‘Creatures,’ ‘Witches,’ ‘Gemstones’ Return, ‘Dexter’ Finale, Trippy ‘Yellowjackets’
A very busy TV weekend features the return of several fan favorites, including PBS’ charming All Creatures Great and Small, the supernatural romance A Discovery of Witches, HBO’s raucous The Righteous Gemstones and the Emmy-winning Euphoria. Showtime’s Dexter: New Blood reboot ends, while Yellowjackets goes even more berserk in its penultimate episode. Fox previews a new comedy, Pivoting, and the return of Call Me Kat before they join the Thursday lineup later this week.
All Creatures Great and Small
SUNDAY: This gorgeously filmed heartwarmer based on James Herriot’s bestsellers was just renewed for seasons 3 and 4. Rejoice while beginning the second year with the kindly Scottish veterinarian (Nicholas Ralph), who’s torn between two homes: his native Glasgow, where he’s been filling in at a modern animal clinic while being fussed over by his mother, who wants him to stay; and the rolling Yorkshire countryside, where he returns as senior vet to work alongside the demanding Siegfried (Samuel West) and his callow younger brother, Tristan (Callum Woodhouse). The opener puts James in conflict with Siegfried shortly after his return, when he takes it upon himself to save a family’s pet dog after its antics create havoc at a neighbor’s sheep farm. For comic relief, Tristan attempts damage control regarding a blind client’s adored budgie.
A Discovery of Witches
SATURDAY: The atmospheric supernatural romance, adapting Deborah Harkness’ “All Souls” trilogy, moves on to the third and final book, with pregnant witch Diana (Teresa Palmer) and vampire mate Matthew (Matthew Goode) returning to the present from Elizabethan London. The mood is somber at Sept-Tours after a tragic loss, which prompts the daemon Agatha (Tanya Moodie) to embark to the Congregation to face off against the villainous Peter Knox (Owen Teale). A showdown is coming, and the victor may be whoever ultimately possesses the Book of Life.
The Righteous Gemstones
SUNDAY: Danny McBride’s best comedy to date for HBO, about a corrupt family of wealthy Southern televangelists, returns in great form for a second season that at time plays like a slapstick version of Succession. McBride is Jesse Gemstone, who with wife Amber (Cassidy Freeman) is eager for patriarch Eli (a wonderful John Goodman) to step aside—but that’s not happening anytime soon, which complicates the couple’s plans to invest in a religious-themed Florida resort (Zion’s Landing) with West Coast superstars Lyle and Lindy Lissons (Eric Andre and Jessica Lowe). Further muddying the fractious family dynamic: the arrival of a snoopy investigative reporter (Jason Schwartzman) and Eric Roberts as a creepy figure from Eli’s unsavory past. Bonus: a Joe Jonas cameo! Gemstones can also be seen as a palette cleanser for the second season of the overrated, dysfunctional-youth drama Euphoria (9/8), starring the Emmy-winning Zendaya.
Dexter: New Blood
SUNDAY: They’ve vanquished their serial-killer foe Kurt Caldwell (Clancy Brown), and Dexter (Michael C. Hall) and son Harrison (Jack Alcott) have found common ground in appeasing their respective “Dark Passengers,” which brings us to the reboot’s season finale—which we hope is more satisfying than the original series’ ending. As they try to acclimate to a more normal life in Iron Lake, could police chief Angela’s (Julia Jones) suspicions about her boyfriend Jim/Dexter’s cloudy past sour this newfound harmony?
SUNDAY: The network’s newest hit goes even further off the rails in two different time frames in Season 1’s penultimate episode. Back in 1996, the fatalistic plane-crash survivors throw a “doom-coming” party, unaware that Misty (Sammi Hanratty) has inadvertently spiked their stew with hallucinatory mushrooms. As that bacchanalia takes a decidedly sinister and surreal turn, the action flips to the present day, where adult Misty (Christina Ricci) is enlisted to help her not-quite-buddies clean up another mess resulting from Shauna’s (Melanie Lynskey) actions regarding a suspected blackmailer.
SUNDAY: Three terrific talents—Happy Endings’ Eliza Coupe, Once Upon a Time’s Ginnifer Goodwin and Nikita’s Maggie Q—test our patience in a contrived and patronizing sitcom about three women who decide to make major life changes after their lifelong BFF dies. For Amy (Coupe), who seriously lacks the maternal gene, that means spending more time with her kids; for Jodie (Goodwin), a health kick complicated by her crush on her young trainer; and most improbably, for Dr. Sarah (Q), a career change from dedicated physician to grocery-store bagger. Pretty easy to pivot from this to anything else on TV. Pivoting moves to Thursdays on Jan. 13 along with Call Me Kat, which kicks off its second season (Sunday, 8/7c) on a meta note with a reunion of star Mayim Bialik’s former Blossom co-stars Joey Lawrence, Jenna von Oy and Michael Stoyanov.
Binge Betty White:
- The beloved comedienne-actress-personality, who died on New Year’s Eve at 99, can be seen in her prime on several cable networks (as well as streaming on Hulu in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls). Game-show haven BUZZR replays her greatest moments on Match Game in a daylong Saturday marathon starting at 10:30 am/ET. Decades presents a weekend binge of her Mary Tyler Moore appearances beginning Saturday at 1 pm/ET, while MeTV selects four of her best MTM episodes—starting with the Season 4 opener, “The Lars Affair”—for a mini-marathon Sunday at 2 pm/ET, followed by vintage episodes of Mama’s Family and The Love Boat (with co-star Carol Channing).
- Over two nights, A&E’s BTK: Confessions of a Serial Killer (Saturday and Sunday, 9/8c) puts viewers inside the head of Dennis “Bind-Torture-Kill” Rader with the help of Dr. Katherine Ramsland, who had unprecedented access to him for more than a decade.
- On CBS’ 48 Hours (Saturday, 10/9c), Richard Schlesinger investigates the twisted case of former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Steven Dana Pankey, whose public obsession with the 1984 kidnap-murder of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews led to him going on trial for the crime. Was he guilty, or just an overzealous true-crime junkie?
- Someone They Knew … with Tamron Hall (Sunday, 9/8c, Court TV): The daytime host and news veteran fronts a series that traces a crime from the moment when a victim first met their killer, told from the perspective of lawyers, jurors, law enforcement and victims’ family and friends.
Fictional Crime Watch:
- Back with new seasons: PBS’s Vienna Blood (Sunday, 10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), the period-piece whodunit set in 1900s Vienna, where Freud disciple Max Liebermann (Matthew Beard) teams with DI Oskar Rheinhardt (Juergen Maurer) to solve two-part mysteries. Streaming on BritBox starting Sunday: the second half of Season 11 of Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn as the seasoned detective solving crimes in Northumberland.
Inside Weekend TV:
- 1883 (Sunday, streaming on Paramount+): A task easier said than done on the hit Yellowstone prequel: a wagon train’s river crossing. Also on the streamer: the Season 1 finale of Mayor of Kingstown, where Mike (Jeremy Renner) tries to stop a prison riot.
- The Winter Palace (Saturday, 8/7c, GAC Family): The Wonder Years’ Danica McKellar, who has a multi-picture deal with the feel-good network, debuts with a romcom about a blocked romance writer who takes up residence in an estate that just happens to be owned by a crown prince (Neal Bledsoe).
- The Wedding Veil (Saturday, 9/8c, Hallmark Channel): Three of Hallmark’s fan favorites—Lacey Chabert, Autumn Reeser and Alison Sweeney—star in the first of a trilogy about college friends who discover a magical antique veil that according to legend will unite its bearer with her true love.
- Unfinished Business (Saturday, 9/8c, HGTV): A new series features home-renovation coach Tom Reber, who helps homeowners get unstuck on makeover projects they’ve let languish for years.
- Simply Giada (Sunday, 11:30 am/10:30c, Food Network): Like a master class in food prep, network star Giada De Laurentiis’ latest tutorial offers tips for planning the ideal menu and finding healthy tweaks to classic recipes.
- 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7:30/6:30c, 7 pm/PT): Reports include Bill Whitaker’s investigation of the “Great Resignation” labor shortage, Norah O’Donnell’s profile of StoryCorps founder Dave Isay and Jon Wertheim’s celebration of the NFL’s most underappreciated position: the kicker.
- The Equalizer (Sunday, 8:30/7:30c, 8/PT, CBS): Queen Latifah’s Robyn McCall is on familiar musical ground in an episode where she’s called to intervene in a deadly dispute between rap crews. Rick Ross guests as Dilemma, a famous rapper whose wife asks McCall to prove his innocence in a rival’s murder.