What To Watch: 12/12/2020

Back once more with the wallop in the score, it’s Screen Scholars. And it’s a Saturday which is usually a blah night for new TV and streaming, but that not the case this Saturday. It’s a great night for music and Christmas–and in one case, the two kind of intersect, at least in the set decoration. The Bee Gees were so good at doing disco music that it unfortunately had the unintended side effect of branding them that Saturday Night Fever band, despite the three Gibb brothers already having a decades worth of legacy by 1977 as one of the best rock bands out there. After 1980, the band kept releasing great music, but only had one top ten hit (1989’s “One“) and were regarded as somewhat of a relic of a reviled musical period. And their disco era stuff was no joke either–“Tragedy” anyone? And it’s been so overplayed over the years, it’s easy to forget that “Stayin’ Alive” is a standard for a goddamn reason. Ooh, it just makes us so… anyway! There’s also Springsteen playing live from New York on Saturday night, Lifetime rolls out an xmas movie with an LGBTQ+ theme that also features everyone’s favorite Nanny as a meddling mom, and Navani reminds us to circle back for a Netflix Christmas special we missed this week, an admission made sadder in that it may be a critically beloved show’s final episode.

BRAD’S PICK:
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart [HBO, 8p]
Frank Marshall’s new documentary on The Bee Gees (with title taken from their first #1 hit: “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart“) examines the iOS and downs of the brothers Gibb and the impact they’ve had on people like Chris Martin, Justin Timberlake and the Jonas Brothers. No mention of whether they will talk about crazy cool medallions. Seriously though, The Bee Gees have a complicated history and an incredible career that has plenty fertile ground for a film.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
The Christmas Setup [Lifetime, 8p]
Have I been begging the networks for more LGBTQ holiday films for almost a decade? I have! Are we getting at least two this year? WE ARE! A (BIG CITY?) lawyer is reunited with his high school crush via his mom in Lifetime’s attempt to quell my demands.

NAVANI’S PICK:
Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love (Christmas Special) [Netflix, released 12/9]
In this final installment of the series (it was recently canceled) Ashley wraps things up with a classic Charles Dickens “Dream of Christmas Future” trope. It’s a Gen-Z spin on another trope: the old “Not Appreciating Christmas” one. At a holiday party, Ashley bumps her head. While unconscious, she gets a glimpse of what her dismal future could look like with Tio, Tad, Stick and Brooke if they don’t make time for each other (and some Christmas spirit) now. Warm and fuzzy feels ensue. I’m gonna miss this show that allowed us to envision a Latina STEM genius and give us an equal amount of teenage angst. To quote Julia Roberts, “BIG MISTAKE NETFLIX, HUGE.” Looking forward to what’s next for Paulina Chávez as I’m sure this is just the beginning.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • SNL calls you by your name before taking a run (as they were born to do) through the Badlands as the second of three December episodes features host Timothee Chalomet with musical gasp, we mean guest, Bruce Springsteen. We’ll show ourselves out.
  • …After we finish this column. BBC has an episode of something called Baby Chimp Rescue and we don’t think we need to say anything more about that (honestly, they had us at “baby chimp.”
  • We’ll get to the rest of the Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas abbondanza, but Lifetime Movie Network has decided to zig while its TV kin zags with heart transplant horror thriller Pretty Little Dead Girl, which looks like it might actually be less distasteful than the title.
  • And so that leaves us at the holidays. Katherine let us know about Lifetime’s Christmas movie du jour. Over on Hallmark’s original channel, the main course is Cross Country Christmas and dare we say this one actually looks charming and boasts Rachel Leigh Cook in more of a cross between its usual fare and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles as her flight from NYC to Denver is grounded moments after bumping into (you guessed it) a handsome guy from her Colorado hometown. The pair then face misadventures as they stuggle to make it home for the holidays. Will they make it in time? Will they fall in love? Will snow drift gently upon a quaint heartland town? You’ll just have to tune in, won’t you? On Hallmark Movie Network, it’s A Glenbrooke Christmas where an heiress returns to her hometown to be loved for more than her money… wait, who is that wholesomely rugged fireman over there? Welp, that’s all for us. May your merry bells keep ringing Happy Holidays to you–well, until Newsmax does an expose on you, Bing Crosby, and the whole left wing for waging war on Christmas. Sigh, 38 days left.

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