What to Watch This Week: December 18 to 23

From a new season of Emily in Paris to the TV debut of Top Gun: Maverick, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

From a new season of Emily in Paris to the TV debut of Top Gun: Maverick, we round up our top 10 shows to watch this week

1. Upright – Sunday, December 18, Super Channel Fuse | Season Premiere

UprightSuper Channel FuseIn the first season of this Australian comedy-drama, misfit duo Lucky and Meg (comedian Tim Minchin and House of the Dragon’s Milly Alcock) were thrown together by chance in the middle of the Outback, forging a bond as they transported a valuable piano from one side of the country to the other. In the eight-part second season, the two are reunited after four years when Meg turns up unannounced on Lucky’s doorstep. The two set out on another epic adventure, this time trading the desert of the Outback for the steamy tropics of Far North Queensland, as they hit the road—and the river—on a mission to find Meg’s mom. 

2. When Christmas Was Young – Sunday, December 18, Global & CBS

When Christmas Was YoungGlobalThis holiday movie (produced by rocker Sheryl Crow) follows a Nashville music manager (Tyler Hilton) in desperate need of a hit song for his last remaining client. He finds himself falling for a gifted singer-songwriter who’s abandoned her dreams of making it big, as he attempts to secure the rights to a Christmas song (actually a new tune written by Crow) that she wrote years ago.

3. Cross-Country Cake Off – Monday, December 19, CTV

Cross-Country Cake OffCTVWould it really be Christmas without a little cake (fruit, bundt or otherwise)? Of course not, which is why Canada’s latest kitchen competition is all about seasonal gateau and those who whisk it into being.  

After kicking off their four-part holiday special with two delectable episodes last week, former MasterChef Canada-winner (and CTV culinary staple) Mary Berg and celebrated B.C. pastry chef Andrew Han conclude with two more this Monday and Tuesday. Continuing their trek from Halifax to Toronto to Vancouver, the duo pits some of our country’s finest cake makers against one another, while also spotlighting their heartwarming and humorous life stories.  

The rules? Eight bakers in each region present their cakes, but only four move on to round two: Bake Time. Here, each competitor takes on a timed challenge carefully designed by the judges to see which chefs have not only the talent to whip up a savoury confection, but the guts to do so in a real pressure-cooker scenario. Finally, two from each region move on to the national finale, where a $50,000 prize will be awarded.  

But there’s more! While Cross Country Cake Off is launching with this four-episode holiday special, that’s just an amuse-bouche. In spring 2023, Mary and Andrew will return with six more, non-holiday episodes featuring a supersized crop of 40 homegrown bakers.

4. The Wheel – Monday, December 19, NBC | Series Premiere

The WheelNBCAn Americanized take on the hit U.K. game show puts celebrities on the hot seat… the hot, spinning seat, to be precise. British comedian Michael McIntyre hosts, offering contestants a trivia topic and a literal wheel of celebrity “experts.” Once a topic is selected, the contestant can “shut down” one celeb they suspect is least qualified in that field, before the question is revealed, the wheel is spun and a random star is tasked with answering. Your rotating panel will include: Clay Aiken, Carole Baskin, Tom Bergeron, Margaret Cho, Deepak Chopra, Cat Cora, Taye Diggs, Tori Spelling, Amber Ruffin, Raven-Symoné, Buddy Valastro and more. 

A new episode airs every weeknight on NBC for the next two weeks. 

5. The Letter: A Message for Our Earth – Wednesday, December 21, WTVS & KCTS

The Letter: A Message for Our EarthPBSBack in 2015, Pope Francis wrote Laudato Si’, a letter to the world confronting the looming calamity of human impact on the Earth and ourselves, explaining that climate change is real and created primarily by humans. Described as one of the most ambitious and revolutionary papal statements in history, this bold 184-page missive outlines the most critical environmental and social issues that we collectively face as a species, emphasizing our moral obligation to protect the environment—because the planet’s degradation impacts mainly the poor. “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change,” he wrote.  

This new film tells the story behind the Pope’s call to care for our planet, following environmental champions from around the globe, from all different faiths and worldviews, as they journey from the Amazon, India, Senegal and Hawai’i to the Vatican in order to meet His Holiness. Through the course of this odyssey, they find new hope for our planet in each other. In addition, we will hear probing conversations on how the planetary crisis is affecting the Indigenous, the young, the poor and wildlife.

6. Emily in Paris, Wednesday, December 21, Netflix | Season Premiere

Emily in ParisNetflixOver the course of its first two seasons, Emily in Paris has made no bones about the fact that it has no aspirations to be anything other than what it is: a fluffy romantic comedy that, charming ensemble aside, gets by on the glamour of its setting. Indeed, the adventures of an American marketing exec (Lily Collins) juggling work and love in the City of Light has so thoroughly seduced Netflix subscribers that, in the wake of season two, creator Darren Star and his team secured a two-season renewal. (Which means at least one more season to come after this.)  

If you’ll recall, at the end of chapter two, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), Emily’s Parisian boss, had become so frustrated with Madeline (Kate Walsh), Emily’s boss from Chicago, that Sylvie decided to leave Savoir and take the staff with her. The question, however, was whether or not Emily would stay with Madeline or go with Sylvie. One need only take a look at the trailer for season three to reasonably suspect that Emily decides to stick it out in Paris, but what we don’t know is whether or not it was a snap decision or if she had to stew over the matter a bit. Either way, Emily still has to deal with Gabriel and Camille having gotten back together, but don’t worry: she’s still got Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) to spend time with, and there’s nothing wrong with that… as far as we know, anyway.  

Beyond Emily, of course, there’s also Mindy (Ashley Park), who’s been slowly but surely building a singing career in Paris and may well be on the cusp of something big. And although we mentioned Sylvie from a business standpoint, where will things go with her personal life and her younger beau?  

All told, you know what to expect: flirting, a few chuckles and just enough scandal to keep things spicy.

7. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan – Wednesday, December 21, Prime Video | Season Premiere

Tom Clancy's Jack RyanPrime VideoIt’s been three whole years since John Krasinski’s take on Tom Clancy’s everyman CIA analyst last graced our screens and pounded our pulses. And he left us on a cliffhanger, no less! If you’ll recall, Ryan has gone AWOL, and as his boss Jim Greer (Wendell Pierce) warns in the trailer, the longer he stays on the run, the bigger the hole he’s digging for himself. But, ever the patriot, Jack is willing to accept the fallout if it means stopping a group of Russians from using their nukes to ressurect the U.S.S.R. (and potentially ignite a Third World War in the process).  

As for Greer, it’s safe to say he’ll be in the field a little less this year, spending more time in the office; and it’s about time, given all of his health concerns. That leaves an opening for Jack’s new partner—if anyone actually wants such a thankless, perilous job. One candidate? Narcos: Mexico’s Michael Peña, who is set to join the show as another fan-fave character from Clancy’s books: black-ops sniper Domingo “Ding” Chavez. He’s expected to show up towards the end of season three before becoming a regular in Jack Ryan’s fourth and final season… and then, just maybe, getting a spinoff of his own. 

8. Top Gun: Maverick – Thursday, December 22, Paramount+

Top Gun - MaverickParamount+Following a massively successful theatrical run that grossed a smidge under $1.5 billion worldwide, this long-awaited sequel to the 1986 classic arrives on Paramount+. Tom Cruise reprises his role as U.S. Navy test pilot Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, whose stunning skill in the air has always been at odds with his knack for insubordination on the ground, preventing him from advancing to a higher rank. Val Kilmer also returns to reprise the role of his rival-turned-friend Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, now an admiral in charge of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Other characters in the sequel include: Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s late best friend Goose; Maverick’s love interest Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly), a single mom and bar owner; Vice Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson (Jon Hamm), commander of Naval Air Forces; and  Rear Admiral Chester “Hammer” Cain (Ed Harris), Maverick’s superior and head of the the Maverick-led Darkstar fighter jet program.

9. Mathieu Dufour at Bell Centre – Thursday, December 22, Netflix+

Mathieu Dufour at Bell CentreNetflixMathieu Dufour is a well-respected comedian, but if you Google him, you’re just as likely to come up with information about a flautist with the same name. It can be confusing, but let us assure you that the Monsieur Dufour who has a new Netflix special is the funnier of the two.  

Filmed on July 23 as part of the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, this was—as you might reasonably expect—a major thrill for the French-Canadian funnyman known to the Internet as Math Duff. “Learning that Netflix wanted to work with me on this project felt completely surreal!” he said in a statement when the special was initially announced. “To be performing at the Bell Centre was huge for me already, to have Netflix as part of this feels completely crazy! I don’t know how I will ever top this experience, I don’t think I will quite believe that this is real until I open the Netflix app and watch the show!”  

If you choose to join him in opening that app on Thursday, the topics tackled during Dufour’s hour-long set will include paintball mishaps, McDonald’s misdeeds and much more. 

10. Piñata Masters – Friday, December 24, Netflix

Pinata MastersNetflixIn this hit reality competition originating from Mexico, seven teams compete to create the most clever, colourful, eye-catching and celebratory piñata in order to impress the oh-so-picky judges: a group of discriminating children, who have some very specific ideas about what makes the perfect piñata.