’s just assume it’s going to happen and put this long, national nightmare behind us. Eric Thurm just wants to get back to living a normal life, people!

Treme (HBO, 9 p.m.): Antoine takes some extra work on a film set, entering the exciting world of Louisiana’s post-Katrina, tax-incentive-bolstered film industry. For more information on the Louisiana Office of Film & Television, contact your local Phil Dyess-Nugent.


Psych (USA, 9 p.m.): Overture! / Cut the lights! / This is it! / The Psych of Psychs / No more rehearsing these musical parts / They know every part by heart / Overture! / Cut the lights! / This is it! / They’ll wink and gibe / And oh what gibes they’ll pitch / On with the show, Kevin McFarland

American Dad (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Saint Nicholas’ demonic companion Krampus pays the Smiths a visit—and makes off with Steve in the process. “Better than Belsnickel,” thinks Kevin McFarland.


Getting On (HBO, 10 p.m.): The “Make Someone Happy” initiative is endangered by some proposed activities for the residents—which threatens to make DiDi not happy. Sonia Saraiya, meanwhile, is just happy she gets to watch another episode of this show before it shuffles off into that good night.


Doctor Who (1 p.m.): Simon Pegg realizes a lifelong dream by playing the guest star in the first of this week’s episodes, “The Long Game.” And Alasdair Wilkins realizes his own lifelong dream by remembering that Pegg is in that episode!



Treehouse Masters (Discovery, 8 p.m.): The master treehouse craftsfolk of Nelson Treehouse And Supply receive a Christmas assignment. Now, What’s On Tonight are no treehouse masters ourselves, but do you really want to be hanging out in a lofted, semi-exposed structure in the dead of December?


Cutthroat Kitchen (Food Network, 10 p.m.): Alton Brown’s insane followup to Good Eats begins its second season by tasking one chef with cooking an entire meal with an iron. You’re a certified genius and a goddamn hero, Alton Brown.

Total Divas (E!, 10 p.m.): We noticed Pilot Viruet tweeting about this WWE-adjacent reality show a few weeks back, and asked if she was interested in reviewing the finale. She accepted the invitation, and now there will be a review of Total Divas on The A.V. Club. Because that’s how things get done around here: Through polite conversation, rather than televised, microphoned challenges. (Though it would be pretty hilarious if your favorite TV Club writers took to the squared circle to deliver stern warnings to one another while menacingly pointing fingers.)


Uncovering Aliens (Animal Planet, 11 p.m.): If aliens are uncovered in this new series, how will we know that they’ve been legitimately uncovered? We’re not falling for that Mermaids: The Body Found nonsense all over again.

Jack Frost (AMC, 7 p.m.): Of the two films named Jack Frost released in the late ’90s, this is not the one where a serial killer inhabits the body of a snowman in order to terrorize a small town. Though images like this are their own kind of horrifying.


This Is 40 (Cinemax, 7:45 p.m.): And this is a notice that the most biting of Judd Apatow’s film comedies, the pseudo-sequel to Knocked Up, is airing on cable tonight.

Sunday Night Football: Bengals at Steelers (NBC, 8:20 p.m.): The Steelers nearly took last week’s game against the Dolphins with a five-lateral, 79-yard play. Maybe if they throw in one more toss, their Harlem Globetrotter shenanigans will actually best the Bengals.



Saturday Night Live (Saturday): John Goodman has now hosted SNL 13 times, equalling the number of episodes he would’ve been featured in if he was hired for the show’s ill-fated 1980-81 season. David Sims thinks that’s probably for the best.


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