All-Star ‘Voice’ Finale, ‘Grand Crew’ Preview, ‘FBI’ Midseason Cliffhanger, A New ‘Nutcracker’
The musical stars come out to perform when a new winner of The Voice is announced. NBC previews the midseason sitcom Grand Crew, a slice-of-life comedy about Black friends in Los Angeles. FBI signs off for 2021 with the team in the crosshairs of a vengeful drug lord. Alan Cumming and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra present a new take on the classic Nutcracker.
A Season 21 champion will be christened from the five remaining singers, but as is often the case, the star power on display for the season finale threatens to drown out what should be the main event. (Pop quiz: Name three Voice winners without looking them up.) In time-honored tradition, coaches will perform with their remaining artists: Kelly Clarkson with Girl Named Tom and Hailey Mia, John Legend with Jershika Maple, Blake Shelton with Wendy Moten and Paris Winningham. (With no one from her team in the final running, does this mean coach Ariana Grande will stay silent? Unlikely.) Headliners in the grand finale include Carrie Underwood and Legend in a holiday duet of “Hallelujah,” Season 21 Mega Mentor Ed Sheeran performing “Shivers,” and music from former coach Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Walker Hayes and a duet with Keke Palmer and Tori Kelly.
With the Voice finale as a powerful lead-in, NBC introduces a new sitcom that will regularly air Tuesdays starting in January. Where Sex and the City had girl talk and cosmos, Grand Crew (from veterans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine) has wine—and men whining, as a friendship circle of young professional Black men (and a few women) gather in mostly upscale Los Angeles bars to work through their copious feelings. As narrator Garrett Morris points out about misunderstood Black men: “We got layers, y’all.” Center stage is romcom fan Noah (Echo Kellum), whose too-easily broken heart is mocked by his more cynical sister, Nicky—played by the great Nicole Byer, more subdued than usual and saddled with tortured jokes like, “Your heart is like a gas station bathroom: open 24 hours and an absolute mess.” In the second of two back-to-back episodes, much is made of the secret shame of Black men crying—or exposing their “emotional genitalia.” This crew might be a lot grander if they could get over themselves.
An intense midseason cliffhanger puts Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jubal Valentine (Jeremy Sisto) in the crosshairs when Rina Trenholm (Kathleen Munroe), his boss and secret lover, is shot and seriously wounded as they head to work. Turns out it’s part of a sinister revenge plot from Antonio Vargas (David Zayas), who’s targeting not only the FBI team that put him behind bars but also their loved ones. The action continues into the Jan. 4 return, and let’s just hope Jubal can keep a handle on his sobriety until then. Things aren’t much quieter in the midseason finale of FBI: Most Wanted (9/8c), when Jess (Julian McMahon) and Barnes (Roxy Sternberg) are trapped in a mall when shooting breaks out, and the rest of the team tries to help from the outside.nutcra
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
There’s more to the Nutcracker than the classic and oft-performed ballet. Conductor/educator John Mauceri, leading the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conceived this special, which aims to put the holiday chestnut in context with the original E.T.A. Hoffman novella (published in 1816) and to reveal what happened to the girl and the prince after the dancing stops. Alan Cumming is the narrator of the musical event, with Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet score enhanced by music from the composer’s tone poems and orchestral suites.
More holiday specials:
- I Can See Your Voice (8/7c, Fox): A special holiday episode, previewing a second season beginning in January, adds a “Golden Mic” lifeline, where contestants (who may be good or terrible singers) get advice from a mystery celebrity. The winner gets to duet with panelist Debbie Gibson, which could go one of two ways.
- Gordon Ramsay’s Road Trip (9/8c, Fox): A “Christmas Vacation” special sends the chef and his companions on a food-filled journey into a Finland winter wonderland to find everyone’s favorite St. Nick. It’s doubtful ho-ho-hoagies will be on the menu.
- Fixer to Fabulous Holiday Surprise (9/8c, HGTV): Dave and Jenny Marrs step up for our furry friends in a holiday-themed episode, sprucing up a rundown animal shelter just in time for pet adoption season.
- Ghosts of Christmas Past (8/7c, Lifetime): Degrassi’s Annie Clark is a notorious dating-app “ghoster,” who’s warned by a fortune teller to make amends with all the guys she ghosted before midnight on Christmas Eve if she ever wants to find true love.
- A Christmas Stray (9/8c, OWN): A holiday romcom brings together an uptight corporate type, who’s run off the road by a stray dog in a mountain town, and a carefree vet who could use some Christmastime TLC herself.
Inside Tuesday TV:
- The Murders at Starved Rock (8/7c, HBO): A two-part true-crime documentary (concluding Wednesday) takes a very personal look at conflicting theories regarding the murder of three woman at Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park in 1960. The docuseries follows photographer David Raccuglia, son of the original prosecutor who put Chester Weger behind bars for 60 years, on an odyssey to learn the truth, even if it means a showdown with his dad.
- The Flash (8/7c, The CW): The “Armageddon” arc concludes with Barry/Flash (Grant Gustin) considering the costs of ending his lifelong battle with Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh).
- Riverdale (9/8c, The CW): In the twisted Archie melodrama’s 100th episode, a determined Jughead (Cole Sprouse) finally uncovers the truth about “Rivervale.”
- Queens (10/9c, ABC): A tragedy prompts the queens to look back to the 1990s, when they first met and formed a bond with the goal to conquer the music industry.
- Crime (streaming on BritBox): Dougray Scott (Batwoman) stars in a six-part British mystery, based on a novel by Trainspotting’s Irvine Welsh, about a detective who tries to put aside his own inner demons and circumvent police-department infighting to investigate the disappearance of a local schoolgirl.