Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, December 19, and Saturday, December 20. All times are Eastern.
Christmas In Washington (TNT, 8 p.m., Friday): Dwayne (Mr. The Rock) Johnson answers his country’s call to host the 33rd annual holiday concert at the rocking-est venue in the world—the National Building Museum! Still, Mr. The Rock is a walking charisma factory, there are performances by the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, Aloe Blacc, Darius Rucker, and Rita Ora. Oh, and the President will be there, perhaps to work up a reprise of “The Rock Obama.”
Wake Up Call (TNT, 9 p.m., Friday): Possibly too scared to ask Mr. The Rock to leave, TNT follows up with His Awesomeness hosting another episode of his reality show, where he motivates people not as clearly a superior specimen of humanity as he is. This week, he teaches a high school football coach with some bad habits that he should be more like Mr. The Rock. It’s advice we should all live by, really.
Marco Polo (Netflix, Friday): Kyle Fowle has been soldiering through this underwhelming historical series, one daily review at a time. With this penultimate episode, his end is in sight. Tune in (at least to Kyle’s reviews)—we owe him that much.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 p.m., Friday): David Kallison, LaToya Ferguson, and Emily L. Stephens have been triple-teaming this enduringly weird and wonderful faux talk show all season with their tag-team reviewing move set. But now they all enter the arena together for this week’s Christmas episode/ season finale, and a crosstalk on the entire season. CBB doesn’t stand a chance! But what’s this? The three musical comedy stars of The Lonely Island (Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, and Andy Samberg) are here to back up Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts! It’s gonna be a total slobberknocker! Taccone just hit Ferguson with Sir Couchley! Somebody ring the damn bell!
The Legend of Korra (12 p.m., Friday): According to Oliver Sava last week: “Next week, the two-part series finale. I am not ready.” Well, if we know Oliver, he’s more than ready to cap off his coverage of this epically enjoyable animated series. Well done, sir.
Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m., Saturday): Amy Adams is back for her second hosting stint. Dennis Perkins thinks it’s a shame all her lines will be drowned out by all the One Direction fans squealing in Beatlemania-esque delight all through the show. Meanwhile, the cast scrambles to see who can do passable James Franco and Seth Rogen impressions, and Lorne tries to decide if that Bobby Moynihan Kim Jong-un bit is racist or only kinda-racist.
Our formidable force of film critics have huddled, scrummed, and otherwise hashed out their differences to gift us all with their definitive picks for the best 20 films of 2014 and the best film characters of 2014. (Don’t worry, there’s plenty of hearty disagreement in the individual ballots.) Then, the rest of us get in on the great holiday tradition of sniping at others’ hard work with our picks for the best movies of 2014 that didn’t end up on the final list. And, keeping that good cheer flowing, Zack Handlen revisits the slashing goodness of the original Black Christmas.
NBA Basketball: Portland at San Antonio (ESPN, 8 p.m., Friday): The Trail Blazers are good at basketball. So are the Spurs. Therefore, this should be a good game of basketball. That just seems to make sense.
Muppets Most Wanted (Starz, 8 p.m., Friday): Our own Jesse Hassenger shocked the world by naming this Muppet sequel as his #3 movie of 2014. Wanna fight, Jesse? Well, we wouldn’t advise that (for any number of reasons), but you’d better tune in and watch it here, take some notes, and come prepared, son.
The Birthday Boys (IFC, 11:30 p.m., Friday): After a great episode last week (a full-length version of Ben Hamish’s Starwars would be great for next season, you bastards!), the Boys wrap up their second season by reliving their childhoods alongside 80s teen icon Corey Feldman. LaToya Ferguson, checking on on the last episode, is absolutely sure they know what they’re doing.
The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:37 a.m., Saturday): Tune in to see the last Late Late Show ever—until James Corden takes up the hosting duties in March. Jay Leno is Craig’s final guest. But Caroline Siede, stopping by for the finale with a healthy supply of hankies (for both sad and happy tears) says you should watch anyway.
College Football: Utah vs. Colorado State (ABC, 3:30 p.m., Saturday): In the least-lesser of the several bowl games today, the one ranked team is #22 Utah, vying with the C. State Rams for the venerated title of Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl champion.
Thursday Night Football Double Header: Eagles at The Washington Team (NFL Network, 4:30 p.m., Saturday) & Chargers at 49ers (8 p.m., CBS, Saturday): This Week In NFL Scheduling: A Playlet: “Wait, ‘Thursday Night Football’—on a Saturday? And there are two games this week?” “It’s football. Don’t overthink it.” And…curtain.
Back To Christmas (Ion, 9 p.m., Saturday): Another holiday TV movie—this time a lonely woman meets a mysterious stranger who transports her back in time before the failed engagement that made her all lonely in the first place.
Christmas Icetastrophe (Syfy, 9 p.m., Saturday): Syfy continues to wham random nouns together and make movies from the pieces, this time about a mysterious force that causes an entire town to start freezing over with CGI ice crystals. Damn you, Back To Christmas! We warned you about messing with the Christmas timestream and now you froze it all to hell! You maniacs! You lonely, lonely maniacs!
Atlantis (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): Jason tries to save Ariadne. Someone asks, “Is the tide higher today than yesterday?” Someone responds, “Maybe. Sure hope it’s not one o’ those icetastrophes—that’d be a disaster.”
The Missing (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): In both the past and the present, that kid is still missing, as this solid British thriller series frantically searches on.
Transporter: The Series (TNT, 10 p.m., Saturday): In this Christmas-themed episode, Frank gives up his violent ways and turns his transporting skills to delivering presents to orphan children. No, not really—Frank transports a singer and battles some gangsters—but it’d be a nice change of pace, don’t you think?
Ascension: Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer is back in space in this Syfy sci-fi miniseries about a 1960s-era mission to send people into space for odd reasons. Alasdair Wilkins went all B-minus on it, but he does have this to say about the Mad Men-in-space premise:
As a one-off miniseries, Ascension must at least earn some points for sheer audacity. This is an oddity, but it has just enough new to offer to compensate for the ways in which it is all too frustratingly familiar.