What To Watch: 12/03/2020

Dystopian nightmares and death cults — that’s what Christmas is for. Well, at least that’s what we Screen Scholars are shoving forth on this December 3. It’s a relatively quiet Thursday night of television, but there’s a wide array of options, even if many are a bit, well, niche. But, then, a lot of us are pretty damn niche.

JASON’S PICK:
The Commons [Sundance Now]
Straight out of the Australian interwebs, we’ve got this supernatural drama about a climate change ravaged world and the people who try to keep on keeping on. If all that bleakness does not draw you in, how about if you knew the lead was Joanne Froggett–who you might know better as the pluckily unflappable Anna Bates (nee Smith) of Downton Abbey? Well, it did for me.

BRAD’S PICK:
Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults [HBO Max]
The Heaven’s Gate cult was all over the news after the mass suicide of its members in the 90s, but in the years following has dropped off the cultural radar. As a result there is a lot of mystery surrounding who the really were. A new documentary series on HBO Max pulls back the curtain. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • Creepy grandma & grandpa up there kidnap a pregnant woman to install the soul of their dead grandson into her unborn child in Shudder original Anything For Jackson. Presumably, the grandson was named Jackson.
  • Given the 2020 we have all traveled through, it’s hard not to welcome a show that pits science against the scourge of CTs, although some of the theories examined in The Science Channel’s Conspiracies Decoded are of the less pernicious variety, such as the Shroud of Turin, disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and a Titanic one even we’d never heard of.
  • While we’d hoped the show Flipping Across America involved gymnasts or monkeys, turns out its about the business of buying, renovating, and re-selling houses for profit. We guess that it is on HGTV should have been the first hint. Also, the fact that it’s going into its second season. Alison Victoria hosts.
  • Call it the reverse of our soon-to-be-ex-President’s hit reality show (and doesn’t all of that feel good to say), Stylish with Jenna Lyons finds the fashion icon looking to hire six talented up-and-comers to join her in her newest venture. It’s on HBO Max.
  • After a couple days of very little new Christmas content, it’s once again a winter wonderland, and in the case of country superstar Carrie Underwood’s latest special [screenshot above], it’s quite literally one. My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood debuts on HBO Max today.
  • HBO Max also feeds the nostalgic part of us with some classic animation from Warner Brothers featuring its most famous cartoon creation for Bugs Bunny’s 24 Carrot Holiday Special. Ha, “24 carrot”! Doc, what is up, indeed!
  • With a title that’s a play on the title of the 62-year-old Brenda Lee song that’s crazily enough the #21 pop song in the country right now, Rocket Around The Christmas Tree tackles the science behind yuletide traditions, so no surprise it’s on Discovery.
  • In a true 1-in-10 situation for this TV round-up, Brazil’s Just Another Christmas follows a 40-something man who loathes Christmas is trapped in a time loop where he has to experience the same December 25 over and over and over and… what’s Portuguese for Ned Ryerson?

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