Christmas, music, Christmas music, baking, Christmas baking, (but no music baking as far as we can tell) rule this first day of December content. Oh, there’s also a bunch of vulgar stop-motion characters from the Rogen-iverse. Let’s start with an unlikely good sport whose the subject of an HBO documentary about the very nature of music and our attraction to it.
Listening to Kenny G [HBO, 8p]
Mild-mannered comedian/filmmaker Mike Birbiglia in multiple bits has compared telling jokes to jazz in that when it works, it’s brilliant, but “sometimes jazz sucks” and you can never truly know if you are Kenny G up on that stage. Turns out the saxophonist known for his schmaltzy pop tunes has a similar sense of humor about himself as this Penny Lane documentary from HBO’s “Music Box” series is getting considerable buzz as something truly special (the “Coltrane” of mediocre musician docs?) as the filmmaker examines the idea of what makes for “good” or “bad” music.
Queen of the Universe [Paramount+]
An international drag extravaganza featuring drag queens from all over the world competing in a live singing competition. No lipsycing allowed! I am looking forward to the spectacle!
Santa Inc. [HBO Max]
With Sarah Silverman as an elf and Seth Rogan as Santa, you can get a pretty good idea of where this Rankin/Bass-esque animated Christmas special is coming from. Also chipping in to save the season between gross out jokes are characters voiced by Maria Bamford, Gabourey Sibide, Craig Robinson and Cousin Greg himself Nicholas Braun, so that should be fun.
Baking It [Peacock]
What if NBC took Making It, its most gentle, wholesome show, and handed hosting duties to Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg, just in time for Christmas? NBC read my diary, because that’s exactly what’s streaming today, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s like an American Great British Bake Off and not a Paul Hollywood in sight! Oh, and the baker will get $50,000 and, I assume, limitless fame.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- If you love RuPaul’s Drag Race and/or love Hallmark Christmas flicks (or hatewatch them with a passion), you’ll be excited by the VH1 movie The Bitch Who Stole Christmas which throws every one of the channel’s tropes into a blender and populates the world with drag queens from the long running reality competition. That it’s not getting much promotion or play in a world notorious for overhyping everything drag is a bit of a red flag, but if “Jaymes Manfield as Delia von Whitewoman” does not intrigue you at least a little bit, then we’re not sure what this relationship is.
- More Hallmark Xmas movie tropes await you in a surprising spot–the Netflix holiday rom-com Single All the Way. Peter is tired of getting flack from his family for being unattached at Christmas dinner, so he convinces his best friend Nick to pose as his boyfriend; however, his mom has other ideas as she has set him up with a trainer at her gym named James. Drag also makes an appearance as Nick is amused at the mom’s “holiday-specific” drag name in the trailer. That mom is Kathy Nijimy, btw, so that’s a point in this movie’s favor.
- Then there’s the holiday horror film The Advent Calendar as Shudder, the streaming service for those who love frights, gets closer to its obvious goal of finding a scary movie for every possible thing that exists in the universe.
- If you long to hear “Tomorrow” tonight, you’re in luck as unless the creators of Annie Live! made a horrible mistake, newcomer Celina Smith, winner of a talent contest, will be belting that from a stage on NBC with a wonderful cast that includes Taraji P. Henson, Harry Connick, Jr., and Tituss Burgess.
- The three 30-something women of HBO Max’s Perfect Life continue in their quest to constantly reinvent themselves and as with the first season, it will surely lead to a flurry of misadventures and misunderstandings (and perfect understandings, too!).
- Netflix offers a pair of imports with The Coyotes, a Belgian thriller about a group of campers battling an outside force, and The Whole Truth, Korean nightmare fuel about a pair of siblings who meet secret grandparents after a tragic accident, but those grandparents have secrets hiding within the walls of their home.
- A girls night out turns into a murder mystery when the toxic male five women leave in a forest is found dead the next morning. The six-part Welsh series The Pact has been gathering solid reviews and starts on Sundance Now tonight.
- It’s not easy being Shaq. He’s 7-foot-2, has one of the most sought-after jobs in the country, untold wealth… oh, wait, it would seem to be quite easy being Shaq. Follow ex-NBA baller and current NBA TV analyst Shaquille O’Neal as he lives his best life as the third season of Shaq Life begins on TBS today.
- It’s December, so you can bet that either Lifetime or Hallmark has some new holiday movie for you to gawk at. In this case, it’s Lifetime, and they are revealing their less stalker-y side with the genteel-sounding A Christmas Village Romance. Novelist Diana and historian Carter, both Lifetime movie-level beautiful fall in love while saving the small town of Maple Creek.