What to Watch This Week: December 12 to 17

From reigning pop royalty to animated antics, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week

From reigning pop royalty to animated antics, we round up the top 10 shows to watch this week

1. Back to the Outback – Netflix

Weary of being locked away in the reptile house, a zooful of Australia’s most troublesome critters decide it’s time to make a break for it and escape into the Outback—where they’re far less likely to be judged for their more lethal tendencies.

If you’re thinking that this film sounds a lot like DreamWorks’ Madagascar flicks (the TV spinoffs of which have also appeared on Netflix), well, you’re not wrong. Because that franchise was clearly… oh, let’s call it an “inspiration.”

Still, you can’t go wrong with this cast: there’s Isla Fisher as a snake named Maddie; Guy Pearce as a tarantula; Angus Imrie as a sensitive scorpion; and Miranda Tapsell as a Thorny Devil Lizard. Plus: a koala voiced by Tim Minchin, and Eric Bana as the zookeeper chasing our misfit heroes.

2. The Unforgivable – Netflix

Sandra Bullock stars in this gritty film as Ruth Slater, just released from prison after serving a lengthy sentence for committing a violent crime. As Ruth re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past, she faces the most severe judgment from the place she once called home. Her only hope for redemption is finding the estranged younger sister she was forced to abandon when she was put behind bars. According to Bullock, the movie is “a murder mystery within a very complex character drama” as the truth about why she did what she did is slowly revealed. Also starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Richard Thomas and Viola Davis.

3. A Christmas Proposal – Sunday, December 12, 8 p.m., Global & CBS

TV viewers are used to seeing Adam Rodriguez solve crimes on CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds. Now, he’s making his Christmas movie debut in this holiday romance, starring as a hotshot lawyer who hires a down-on-her-luck chef (Jessica Camacho) to pose as his girlfriend to impress his folks in hopes of being appointed head of the family law firm. Their arrangement, however, gets complicated when real sparks start to fly.

4. Succession – Sunday, December 12, 8 p.m. & 11:20 p.m., HBO Canada | Season Finale

When it comes to pulling off jaw-dropper finales, this corporate-America farce has already proved it can pack a punch. But will the season-three capper be as talked about as the season-two end game, when Kendall pivoted from taking one for the team to declaring war on his old man?

Heading into the episode, we do know that all the Roy siblings have firmly chosen a side in the ongoing battle for control of Waystar Royco (despite investors being less than enthused by all this in-fighting). Add in the rise of Shiv this year as one of the biggest threats that nobody saw coming (one who, deep down, just still really wants to please her daddy), and it’s been a ride, to say the least. “One of the things that we constantly see in the show is the potential of everybody,” teases Brian Cox, the King Lear-esque Roy patriarch. “That’s what’s exciting about the show, that there’s always a surprising element that somebody offers something up which you didn’t ever expect.”

Forebodingly enough, the finale is titled “All the Bells Say”—a reference to Pulitzer-winner John Berryman’s tragic poem “Dream Song 29.”

5. Gordon Ramsay’s Road Trip – Monday, December 13, 8 p.m. & Tuesday December 14, 9 p.m., Fox

If you find yourself in need of a little salty language to go along with the sweets as Christmas fast approaches, Gordon Ramsay has you covered. (Although, to be fair, we’re not quite sure exactly how much explicit content this week’s duo of special instalments will contain.)

On Monday night, tune in for a two-hour adventure, as the fiery British chef heads to Italy, France and Scotland in search of some good nosh, alongside his buddies Gino D’Acampo and Fred Sirieix. Then, on Tuesday, they’re back for an hour-long yuletide instalment, during which the trio heads into a winter wonderland to find Old Saint Nick’s house, enjoying “amazing food, big laughs and Christmas spirit” along the way. Be sure to return in the New Year for the gang’s final Road Trip special, when Gordo and co. explore the culinary majesty of Greece.

6. American Auto – Monday, December 13, 10:01 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., City & NBC | Series Premiere

The creator of Superstore, Justin Spitzer, returns to NBC with a new workplace sitcom, this time set in the offices of Payne Motors, a Detroit automobile-manufacturing corporation where the executives find themselves at a crossroads: adapt to the changing times facing their industry or be sent to the junkyard.

Enter Katherine Hastings (Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer), the company’s new CEO, brought in to shake things up in hopes of guiding the struggling company to a comeback. While Katherine brings steady leadership skills, a wealth of corporate experience and marketplace savvy, she also has a complete and utter lack of knowledge about cars. Luckily, her team is made up of some of the best minds in the business—when they aren’t squabbling or trying to outwit each other, that is.

In addition to Gasteyer, other stars in this new network comedy include Harriet Dyer, Jon Barinholtz, Humphrey Ker, Michael B. Washington, Tye White and X Mayo.

7. iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2021 – Wednesday, December 15, 8 p.m., The CW

Featuring highlights from concerts staged in 10 different cities throughout the U.S., this musical celebration of the holidays offers performances from some of today’s top music acts, including Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, The Jonas Brothers, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X and more.

8. Survivor – Wednesday, December 15, 8 p.m., Global & CBS | Season Finale

Jeff Probst and his fellow producers went “back to basics” for season 41, ditching all those over-the-top themes (“Fans vs. Favorites,” “Heroes vs. Villains,” etc.) that’ve characterized recent outings. Now, tonight, we’ll see who survives “one of the most dangerous seasons in the history of the show.”

9. Swan Song – Friday, December 17, Apple TV+

Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) stars in this poignant drama set in the near future, about a man whose world is turned upside down when he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness. Presented with an experimental solution to shield his wife and son from grief, he grapples with altering their fate.

10. Swagger – Friday, December 17, Apple TV+ | Season Finale

The teen basketball series from NBA star Kevin Durant and the producers of Friday Night Lights enters its fourth quarter. No surprise: we cap off with Coach Ike and Swagger DMV in the big championship game—just as long-simmering tensions between their star player Jace and his deeply problematic dad finally boil over.