‘Succession’ Finale, ‘Dexter’s Cover Blown, ‘Real Charlie Chaplin,’ Billie Eilish on ‘SNL,’ Christmas Movies (on CBS, Even)

Another blistering season of Succession wraps with a major business deal in the balance. Dexter’s incognito existence is in jeopardy in a pivotal episode of the New Blood reboot. Showtime presents a complicated portrait of the pioneering film comedian Charlie Chaplin. Billie Eilish does double duty on Saturday Night Live as host and musical guest. Typically in December, holiday movies prevail, even on CBS, which hasn’t aired an original TV-movie in ages.



Season Finale

SUNDAY: The family dynamics couldn’t be more poisonous, or the stakes higher, as the third season of the brutally hilarious Emmy-winning drama ends in lovely Italy. The Roys are desperately trying to close a deal with capricious tech mogul Lukas Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård), who seems to have all the leverage with his red-hot GoJo company. “We’re flying like a rocket ship and you’re sinking like a lead balloon,” he’s seen boastfully telling an unamused Logan Roy (Brian Cox) in the episode’s trailer. While squabbling sibs Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) pick up the pieces, we can’t help wondering what’s going on with elder brother and outcast Kendall (Jeremy Strong), last seen circling the drain as he floated miserably alone in a luxurious pool.

Dexter: New Blood Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan
Kurt Iswarienko/SHOWTIME

Dexter: New Blood

SUNDAY: We figured his cover story as “Jim Lindsay” wouldn’t hold up forever, but in what could be the worst-case scenario, it’s his girlfriend—and Iron Lake police chief Angela (Julia Jones)—who’s connected the dots between nice-guy Jim and the presumed-dead Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall). TV’s favorite serial killer of killers—and lately drug dealers—will have to do some mighty tap-dancing, a chore complicated by his son Harrison (Jack Alcott) exhibiting more “dark passenger” traits at a wrestling match, and town bigwig Kurt Caldwell (Clancy Brown) triggering Dexter’s know-a-killer-when-he-sees-one radar.

The Real Charlie Chaplin


SATURDAY: The famed silent-movie clown whose persona was eclipsed by off-camera scandal is profiled in a stylized biographical documentary from Peter Middleton and James Spinney (Notes on Blindness). Using techniques including dramatized recreations of interviews with lip-syncing actors, they piece together the complicated history of a master comedian and pioneer of movie comedy who overcame poverty in London to rule Hollywood in its first golden age. Romantic scandals gave way to persecution during the anti-Communist “red scare,” resulting in Chaplin’s later-years exile in Switzerland. His life story is fascinating, but it’s the genius of his films that give him immortality.

Happier Than Ever Billie Eilish Disney+

Saturday Night Live

SATURDAY: Making her second appearance as musical guest, Grammy queen Billie Eilish has mastered many a stage and arena. But how will she fare when testing her comedy chops as a first-time host in legendary Studio 8H? Reason enough to tune in.

Jessica Camacho as Maria Winters, Adam Rodriguez as Julian Diaz in A Christmas Proposal

A Christmas Proposal

Movie Premiere

SUNDAY: With few exceptions, the major broadcast networks have been out of the TV-movie and miniseries game for quite some time—to their detriment. But I’m not sure taking on Hallmark and Lifetime with new holiday movies is the answer. Still, here we go. In the largely Latinx-cast Proposal, former CSI: Miami star Adam Rodriguez plays Julian Diaz, a Seattle bachelor who pretends to be attached to aspiring chef and ride-share driver Maria (All Rise’s Jessica Camacho) to impress his folks in hopes of being tapped to take over the family law firm.

More Yuletide Options:

  • Hot Mess Holiday (Saturday, 7/6c, Comedy Central): The comedy network’s second seasonal offering has a South Asian flavor, as Surina Jindal and Melanie Chandra play besties in Chicago who decide to go wild during the Diwali holidays after one is dumped by her cheating fiancé. They didn’t count on acquiring a priceless diamond that could put their whole crew in danger. The starry cast includes Kal Penn, Tituss Burgess, Chris Parnell, Nik Dodani, Chris Geere, Ravi Patel and Lilly Singh.
  • A Royal Queens Christmas (Saturday, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel): Will an incognito prince (Julian Morris) feel at home in the familiar-sounding borough of Queens? A local woman (Megan Park) keeps him busy helping out at a children’s Christmas show.
  • A New Lease on Christmas (Saturday, 8/8c, ION): Don’t you hate it when your real-estate job forces you to evict the coffee-shop owner (George Stults) you’ve just fallen for?
  • A Godwink Christmas: Miracle of Love (Saturday, 10/9c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): Kathie Lee Gifford is executive producer of a movie based on the Godwinks book series. The Good Witch’s Katherine Barrell and Station 19’s Alberto Frezza star as two people at a crossroads who, through a series of “Godwinks,” find purpose and connection while volunteering to build a new home for a family at Christmas.
  • The Holiday Fix Up (Saturday, 8/7c, Lifetime): One Tree Hill’s Jana Kramer is a designer on a home-renovation show who goes home to Bell Harbor to fix up the local inn, only to be reunited with the former flame (Chuck’s Ryan McPartlin) who’s now her lead contractor. Also on Lifetime: People Presents: Blending Christmas (Sunday, 8/7c), a blended-families romcom featuring familiar faces from The Brady Bunch, who are part of the celebration when Liam (Aaron O’Connell) prepares to propose to girlfriend Emma (Haylie Duff) at a vacation getaway with both of their families on hand to get into their business.
  • White House Christmas 2021 (Sunday, 6/5c, HGTV): Not a movie, but an annual tradition for 24 years, as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden guides Genevieve Gorder on a room-by-room tour of the decorated White House.

Inside Weekend TV:

  • Yellowstone (Sunday, 8/7c, Paramount Network): John Dutton (Kevin Costner) gets an intriguing overture from Montana’s governor, but the real action’s happening back on the ranch, where teenage Carter (Finn Little) is still trying to get back on Beth’s (Kelly Reilly) good side. Good luck, kid.
  • 15th Annual CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute (Sunday, 8/7c, CNN): Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa host the yearly inspirational salute to selfless individuals across the world who are working to make positive change.
  • 70th Miss Universe (Sunday, 7/6c, Fox): Steve Harvey returns to host the competition, this year from Eilat, Israel, with a first-time delegate from the United Arab Emirates and the first Miss Universe Morocco competing in more than 40 years.
  • Ken and Barbie Killers: The Lost Murder Tapes (Sunday, 9/8c, Investigation Discovery and discovery+): A four-part true-crime series (concluding Monday on ID, bingeable on streaming) delves into the sordid story of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, a shiny Canadian couple who captured their whole life on video—including a series of rape-murders of minors in the early 1990s.