From a spooky new Scrooge to festive Disney celebrations, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj — Sunday, December 22, Netflix | Season Finale
Facebook/Patriot ActThe Daily Show alum caps season five of his incisive Netflix series—a season which to date has seen him explore such issues as mental health, fast fashion and billionaires in politics, with wit and nuance.
2. A Christmas Carol — Sunday, December 22, 6 p.m., 7 p.m. & 8 p.m. (repeating at 9 p.m., 10 p.m. & 11 p.m.), FX
FXHistory has given us myriad iterations of A Christmas Carol, but perhaps none quite so dark as this—figuratively and literally. On Sunday, FX airs a version co-produced by England’s BBC (which intends to revisit most if not all of Charles Dickens’ classic novels), with exec producers including Ridley Scott and actor Tom Hardy. Adapted by fellow executive producer Steven Knight (whose FX series Taboo also starred Hardy) and directed by Nick Murphy (The Hot Zone), the edgy retelling casts Guy Pearce as cold-hearted miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s called to account for his sins one fateful Christmas Eve by an array of colourful spirits.
3. Mr. Robot — Sunday, December 22, 6 p.m. & 7:05 p.m., Showcase | Series Finale
Showcase“Hello, friend.” These were the very first words spoken to us, the audience, in episode one of this techno-conspiracy thriller. And tonight, security expert turned hacker turned corporation-toppling revolutionary Elliot Alderson will say “Goodbye.” The timing really couldn’t be better, given that this fourth and final season has taken place entirely over a one-week span amidst Christmas 2015. (Creator Sam Esmail reportedly described these 13 episodes to fans at the Tribeca Film Festival as “one very long Christmas special,” à la BBC’s The Office). In the show’s two-part sendoff, secrets will be revealed, power will change hands and perceptions of reality will be skewed. Let’s hope that Esmail and his team are able to stick the landing on what more than one observer has dubbed the show’s finest season yet.
4. A Home for the Holidays with Idina Menzel — Sunday, December 22, 9 p.m., CBS
Facebook/Idina MenzelJust ahead of Christmas Day, CBS is once again airing its annual A Home for the Holidays special, celebrating the parents and children whose lives have been changed due to adoption and foster care.
For the 21st edition, Tony-winning star Idina Menzel has been tapped to host, and it’s no coincidence that she has a new movie (Frozen II) and holiday album coming out right around now.
The special introduces us to heartwarming and uplifting stories of adoption and foster care, all with the noble goal of shining a light on the thousands of children in foster care and, hopefully, inspiring adoptions.
5. The Year: 2019 — Sunday, December 22, 9 p.m., ABC
UnsplashThis new special from ABC News looks back at the biggest stories and impactful personalities from 2019, alongside interviews with the people who made their marks on the world during the past 12 months. Given the wild ride that 2019 has been, expect a jam-packed two hours.
6. Scrooge — Monday, December 23, 8 p.m., CBC
Warner BrothersYou have many Scrooges to choose from this holiday season, but we all know everyone else is just competing for second-place behind the great Alastair Sim; make your Christmas complete with his definitive take on the haunted miser, circa 1951.
7. Lost in Space — Tuesday, December 24, Netflix | Season Premiere
NetflixSeven months after the space-faring Robinson clan was launched into a new galaxy, the “danger” that the Robot warned young Will (Maxwell Jenkins) about has—thus far—turned out to be fairly manageable. Sure, the water is toxic and the air capable of destroying life in seconds, but inside the good ship Jupiter things are surprisingly peaceful. Gone are the days when aerospace engineer Maureen (Molly Parker) and former Navy SEAL John (Toby Stephens) were fighting for their marriage while keeping their family alive in strange terrain. Now, the short-range spacecraft is a virtual love nest.
Just as well, because as the Robinsons try to figure out what happened to the Resolute, an interstellar spacecraft carrying hundreds of people on a mission to colonize the Alpha Centauri star system, the less interpersonal drama to distract them, the better.
8. Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade — Wednesday, December 25, 9 a.m., ABC
ABCWhat does one get when one combines the most wonderful time of year with the most magical place on Earth? Disney’s annual Christmas parade, of course!
Join Mickey, Minnie, Anna, Elsa and more as they lead their floats on a march through multiple parks in the House of Mouse’s sprawling empire—from Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, California.
It’s the perfect bit of background noise for a frantic Christmas morning with the kids. That said, there’s plenty of entertainment for the adults to enjoy too along with their cups of steaming coffee (laced by a shot or two of Baileys)—namely, performances from Sting, Shaggy and Pentatonix.
Add in some heartwarming human-interest stories, plenty of super-psyched children and special guest appearances from The Lion King remake’s J.D. McCrary and black-ish’s Marsai Martin, and we should all be in for a jolly good time.
Once again emceeing the festivities are Matthew Morrison (Glee) and Emma Bunton (formerly known as Baby Spice) on the East Coast, while one-time Bachelor star Jesse Palmer handles hosting duties in California.
9. Fast and Furious: Spy Racers — Thursday, December 26, Netflix | Series Premiere
Facebook/Fast and FuriousThis animated spinoff of the Fast and Furious franchise follows young Tony Toretto (cousin of Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto) after he’s recruited by a government agency to infiltrate an elite racing league that’s actually a front for a crime organization bent on world domination.
10. The Royal Variety Performance — Friday, December 27, 8 p.m., CBC
CBCThe London Palladium is once again rolling out the red carpet for the annual Royal Variety Performance, hosted by Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan. Among the stars that viewers can look forward to this year: Rod Stewart, who’ll be performing hits from his five-decade career; British pop star Robbie Williams, who’ll duet with Stewart and jazz singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum; Harry Connick, Jr.; the cast of the Broadway smash Come From Away; a number from Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia; and Emeli Sandé with Manchester’s Bee Vocal Choir, who’ll debut a new performance in aid of mental health. Also on hand for the evening will be actor Luke Evans, comedian Kerry Godliman and comedian/TV presenter Frank Skinner.