What To Watch: 12/16/2021

HBO Max’s newest awaited series certainly hits close to home as it’s the adaptation of an Emily St. John Mendel novel about a pandemic. Given the current uptick in COVID cases, will the fictional show sync up with the real world post-apocalypse? Time will tell. The miniseries is not the only big-time pandemic show tonight as the Colorado town filled with cardboard cutouts has been taking on the subject for the last year. It’s not the only big time debut as Will Forte’s clueless secret agent/bomb disposer gets a third life on NBC’s streaming bird. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Station Eleven [HBO Max]
It’s too soon, honestly, for an “unprecedented times” miniseries. Adapted from Emily St. John Mandel’s acclaimed tome, this ten-episode series follows the survivors of the Georgia Flu. Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, Daniel Zovatto, David Wilmot, Matilda Lawler, Philippine Velge, Nabhaan Rizwan, Lori Petty, and Gael Garcìa Bernal star. (I always pictured Jean-Luc Picard as Arthur, but who am I to complain over a GGB casting?) 

BRAD’S PICK:
Macgruber [Peacock]
Movies based on SNL skits are tricky enough. A whole series based on one can be a Herculean task. How do you stretch a 5 minute sketch to fill a whole season of TV (especially when you’ve already done a feature film of said sketch)? If any skit can, MacGruber is at the top of the list. Will Forte has proven he can carry a series (Last Man On Earth), and the basis is a TV show anyway (MacGyver obviously) . Let’s see how many times you can blow up MacGruber! I’m rooting for you.

JASON’S PICK:
Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss [HBO, 8p]
Whatever you think about the state of modern hip-hop, Jarad Higgins was one of the more impressive MCs of the past decade. The young rapper balanced pop stardom with both street and indie cred before dying of a drug overdose in the middle of a raid of his Gulfstream jet. The man of “Lucid Dreams” was just 21. How he got to such highs and then the ultimate low should is certainly worth a documentary.

FIONA’S PICK:
Legacies [The CW, 9p]
Last week Hope’s ego led to her being body swapped. Can she get her body back before Lizzie comes after it with a Tribrid killing stake? After Josie’s time in the therapy box she realizes she needs to take a step away from the pressure of her legacy. Now she just needs to explain that to Finch. 

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • Oh my God, South Park has killed Kenny! Again! Those bastards! As with one of the long-running series’ best episodes when the show took on the Terry Schiavo controversy, Kenneth McCormack’s weekly (or at least at one point weekly) death is at the center of the latest special: South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID. As usual, it is on Comedy Central. Given Matt and Trey’s history of contrarianism and bothsidesing, we’ll see where they go with the humor and if some of it will be a bit too close to home and a bit off given that there actually quietly HAS BEEN a palpable rise in COVID cases in the past week.
  • In the British thriller series Close To Me, Danish language interpreter suffers a physical trauma followed by amnesia, and in addition to presumably not being able to be sure if the head on the door was a dream, there are other thrilling consequences give it is a thriller. The thrills take place on both Sundance Now and AMC+.
  • Just what are we capable of (and culpable for) after our minds shut off is at the center of the documentary Dead Asleep, about the brutal 2017 murder by Randy Herman of his friend and roommate Brooke Preston. Many signs point to his having been sleepwalking when he stabbed her 25 times. What’s even more frightening is how many similar cases we found when we googled to try to find out what year this happened. The documentary in on Hulu.
  • Firebite‘s got Australian vampires who would seem to be much scarier than New Zealander Taiki Watitit’s conjured in his nearby homeland (as well as the Island of Staten). The AMC+ show has a definite True Blood meets Mad Max vibe as the bitten and unbitten battle.
  • The residents of The Real Housewives of Miami‘s red substance of choice may be wine, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be brutal in their own way. The {shrug}th spin-off moves from Bravo to Peacock as it begins its fourth season.
  • It’s probably not all that hard to figure out what the contest is on the new HBO reality show Finding Magic Mike unless you are unfamiliar with the movie series of the same last two words.
  • Yesterday, the Argentine soccer/football legend and coach Diego Maradona, who died suddenly last year, was a plot point to a newly released scripted movie. The documentary Diego, The Last Goodbye puts Maradona front and center, chronicling his life, focusing on its final year. However, given the broken link, something may have happened on the way to its release, yet we can’t find any information about it being pushed back or canceled, so we figured we’d let you know in case it shows up later today.
  • Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good girl? Presumably the canines featured on The CW’s Dogs of the Year 2021–a show which could certainly prove a good antidote if the news and/or life in general is mentally crushing you right now.
  • The soap opera that’s been around longer than any of our editors have been alive (technically that could be applied to two active melodramas, but for Jason the home of Victor Newman is older only by a couple months) celebrates the holidays on Peacock with Days of Our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas.
  • In the LHV (Lifetime-Hallmark Vortex), Hallmark may have halted its Countdown to Christmas a few weeks early… (maybe?), but Lifetime keeps churning out a holiday movie a day. Tonight, it’s Christmas by Chance which is probably not the ghost of 1900s baseball player regailing a captive couple with a detailed description of every double play he finished as a member of the legendary infield Tinker to Evers to Chance, but the story of two people from different backgrounds who find love in either a small town or a big city but more likely a small town. We looked closer, and while it is a small town, the couple has already come together and are from a similar background, and it’s more about the man trying to come up with a clever proposal.

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