We’ve often been reminded it’s not TV, it’s HBO. It’s a cute phrase, but it’s on a screen in our homes and provides TV shows and movies at appointed times–and has been doing so since before any of our editors, even Jason, was alive. It’s TV. But it’s certainly the location for some of the best TV there is, and they should be happy for that. Half our rec’s come from their line-up today, so here goes.
Landscapers [HBO, 9p]
David Thewlis, looking significantly less alluring than usual, and Olivia Colman, who can star in anything as far as we’re concerned, are a “seemingly ordinary British couple” who find themselves in a “bit of trouble” when two bodies are found in their Nottingham garden. This miniseries appears riveting, though I acknowledge that as an unmarried woman (with no bodies in the garden, despite the promises of my Tinder bio), I can fantasize about less strife in this situation and really take in the bumbling mishaps of Colman and Thewlis.
The Forever Prisoner [HBO, 10p]
Closing Guantanamo has been an albatross around the neck of every President–well, every Democratic president… the Republicans would just as soon let it stay. Terrorism is an existential threat to democracy, but can we sacrifice our values and belief systems–can we torture and deny trials–and still call ourselves a democracy. Furthermore, is torture even reliable. Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney examines the case of Abu Zubayda, a so-called “high value” al Qaeda prisoner who has been interrogated and shuffled around the extralegal system and essentially buried in Guantanamo to be released never. It’s a complex case and should make for a fascinating movie.
Six directors, including the amazing David Fincher, look at the importance of great films and what makes them great. If you’re a film lover like me, you should be all over this.
Wakefield [Showtime, 9p]
Things come to a head at Renuka’s wedding as Nik continues to piece together his disjointed memories of their brother’s death. We have watched Nik’s mental health deteriorate throughout this season and I suspect in the finale things will take a turn for the worse.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- When TV Guide’s Matt Roush tells you not to underestimate a show, as he has with Spectrum’s Joe Pickett, it’s a good idea to do (or not do) just that. The modern day Western police drama/thriller stars Michael Dorman in the titular role and debuts tonight.
- Essayist David Sedaris’ “6 To 8 Black Men” is a hilarious look at how different cultures have different, and often violent and bizarre, twists on the same Santa myth (and how ours is just as ridiculous). The new Netflix holiday movie David and the Elves gives us some insight into the Polish tradition where an extra dinner place is set for the “Visitor.” Our young hero David is sad that said visitor never shows, but will something different and magical happen this season? We’re guessing yes, but we’ll see.
- Two enemies inherit a vineyard from their uncle and stepdad, respectfully, in the New Zealand comedy Under the Vines–the only problem: the wine is terrible. Also, they hate each other. While that sounds like a zany comedy, its trailer and write-ups hint at a softer core a la Schitt’s Creek.
- While VH1’s A Hip Hop Family Christmas may sound like a concert, it’s actually a movie produced by Jamie Foxx, but it does star some favorite stars from hip-hop history including MC Lyte, Redman, and Ne-Yo.
- Michale Bublé’s Christmas in the City on NBC is indeed a variety show hosted by the talented jazz(?) vocalist joined to sing jaunty carols with everyone from Camila Carbelo, Ted Lasso‘s Hannah Waddingham and Kermit the Frog.
- It’s relatively quiet in the Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex, but Lifetime does treat us to Secretly Santa, where our heroes Miranda and Paul are busy business rivals who had never met until they were both Santas at a party and have sex before finding out they have to work together. What a relateable story! We hate when that happens?