From a Bayside reunion to holiday hijinks, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week
1. Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square – Sunday, November 22, Netflix
NetflixSure, there are still a few weeks left until the big day, but if W Network can start their holiday Hallmark binge on Halloween night, why should Netflix wait until December? So have yourself a Holly Dolly Christmas this weekend as the queen of country music unveils this star-studded flick. The musical stars Ms. Parton as an angel who sets out to redeem a modern-day Scrooge—portrayed by the incomparable Christine Baranski. The Good Wife alum and multiple Tony winner plays Regina Fuller, a businesswoman who plans to evict the residents of her own small town and sell the land to a developer. Yet with a little gentle guidance from Dolly (plus, 14 cheer-inducing original songs), Regina’s cold heart begins to melt. Treat Williams and Jenifer Lewis also star.
2. The Simpsons – Sunday, November 22, 8 p.m., City & Fox
CityIn an episode titled “Three Dreams Denied,” Comic Book Guy gets humiliated at Comic-Con, Bart gets a gig as a voice actor and Lisa is “set up for a fall.” Guests include The Politician’s Ben Platt as a guy named Blake and Paul Rudd as himself (we’d wager he’s got something to do with CBG’s humiliation).
3. Dancing With the Stars – Monday, November 23, 8 p.m, City & ABC | Season Finale
CityJust when we thought producers had lost the ability to shock us, season 29 invited Tiger King curiosity Carole Baskin to take a spin on the dance floor. She was only around for a couple episodes, but it did set the tone for quite a circus. This week, host Tyra Banks awards the Mirrorball Trophy to the last star tangoing.
4. The Flight Attendant – Tuesday, November 24, Crave (Stream) | Series Premiere
CraveAfter more than a decade on The Big Bang Theory, Kaley Cuoco’s next project finds her tackling a far darker comedy than the nerdy sitcom hit. In this new series from HBO Max, Cuoco stars as Cassie, a hard-partying flight attendant who makes the ill-advised decision to hook up with a passenger she meets on an international flight. Her life changes in a heartbeat when she wakes up in an unfamiliar bed with a dead man lying next to her—and no recollection what took place.
“Cassie is extremely flawed,” Cuoco said of the character during an interview at this summer’s virtual TCA press tour. “It’s an actor’s dream to play someone like her,” she added. “After coming off of comedy and Big Bang, there was something about this where I thought, if we could bring levity to such a dark book, it would be so cool. It’s been totally career-changing for me. It’s been wonderful.” In addition to Cuoco, other stars include Michiel Huisman, T.R. Knight, Rosie Perez and Zosia Mamet.
5. Next – Tuesday, November 24, 9 p.m., Fox
FoxThe series may already be cancelled, but Fox still has a handful of completed episodes to burn off. This week, Shea faces a dangerous figure from her past, while Ted works to get himself out of hot water, LeBlanc gives honesty a whirl and C.M.’s life is threatened by the A.I.’s latest nefarious ploy.
6. The Christmas Chronicles 2 – Wednesday, November 25, Netflix
NetflixIn this new sequel to the 2018 Netflix holiday comedy, a mysterious, magical troublemaker named Belsnickel (Deadpool 2’s Julian Dennison) threatens to destroy the North Pole and end Christmas for good. Suddenly, the first film’s protagonists, siblings Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis), find themselves unexpectedly pulled into a whole new adventure with Santa and Mrs. Claus (Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, reprising their roles from the original).
7. Superintelligence – Thursday, November 26, Crave (Stream)
CraveWhile COVID-19 has done horrific damage to box office business, it must be said that it’s been a boon for at-home viewers, who’ve benefited from studios’ hesitance to release their bigger films in the traditional manner, i.e. first into theatres and then onto home video.
Superintelligence is the latest such release to suffer that indignity, coming to streaming services HBO Max in the U.S. and Crave in Canada. And you know that’s gotta sting for the producers, since any movie starring Melissa McCarthy is primed to enjoy a long, lucrative box office run. As it happens, though, the film in question wasn’t supposed to star McCarthy. Heck, it wasn’t even supposed to have a female lead!
“Our dear friend, Steve Mallory, wrote Superintelligence originally for a male lead,” McCarthy divulged in an interview with People. “But I loved the heart, humour and humanity of the script so much I pushed my way into the movie.”
Fortunately, McCarthy also had an “in” with the director: he’s her husband, Ben Falcone, who was also behind the camera for her films Tammy, The Boss and Life of the Party.
The couple’s latest collaboration revolves around an artificial intelligence (voiced by The Late Late Show’s James Corden) that becomes self-aware and contemplates whether to save, enslave or destroy humanity. Before making its decision, this A.I. program decides it must observe the most average person on the planet: Carol Peters, played by McCarthy. Will Carol show Superintelligence that humans are worthy of survival, or will she doom us all?
8. Saved by the Bell – Thursday, November 26, 8 p.m. & 8:30 p.m., Global & W Network | Series Premiere
W NetworkDuring its initial Saturday-morning run, Saved by the Bell was a sitcom set in a high school, designed to appeal to both tweens and teens, delivering slapstick comedy alongside charmingly stereotypical teen angst and the occasional “very special episode.”
Needless to say, kids in the ’90s ate it up, making it so successful for original network NBC that it spawned two TV movies (Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas), a primetime spinoff (Saved by the Bell: The College Years) and a Saturday-morning sequel series (Saved by the Bell: The New Class).
This week, the legacy continues thanks to writer Tracey Wigfield (30 Rock), with a reimagining that brings back Mario Lopez as A.C. Slater, now working as a teacher/coach at Bayside High, and Elizabeth Berkley as his old flame Jesse Spano, whose daughter now goes to Bayside.
Popping by on occasion will be Mark-Paul Gosselaar as consummate mischief-maker Zack Morris, now governor of California, and Tiffani Thiessen as his wife Kelly; the high school sweethearts are also the proud parents of a Bayside student. Finally, there’s Lark Voorhies as fashion maven Lisa Turtle.
It all begins tonight with back-to-back episodes on W Network, plus a special, premiere-night-only simulcast on Global.
9. Great Performances – Friday, November 27, 6 p.m., WTVS; 9 p.m., KCTS
PBSThose who don’t know Lea Salonga from her extensive work on Broadway may recognize her singing from such animated Disney hits as Aladdin and Mulan. In Lea Salonga in Concert, the Tony-winning actress and singer performs selections from her Broadway hits, including Miss Saigon and Les Misérables.
10. Virgin River – Friday, November 27, Netflix
NetflixIt’s time to cozy on up with some hot chocolate, a warm blanket and lots of charmingly unrealistic romantic expectations. The second season of this small-town show with big heart debuts Friday, and from the looks of things, the central love triangle is as complicated as ever.
Based on Robyn Carr’s critically acclaimed novels, the first season followed nurse practitioner/midwife Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge) as she arrived at the Californian town in hopes of making a fresh start. Bringing a bit of big-city energy to her quaint surroundings, Mel soon turned the head of local tavern owner Jack (Martin Henderson), an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD and dragging some major romantic baggage.
So, did Mel really pack up and leave for good as the season-one finale had everyone believing? Of course not! When the show returns, she’s still grappling with the idea of Jack and his ex-girlfriend Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley) having a baby, just as Jack confesses his love for her. Before long, the entire town is all up in their personal business, with everyone picking a side. Those two have “more sparks than a Fourth of July parade,” teases one person in the second-season trailer, while Mel says, in voiceover: “There’s no escaping the fact that Charmaine, Jack and I are all going to have to deal with an awkward situation while I finish out my year.”
That’s putting it mildly. Though naturally, Jack and Mel aren’t the only folks with drama in this little burgh, as mayor Hope McCrea (Annette O’Toole), town doctor Vernon Mullons (Tim Matheson) and young war vet Dan Brady (Benjamin Hollingsworth, upped to a series regular in season two) all have some tricky love lives and nagging character flaws to try and sort through. We can’t wait to see them make a total mess of it.