From holiday hilarity to pop's reigning princess, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions – Disney+ (Stream)
Disney+Fans of Taylor Swift are loving her stripped-down new album folklore, and this Disney+ documentary offers a one-of-a-kind concert experience, with Swift—who also directed—joined by special guests Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver, all of whom appear on the album. Interestingly enough, this marks the first time that Swift and
her fellow musicians actually assembled in person; the album itself was made in total secrecy with all the various players recording their parts remotely. As a result, they had never been in the same room together until September 2020—when this program was taped—at Long Pond Studio in Upstate New York. Swift and her musical guests perform all 17 tracks from folklore, in the same order that they appear on the album.
2. Palm Springs – Amazon Prime Video
Amazon PrimeTwo lost souls drown their sorrows together at a wedding. After all the drinking, flirting and canoodling, they awake, bleary-eyed, the next day. Except, it’s not the next day. It’s the same day all over again... and again... and again. And no matter what they do, they can’t seem to reach tomorrow. That’s the setup for Palm Springs, a new film produced by and starring Andy Samberg. But before you bring up that other comedy about an SNL alum stuck in a time loop... Samberg knows, and he can explain.
“I mean, it’s a classic and it’s the original, so anything that has any sort of time-loop element kneels at the altar of Groundhog Day. Those guys did it,” he tells us over a Zoom chat. “The thing that I was excited about with Palm Springs
is, it acknowledges that you’ve seen that movie, and that you’ve probably seen Edge of Tomorrow... We wanted this movie to be, tonally and structurally, something that gave a lot of credit to the audience, and assumed they had seen all the same stuff we had seen, so that we could start a little further down the line with some of these premises and then expand on them.”
3. This is Life with Lisa Ling – Sunday, December 20, 7 p.m. & 10 p.m., CNN | Season Finale
CNNHost Lisa Ling wraps up the latest season of her investigative documentary series with a look at the medical uses of psychedelics, exploring how an increasing number of people are finding healthier lives through hallucinogens.
4. The Moodys – Sunday, December 20, 8 p.m., Fox
FoxIn advance of its eventual 2021 return, Fox is re-running the Christmas-set first season of this dark family comedy starring Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins. It’s the perfect opportunity for anyone who missed out last year and wants to catch up before the dysfunction starts all over again.
5. 22nd Annual A Home for the Holidays – Sunday, December 20, 9 p.m., CBS
CBSWould it really be Christmas Week without a plethora of specials to keep us all of good cheer? Certainly not. But amidst all the cartoon reindeer and green grouches, this yuletide staple stands out for offering a little non-fictional inspiration.
Host Gayle King welcomes everyday Americans to share their stories of adoption from foster care. It’s a night designed to tug at the old heartstrings and raise awareness about the importance of fostering, highlighting the profound difference a loving family can make in a young person’s life. To help drive home the message, there are plenty of celebs on hand, as King welcomes performers like Josh Groban, Miranda Lambert, Meghan Trainor (pictured), Leslie Odom, Jr. and Andrea Bocelli to give us their renditions of a few holiday classics.
According to CBS, the program has inspired tens of thousands of adoptions over the years, and this 22nd annual edition will add to
that total by at least a few, as three families adopt children on-air. With more than 400,000 kids currently in foster care in America who are looking for that forever home (and nearly 50,000 in Canada recorded during the last census), it’s a cause that could certainly use some of this season’s trademark generosity.
6. Industry – Monday, December 21, 9 p.m. & 10 p.m. (repeating at 1 a.m. & 2 a.m.), HBO Canada | Season Finale
HBO Canada/CraveHas the world of finance ever been so thoroughly skewered as in this freshman HBO series? If you’ve been following Harper and her fellow new recruits at London’s elite Pierpoint bank through all of their scandalous, treacherous (and quite often sex-filled) antics, you’ll be rewarded with a double-sized finale tonight.
In the first hour, our scrappy graduates pull out all the stops to secure their positions at the firm. But when a dinner party descends into petty jealousy, Harper lets slip some confidential business intel that could jeopardize her future.
Then, in the concluding hour, it’s decision day at Pierpoint as the grads stand before senior management and Harper grapples with a decision that could transform the company’s entire culture.
7. Next – Tuesday, December 22, 8 p.m., Global & Fox | Series Finale
FoxMute those Zoom calls and unplug your devices, because the series that questions our collective addiction to technology powers down with a two-hour episode. Can Paul et al. finally outmanoeuvre a rogue A.I. that’s always six steps ahead?
8. Soul – Friday, December 25, Disney+
Disney+The essence of humanity—that indefinable thing beyond the physical that makes us who we are—has been a subject of great debate and strong opinions since ... well, forever. Of equal fascination: where does the essence of us go once we pass away? And where was it before we were born? Well, we have some good news: Pixar, the studio behind such hilarious, emotional and indeed, thoughtful films as Toy Story, Up and WALL-E, has decided to make that the focus of their latest animated adventure.
Though originally scheduled for release in theatres, amidst the pandemic, parent company Disney has opted to make the flick a special Christmas Day gift for subscribers of streaming service Disney+.
In Soul, we’re introduced to Joe Gardner (voice of Oscar winner Jamie Foxx), a middle- school band teacher with a passion for jazz, who falls through a manhole in the middle of New York City and into The Great Before, a fantastical place where new souls pick up their quirks, personalities and interests before they head off to their human incarnations.
Here he meets up with 22 (voice of Tina Fey), a precocious soul who never understood the allure of the human experience. As Joe tries to show 22 that life as a living, breathing person has its upsides, he sets off on a journey that may help him answer some of life’s more important questions.
9. Call the Midwife – Friday, December 25, 6 p.m., WTVS; 9 p.m., KCTS
PBSChristmas may look vastly different this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep some traditions alive. Like tuning
in for the annual holiday episode of this long-running period drama. Join the nuns of Nonnatus House as they plan their festivities in this 90-minute special, during which nothing (as usual) goes to plan.
10. Bridgerton – Friday, December 25, Netflix | Series Premiere
NetflixIf you’re the type who has banked more hours than you’d care to admit checking in with the doctors of Grey’s Anatomy, or if you live for the dramatics of primetime soaps like Gossip Girl and steamy period pieces like Downton Abbey, then this series will definitely make your holiday binge list.
Based on the novels of Julia Quinn, Bridgerton is the first show born of super-producer Shonda Rhimes’ lucrative Netflix deal (she is now the highest-paid showrunner in television). The fact that it’s dropping on Christmas Day is the best present of all for plenty of fans, who quickly got the trailer for the series trending online when it first dropped in November.
It’s set in England’s early-1800s Regency period, and follows the romantic entanglements of the eight Bridgerton children (they, like the rest of the characters on the series, were cast through colour-blind auditions). The exorbitantly wealthy family is well-intentioned and smart, but their decisions when it comes to matters of the heart are another story entirely. Add in ferocious debutante mothers who are determined for their children to secure the best standing, a slew of social climbers ready to take down the elite, and a merciless gossip newsletter out to expose any and all secrets, and this is very much the type of salacious drama that Shonda-lovers live for.
The sprawling ensemble includes the likes of Jonathan Bailey, Phoebe Dynevor and Ruth Gemmell, plus Julie Andrews lends her voice talents as our cheeky narrator. Given all
of the excitement the series has already generated, it should come as no surprise that Netflix has already renewed it for a second season.