This week’s finest exhibits and flicks: The Voice Finale, The Expanse Season 5
Are you done with your Christmas and Christmas shopping? Then reward yourself with a relaxing evening watching TV. Are you not done with Christmas / shopping yet? Then do it and reward yourself with a relaxing evening watching TV. Are you terrified of all the Christmas and holiday shopping that you haven’t even started and looking for something to help you put off? Then, um, watch TV. There are some great things on TV this week, and your mom will only be mad at you until mid-February for not giving her a present.
Our list of Editor’s Recommendations for the week of December 13-19 is below. But if that’s not enough and you’re looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, subscribe to our free spam-free “Watch Now” newsletter, which delivers the best TV shows straight to your inbox. You can also check out our extensive collection of recommendations or our list of suggestions for what to see next based on shows you already like. Together we’ll find something for you to see.
Special episode Sunday at 8 / 7c on Showtime
One of the best reality shows I’ve seen in the past few years is Showtime’s Couples Therapy, a fly-on-the-wall documentary about people seeking help in their relationships. The show’s unfiltered rawness sets it apart; Carefully placed cameras capture everything during therapy sessions to reveal insightful and familiar issues that we can all deal with. But what made it one of the best reality shows of 2019 was that it was also the life of therapist Dr. Orna Guralnik investigated as she grappled with carrying the luggage of the people she advised – including trips to her mentor, who served as her own therapy sessions. This is a once in a lifetime special where Orna talks to her couples in the middle of the pandemic where those couples are united. A second full season is yet to come and was likely filmed with the COVID hit, but this will be a nice bridge.
Premieres Tuesday on Netflix
The great thing about Netflix is that all sorts of gems are hidden if you just know which stones to flip over. The British-Canadian animated series Hilda is one of them, a cute children’s show based on the graphic novel that is full of fantasy and wonder at every turn. The title Hilda is a girl whose curiosity leads her to encounters with all sorts of creatures, from ghosts to trolls to gnomes, and she is accompanied by perhaps the cutest animal on TV, her pet Deerfox Twig (you heard me Baby Yoda!). This isn’t one of those shows that have four seasons a year to pump out content as quickly as possible. They are carried out with care. Season 1 came out in 2018.
Season finale part 1 Monday at 8 / 7c, part 2 Tuesday at 9 / 8c on NBC
Turn off those pesky Christmas carols outside and listen to some people with real whistles! The NBC Singing Competition closes season 19 with the five finalists singing for their lives in front of the jury and in America. The Monday night two-hour episode will show the final performances, while the Tuesday night episode will show the winner on live television and show performances by judges, former entrants and other “A-list” cast members (we have NBC’s word take it).
Season 5 Wednesday on Amazon Prime
I don’t know how often we have to say this, but if you’re into science fiction and don’t see The Expanse, you might want to rethink your life. The Amazon Prime series continues its highly anticipated fifth season, the penultimate of the series. Three episodes will be released on Wednesday before a weekly launch. This may make some viewers impatient, but they can use the extra time to go through all of this complex political thriller that happens to be set in space and on multiple planets. The big thing that needs to be done right now? The camouflaged asteroids on their way to Earth that Naomi’s son set in motion at the end of Season 4. From there it only gets more intense.
Series premiere Thursday on CBS All Access
Steven King’s acclaimed novel The Stand was turned into an ABC miniseries back in 1994, but that could also be the Stone Age. CBS streaming service CBS All Access is trying again after serious attempts to turn it into a movie franchise over the past decade. The story stays the same – a group of survivors make one last stand against evil in a post-apocalyptic world decimated by a plague – but the production and cast, which include James Marsden, Amber Heard, Whoopi Goldberg, Greg Kinnear and Alexander Skarsgard should be improved a lot. Only the first episode will be available this week. Every Thursday there are new episodes.
Season two finale on Friday on Disney +
It seems like the biggest show in the world has just come back for its second season, and here we are already saying goodbye. That happens with eight episode seasons, but the counterpoint is that shorter seasons contain a lot more story. That is certainly the case in season 2; Since the early standalone episodes (miss you, Timothy Olyphant!), The Mandalorian has fallen into a deep Star Wars lore that some people (* raise hands *) don’t really understand. But The Mandalorian remains the simplest television watch with its sensory tickling viewing experience, and there is no way we can go to the weekend without knowing whether our little grogu is in safe hands or not.
Ma Rainey’s black bottom
Debut on Netflix on Friday
Chadwick Boseman’s last film role was in this Netflix original based on the Tony nominated Broadway play written by Pulitzer winner August Wilson. That’s a lot of talent and it only gets better. Viola Davis plays Ma Rainey, a strong 1927 Chicago blues singer who holds a recording session to speak to her white manager about ownership of her music. Boseman plays a trumpeter in the recording session eager to break into the music business and sees Rainey’s fight as an opportunity for his own gain. This will be an electric film about race and musical possession, with powerful performances from Davis and Boseman.
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