What To Watch: 12/05/2021

You got to hand it to Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim, an icon who left this plane at 90 as relevant as he ever was. He got to attend an eagerly anticipated revival of his hit Company before he died, as well as knowing that the second movie version of his first hit musical, directed by another visionary Stephen, to be produced is already getting huge Oscar buzz. Tonight, ABC gives a grand behind the scenes tour of said film. Also on tap, we’ve got musical bios, the stalwart HBO line-up, two Walking Deads go into their break, and there’s a whole lot of Christmassing going on.

JASON’S PICK:
Something’s Coming: West Side Story [ABC, 7p]
As much as I want to deny it, both the cinephile and the inner theater kid in me are bursting at the seams for this remake of the Academy Award-winning 1961 film and one of Broadway’s best soundtracks ever (godspeed Mr. Sondheim). This ABC special documents the epic task of putting together a non-Marvel, non-DC spectacle in 2021. I’m here for any interviews of Rita Moreno as she flirts with winning Oscars for two different roles in the same movie 60 years apart.

BRAD’S PICK:
Mr. A & Mr. M: The A&M Records Story [Epix, 10p]
Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss founded the mega-successful A&M Records all the way back in 1962–both are still alive, by the way, each 86 years old. Between then and its eventual merging into Universal in 1998, the label put out albums by so so many superstars and scored #1 hits by The Carpenters, Styx, The Police, Janet Jackson, and others–not to mention a pair of chart toppers by Alpert himself (the only artist to have both a vocal and instrumental hits). This Epix two-part documentary features interviews with many artists as well as the founders themselves.

FIONA’S PICK:
Yellowjackets [Showtime, 10p]
The team continues to struggle for survival as they attempt to learn how to shoot guns to hunt for food. Meanwhile, in the present day, Nat searches for Travis’ suspected killer, Taissa navigates the aftermath of the attack ad, and Shauna’s flirtation with Adam continues. 

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • As most of our editors are New Yorkers–two of us born and raised in the city–we will defend the Rockefeller Center tree lighting as the main one, even if none of us would ever go near that insanity. However, if The National Christmas Tree Lighting is more your thing, well, we won’t judge… too harshly, anyway. At least this year, it will only be the usual level of tacky as opposed to Melania-level tacky–what was that shit anyway?
  • Also on CBS, Darren Criss hosts the 23rd Annual A Home for the Holidays event, which we are stunned to hear has been going on that long, but it’s also for the cause of promoting adoption–and not in the creepy way that those who wish to overturn Roe promote it.
  • These days when we hear a title with “queens” in it, we’re starting to expect it to involve drag, even if said show is brought to you by the Science Channel. Valley of the Queens is actually about the Egyptian land, the story behind it, and the archaeology that uncovered it. But then again, many non-screen scholars have contended that Nefertiti would dress in drag to rule the kingdom and her bust betrayed a face that was beat to the gods, so, um, slay on!
  • Kendall Roy did not come out of his gawdy to the absurd Big 4-0 party smelling sweet at all–in fact, he left early and ended up crying, swaddled in a blanket as his amazingly faithful girlfriend soothed him to sleep. But then no one in the Succession family looked too rosy after the garish disaster, with the stunning exception of Cousin Greg who instead of acting cocky after earning a date with a woman everyone mocked him for being way out of his league–and doing it in the most sweetly awkward way–simply enjoyed his win, even as Tom viciously lashed out at him. In tonight’s episode, the HBO show’s action moves from creepy club to opulent country estate as the richie riches try to find a way to be less broken. SPOILER ALERT: they will not!
  • On the rest of the HBO line-up, as the set of “Young Larry” becomes more contentious, Larry’s interest shifts to politics on the latest Curb Your Enthusiasm, and you can guess how that will go. And tensions have been rising among the women of Insecure, so it’s a good time for a girls’ night to bring the gang back together, okay?!
  • Walk on dead walkers as on Fear the Walking Dead, tensions are far beyond what a girls’ night out can relieve as Alicia seeks Morgan’s help in the mid-season finale. Similarly, on Walking Dead: The World Beyond, the living are just as dangerous as the dead as the show goes to sleep for the year.
  • Over at the Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex, it’s all yuletide, all the time, as on Lifetime, we’ve got My Favorite Christmas Melody, which is pretty much what you might expect (love sparked between musicians), but it’s got Mya, so that’s cool. And Hallmark brings you Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday which also looks pretty paint-by-numbers, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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