Tis the Season (Had You Heard?), ’60 Minutes’ Goes to the Dogs, Kelly Rowland on ‘Equalizer’ & Oprah Meets Quinta
A CNN special surveys the history of holiday movies and TV specials, just in time for a flurry of new holiday movies and TV specials, including a new Christmas showcase for Mickey Mouse. Anderson Cooper presents two 60 Minutes reports with surprising facts about man’s best friend (dogs). Kelly Rowland guests on The Equalizer as a music superstar in peril. Oprah Winfrey turns her spotlight on Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson.
Tis the Season: The Holidays on Screen
SUNDAY: Surely you’ve noticed by now that Christmas-themed programming is everywhere you look. It’s part of a rich history of holiday movies and TV specials, surveyed in a two-hour special from executive producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog (The Sixties, etc.). With archival footage from many of our favorites, Tis the Season also features commentary from an eclectic array of filmmakers, celebrities, critics and historians, including Ken Burns, Tim Burton, Vince Gilligan, Hanks, Ron Howard, Phil Rosenthal—and Dr. Anthony Fauci?
Mickey Saves Christmas
SUNDAY: The weekend’s highest-profile new holiday special stars Disney icon Mickey Mouse in a stop-motion animated half-hour in which he, Minnie and their friends head to the South Pole after Pluto causes Santa to lose all the presents on his sleigh. Simulcast on Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD. Followed on ABC by a repeat of the Frozen spinoff Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (7:30/6:30c) and the two-hour The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration (8/7c) with musical performances from Disney’s theme parks.
SUNDAY: Correspondent Anderson Cooper does double duty with segments involving our canine companions. In “Survival of the Friendliest,” he reports on the evolution of dogs from wolves as they developed “friendliness mutations” that can also be found in a human condition called Williams Syndrome. A second segment deals with Comparative Oncology, a growing scientific field in which physicians and veterinarians study similar cancers in people and pet dogs, hoping to find treatments for both species. In a more sobering piece, Scott Pelley reports from Clearwater, Florida, where the search is on for lost graves from erased African-American cemeteries.
SUNDAY: Grammy-winning singer Kelly Rowland guests as a music superstar who needs Robyn’s (Queen Latifah) help when a scary fan letter causes her to think of retiring. Her security chief (Sullivan Jones) seeks out the Equalizer to ease her fears. What are the odds they’ll duet by the climax?
Let the Right One In
SUNDAY: The storylines begin to converge in a pivotal episode of the vampire drama, when detective Naomi (Anika Noni Rose) follows the drug trail to Claire Logan (Grace Gummer) at her family’s Long Island manse, where her experiments in vampiric virus research have taken a grisly new turn. Back in Brooklyn, Mark (Demián Bichir) takes Naomi on a date, gleaning information that may lead him to Claire’s doorstep as well. And how will Mark take the news that vampire daughter Eleanor (Madison Taylor Baez) has shared her secret with neighbor BFF Isaiah (Ian Foreman)? Not well.
The White Lotus
SUNDAY: Tanya (Emmy winner Jennifer Coolidge) is beside herself with glee when Quentin (Tom Hollander) and his pals whisk her away from the White Lotus to Palermo for a debauched getaway. Back at the resort, young Albie (Adam DiMarco) is in for a surprise after his overnight tryst with Lucia (Simona Tabasco), and Harper (Aubrey Plaza) isn’t about to let sleeping dogs lie when it comes to the guys’ night of partying with the local talent.
The Yule Log:
- I’m Glad It’s Christmas (Saturday, 8/7c, Great American Family): Music legend Gladys Knight appears in the story of a would-be Broadway singer (Jessica Lowndes) who finds a mentor, and maybe love, as she participates in a local Christmas celebration.
- The 12 Days of Christmas Eve (Saturday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Frasier’s Kelsey Grammer co-stars with daughter Spencer Grammer as a businessman who’s neglected his family for years, but after a Christmas Eve car accident, gets 12 days (and chances) to get things right.
- Saturday’s Hallmark Channel offerings include A Tale of Two Christmases (6/5c), in which Emma (Wynonna Earp’s Kat Barrell) gets to experience parallel holidays at home and in the city—and which will win out, we (don’t) wonder. In Haul Out the Holly (8/7c), channel favorite Lacey Chabert heads home to her parents’ empty house, only to get swept up in neighborhood festivities.
- Time for Him to Come Home for Christmas (Saturday, 10/9c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): The fifth movie inspired by producer Blake Shelton’s “Time for Me to Come Home.”
- Faith Heist: A Christmas Caper (Saturday, 8/7c, Bounce): A sequel to Faith Heist stars Jonathan Langdon as Pastor Benjamin, trapped with his congregants in a mall on Christmas Eve when thieves break in.
- A Christmas Spark (Sunday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Jane Seymour reunites with her Dr. Quinn leading man Joe Lando in the story of a widow finding new love when she directs a town’s Christmas pageant.
- Hallmark Channel’s Sunday treats: A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe (6/5c) stars Rachel Boston as a cookie company CEO who enlists local baker Victor Webster to recreate a stolen secret recipe. In A Holiday Spectacular (8/7c), the Radio City Rockettes and the legendary Ann-Margret appear in a period piece about Maggie (Wicked’s Ginna Claire Mason), a Philly heiress who in 1958 puts her wedding on hold to chase her dream of becoming a Rockette.
- A Christmas… Present (Sunday, 8/7c, Great American Family): Candance Cameron Bure hopes to put controversy behind her in this “traditional” family film, co-starring with Marc Blucas as busy parents who head with their teen kids to her widowed brother’s home for the holiday.
- Dognapped: Hound for the Holidays (Sunday, 8/7c, Ion): When a social-media influencer’s precious dog is kidnapped, her assistant teams with a local vet to retrieve the pup before Christmas, or she’ll be in the doghouse.
- Perennial favorites include the animated Robbie the Reindeer and The Story of Santa Claus on CBS (Saturday, 8/7c and 9/8c), and on The CW, Silent Night—A Song for the World (Saturday, 8/7c).
Inside Weekend TV:
- OWN Spotlight: Oprah and Quinta Brunson Abbott Elementary (Saturday, 9/8c, OWN): Oprah Winfrey sits with Emmy-winning Abbott Elementary creator/star Quinta Brunson to discuss the hit comedy’s roots and Brunson’s own childhood, mentors and career. Given Oprah’s love for learning, it’s little wonder this wonderful series has captured her attention.
- Byron Allen Presents theGrio Awards (Saturday, 8/7c, CBS): Yolanda Adams, Tyrese, Fantasia and Music Icon Award recipient Patti LaBelle perform in the inaugural ceremony of an event, held at the Beverly Hilton, honoring cultural and civic leaders in the African-American community. Other recipients include Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Norman Lear (Champion Award), Tyler Perry, Kenan Thompson and the ever-controversial Dave Chappelle (Cultural Icon).
- 48 Hours (Saturday, 10/9c, CBS): Eric Moriarty reports on the case of Michael Politte, charged with his mother’s murder as a teenager and now out on parole after nearly 20 years, still claiming his innocence and telling Moriarty he knows who’s responsible.
- East New York (Sunday, 9/8c, CBS): In the urban crime drama’s midseason finale, Deputy Inspector Haywood (Amanda Warren) second-guesses a retired policeman’s “suicide” after learning he was wanted to reveal a list of crooked cops.
- This Is Life with Lisa Ling (Sunday, 10/9c, CNN): The journalist returns for a final season of provocative reports, starting with a study of how technology is shaping love, sex and relationships after the recent years of COVID-19 isolation.