Literary Mystery and Spy Thrills, ‘Scrooge’ and More Holiday TV, ‘Young Rock’s Daddy Issue, ‘Blue Bloods’ Conflict

From the bookshelf to TV, Prime Video adapts Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries, and Apple TV+ delivers a second season of the Slow Horses spy franchise. Leading the TV yuletide parade: a new animated Scrooge. NBC’s Young Rock reflects on the future pro wrestler’s relationship with his father. On Blue Bloods, Erin clashes with her investigator.

Three Pines - Alfred Molina - Armand Gamache and Reine-Marie Gamache
prime video

Three Pines

Series Premiere

Louise Penny’s best-selling Inspector Gamache mysteries come to streaming TV in an adaptation starring an understated Alfred Molina (Spider-Man) as the unusually thoughtful Chief Inspector, who’s assigned with his team to investigate a puzzling murder (the first of several) in the remote and gossipy Quebec village of Three Pines. Each mystery comprises two episodes (dropping weekly, eight over four Fridays), with a continuing storyline involving the disappearance and murders of Indigenous women, which becomes an obsession for Gamache even at the risk of his career.

Gary Oldman - 'Slow Horses'
Apple Tv

Slow Horses

Season Premiere

The deliciously droll spy thriller adapted from Mick Herron’s terrific book series returns for a second season (covering the novel Dead Lions), with the disgraced spies of rundown Slough House on the trail of sleeper agents after the suspected murder of a retired field agent. Their irascible boss, Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman), has a personal connection to this case, which makes him more irritable than usual when two of his flunkies are tapped by MI5’s obsequious James “Spider” Webb (Freddie Fox) to do an off-the-books surveillance that’s bound to go sideways.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol. (L to R) Marley, Scrooge in Scrooge: A Christmas Carol

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol

Movie Premiere

We’d say stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but it seems every year we’re being treated to new versions of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Hewing close to the source material is director Stephen Donnelly’s colorful animated musical, with reimagined songs from the late Leslie Bricusse and Luke Evans voicing the curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s overdue to be reunited with his humanity.

Young Rock - Season 3
Katherine Bomboy/NBC

Young Rock

Dwayne Johnson’s semi-autobiographical comedy looks back at 1988 with a poignant flashback based on a real incident, when teenage Dewey (Bradley Constant) and his dad Rocky (the charismatic Joseph Lee Anderson) are locked overnight inside a restaurant where the failed wrestler Rocky has taken a cleaning job. Rocky takes the opportunity to level with his admiring son about the state of his stalled career.

Blue Bloods - Tom Selleck and Bridget Moynahan
John Paul Filo. ©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved

Blue Bloods

There’s never a silent night for the Reagans, when police commissioner Frank (Tom Selleck) wakes waves after seeking to discipline an off-duty cop for his inaction during an armed robbery. And there’s conflict in A.D.A. Erin’s (Bridget Moynahan) office, when she clashes with investigator Anthony (Steven Schirripa) about his daughter, the sole eyewitness to a shooting.

TV Yule Log: 

Inside Friday TV:

  • True Crime Watch: ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) takes a deep dive into the 2017 disappearance of 15-year-old Tennessee student Elizabeth Thomas, who was taken by her 50-year-old high-school teacher Tad Cummins, initiating a 38-day manhunt. The report includes new evidence, never-broadcast interrogation footage and new interviews with prosecutors and investigators. On Dateline NBC (9/8c), Andrea Canning reports on an African safari gone wrong in 2016, when dentist Larry Rudolph’s wife Bianca was shot and killed during a hunting trip in Zambia.
  • Fire Country (9/8c, CBS): Who you gonna suspect when a designer watch goes missing from a clean-up site? Naturally, Bode’s (Max Thieriot) crew of inmate firefighters.
  • Netflix’s overstuffed roster includes a new adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s torrid Lady Chatterley’s Lover, starring The Crown’s Emma Corrin; Sr., director Chris Smith’s documentary about iconoclastic filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr.; and second seasons of female buddy soap Firefly Lane and docuseries My Unorthodox Life.
  • Riches (streaming on Prime Video): Ted Lasso’s Sarah Niles is the matriarch in a trashy soap about a wealthy Black family’s British hair-cosmetics empire in disarray after the founder suddenly dies. Also on Prime Video: the Season 1 finale of the mind-blowing sci-fi thriller The Peripheral.
  • Darby and the Dead (streaming on Hulu): Riele Downs is Darby, whose ability to see dead people takes on a new dimension when her school’s queen bee (Auli’I Cravalho) passes away on the eve of her “Sweet 17” party.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (streaming on Disney+): A sequel to the animated reboot focuses on the fraught relationship of well-meaning middle-schooler Greg Heffley (Brady Noon) and his rowdy older brother Rodrick (Hunter Dillon).
  • Sean Patton: Number One (streaming on Peacock): Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che presents a set from New Orleans’ Tipitina’s club starring Patton, a self-described “one-man army of buffoonery.” Also new to Peacock: Billy Eichner’s acclaimed gay romcom Bros, which struggled at the box office but may find its audience on streaming.