Parades and Football, ‘Criminal Minds’ Evolves, Justin Hartley in ‘Noel Diary’
A Happy Thanksgiving to all who gather in front of the TV to watch the annual Macy’s parade as a prelude to a feast of football. Be sure to digest before digging into Criminal Minds: Evolution, a reboot of the long-running crime drama now on Paramount+ (with the first episode airing on CBS). This Is Us alum Justin Hartley stars in the Netflix holiday film The Noel Diary.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Marching bands, Broadway shows, big balloons, celebrities and Santa Claus: Yes, it’s the Macy’s parade, enthralling a nationwide audience to kick off Thanksgiving Day on TV. The Today crew of Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker host the three-hour event—if you miss it, they’ll repeat it at 2 pm ET/1c—as they introduce bands from across the country, colorful floats, new helium balloons (including Astronaut Snoopy, Star Wars’ Grogu and the new Bluey) and performances from Broadway musicals Funny Girl, A Beautiful Noise, Some Like It Hot and The Lion King. Stars participating include Paula Abdul, Jordin Sparks, Gloria, Sasha and Emily Estefan, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, Ziggy Marley, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, Dionne Warwick and Betty Who.
The National Dog Show
For the 21st year, NBC follows the arrival of Santa Claus by heading to the dog house with the canine celebration from Philadelphia. John O’Hurley returns as host with judge David Frei providing expert analysis. Three new breeds join the party: the Mudi, a Hungarian farm dog (Herding Group); the Bracco Italiano (Sporting Group) and the Russian Toy (Toy Group).
Criminal Minds: Evolution
Not to be confused with the dessert course, this grisliest of long-running crime dramas returns as a streaming exclusive on Paramount+, with the first episode airing on its former broadcast home of CBS as a tease (no doubt infuriating many who lament the industry tilt to streaming). Most of the original cast is back, though scattered to the winds, as Rossi (Joe Mantegna) and the Behavioral Analysis Unit team rally despite bureaucratic interference to uncover a network of serial killers that formed online during the pandemic. In the two-episode streaming premiere, as the BAU tracks a family annihilator and then an Unsub who severs victims’ spinal cords, it soon becomes clear they’re not going to get to the root of this evil without bringing back Penelope Garcia (the delightful Kirsten Vangsness), who’d much rather be leading her anglophile baking club. And who can blame her?
The Noel Diary
From the novel by Richard Paul Evans, a holiday heartwarmer stars This Is Us star Justin Hartley as Jake, a famous author who journeys into his past when he goes home to settle his mother’s estate and meets Rachel (Barrett Doss), who’s desperate to learn more about her own mother, Noel. How their families are linked, and how Jake and Rachel grow closer (no surprise there) after she discovers her mother’s journal, guarantee a feel-good, poignant ride.
NFL & College Football:
- The afternoon lineup features the Buffalo Bills taking on the Detroit Lions on CBS (12:30 pm/ET) and the New York Giants facing the Dallas Cowboys on Fox (4:30 pm/ET). The prime-time game is a match-up between the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings on NBC (8:20 pm/ET). For those looking for college football action, the Egg Bowl brings rivals Mississippi State and Ole Miss together (7 pm/ET, ESPN) in the Battle for the Golden Egg.
The Yule Log:
- Holly and the Hot Chocolate (streaming on QVC+): Look who’s joining the Christmas movie parade. QVC host David Venable came up with the idea for this movie (and plays a hot-chocolate vendor), in which a big-city food critic tastes holiday spirit in a special hot-chocolate recipe that’s all the rage in quaint Pine Falls. Don’t be surprised to see Venable on air selling the special brew in days to come.
- Baking All the Way (8/7c, Lifetime): Another tasty holiday outing, when Chicago pastry chef Julia (Cory Lee) heads to a small town for a special gingerbread recipe to finish her cookbook. But first, she’s got to get the secret out of the bakery’s aloof owner (Yannick Bisson).
- My Southern Family Christmas (8/7c, Hallmark Channel): Grey’s Anatomy’s Jaicy Elliott plays Campbell, who poses as a journalist to get close to her biological father (Bruce Campbell) without revealing her identity. At least for now.
- Streaming on BET+: The Christmas Clapback, Holiday Hideaway and The Sound of Christmas.
Inside Thursday TV:
- A Thanksgiving Roast (starts at 6 am/ET, Decades): No, this isn’t a new menu idea, just the annual 24-hour marathon of classic episodes of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast from the 1970s and ’80s. The late, great Betty White takes her turn at noon/ET.
- The Masked Singer (8/7c, Fox): For the first time, it’s a three-way battle at the semifinals in a Thanksgiving-themed episode. Followed by a Marvel Cinematic Universe-inspired round of competition for the remaining five teams in LEGO Masters (9/8c).
- Good Rivals (streaming on Prime Video): While millions watch the World Cup, a three-part docuseries focuses on the decades-long rivalry between the Mexican and U.S. national soccer teams.
- Fleishman Is in Trouble (streaming on Hulu): See how Toby (Jesse Eisenberg) met Rachel (Claire Danes) in happier times, and how things began to go off the rails as Toby reflects on the long, painful arc of his broken marriage.
- Miss Scarlet and the Duke (streaming on PBS Passport and the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel): For those who can’t wait until the PBS broadcast in January, all six episodes of the Victorian mystery series’ third season are available just days after Season 2 concluded.