Tim Allen in ‘Santa Clauses,’ Thanksgiving Comedy on ABC, Thor Tests His Limits, Cook with Martha
Tim Allen’s Santa Clause franchise moves to streaming, as the jolly North Pole icon seeks his replacement. Happy Endings’ Casey Wilson joins the Thanksgiving table on Home Economics on ABC’s mostly holiday-driven sitcom lineup. Marvel movie star Chris Hemsworth tests his physical and mental limits in a docuseries designed to help viewers live better for longer. Martha Stewart dishes up a new cooking series from her Bedford, N.Y. farm.
The Santa Clauses
No one said being Santa Claus had to be a lifetime gig. And so after nearly 30 years in the sleigh’s driver seat, the jolly Santa who once was Scott Calvin (Tim Allen reprising his role from the movie franchise) decides to hang it up when his magic begins to wane. His search for a suitable replacement fuels this six-part comedy series, launching with two episodes, followed by weekly installments.
There’s an extra sibling at the Hayworth family Thanksgiving table this year—make that half-sibling, as their newly discovered half-sister Harmony (Happy Endings’ Casey Wilson) creates some disharmony among Tom (Topher Grace), Sarah (Caitlin McGee) and Connor (Jimmy Tatro). Adding to the awkwardness: It’s the first time she’ll meet her biological dad, Marshall (Phil Reeves) and wife Muriel (Nora Dunn). On the other hand, daughters-in-law Marina (Karla Souza) and Denise (Sasheer Zamata) see this interloper’s disruption as an opportunity to gain favor.
As Thanksgiving threads its way through ABC’s comedy lineup, the Conners struggle to look on the bright side, with Darlene (Sara Gilbert) still looking for work, and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) facing the fact that her favorite nemesis, feisty Grandma Bev (Estelle Parsons), in in declining health. On The Goldbergs (8:30/7:30c), the family carries on for their first Turkey Day without patriarch Murray.
Bucking the holiday trend, it’s business as usual for the Emmy-winning comedy, with class in session and Janine (Quinta Brunson) insisting her second-graders join in on an egg-drop physics experiment intended for the eighth-grade science class. How could that go wrong?
Limitless With Chris Hemsworth
The Thor star has a physique anyone would envy, and yet Chris Hemsworth feels compelled to test his limits, mentally and physically, in a set of extreme feats designed to unlock anti-aging secrets and allow him to reach the human body’s full potential. In a six-part series, Hemsworth learns to manage stress by walking along a narrow crane arm with no railings atop a 900-foot-tall Sydney skyscraper. He then brings brothers Liam and Luke along to swim and surf in the frigid Arctic waters of Norway, on the notion that exposure to extreme temps can trigger the bodies’ defenses again killer diseases associated with old age. Other challenges involve fasting, spearfishing off the Great Barrier Reef, a 100-foot rope climb from a cable car, and wearing an aging suit in a retirement village to learn about accepting one’s limits.
Martha Stewart invites viewers to her farm in Bedford, N.Y. for a tutorial on how to replicate her favorite recipes, from strawberry jam (made with ripe berries from her garden) to paella for a crowd. She shares wisdom with world-famous chefs and her nearest and dearest over 10 episodes, two dropping each week. And should you need a refresher on etiquette, flip over to Netflix for Mind Your Manners, a six-episode series of pointers from etiquette teacher Sara Jane Ho on how to present your best self in public.
Inside Wednesday TV:
- Survivor (8/7c, CBS): The castaways are rocked by a double tribal council with two blindsides. Back at camp, several of the players plot revenge after being left out of the last vote.
- Master of Light (8:30/7:30c, HBO): An acclaimed documentary follows artist George Anthony Morton on a spiritual journey from federal prison, where he spent 10 years during which he honed his craft, to his Kansas City hometown, where he reconciles with his family while painting them in the style of Dutch Old Masters.
- American Horror Story: NYC (10/9c, FX): “The darkness always wins.” That’s the tagline as the latest season of the grisly anthology wraps with a two-episode finale.
- Chicago P.D. (10/9c, NBC): Chief O’Neal (Michael Gaston) schemes to divert the Intelligence Unit from investigating his son (Jefferson White) by assigning the team a low-level “dead fish” case that turns out to be very live indeed.
- Documentary Now! (10/9c, IFC): The season finale of the inspired mock-doc showcase spoofs auteur filmmaking in “Trouver Frisson,” when a famous French filmmaker (Liliane Rovère, channeling Agnes Varda) goes on an existential search for the goosebumps that inspire her work.
- Leverage: Redemption (streaming on Amazon Freezee): The Mission: Impossible-style caper returns for a new season (launching with the first three of 13 episodes) with Sophie (Gina Bellman) and her team staging elaborate cons to take down wealthy ne’er-do-wells.
- The Wonder (streaming on Netflix): Florence Pugh (Little Women) stars in a moody period-piece psychological mystery as a 19th-century nurse in the Irish Midlands who’s tasked with evaluating whether a young girl’s months-long fast is a miracle or something more sinister.
- In Her Hands (streaming on Netflix): A timely documentary profiles Zarifa Ghafari, who became one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors at age 26, fighting for women’s rights as the country unravels and the Taliban regains power.
- Where Is Private Dulaney? (streaming on Hulu): From ABC News Studios, a three-part docuseries follows a mother’s quest to learn what happened to her son, Private Leroy Dulaney, when he vanished from his Marine base in North Carolina in 1979.