‘Mythic Quest’ Flashback and More Apple Treats, Netflix’s Spy ‘Recruit,’ Christmas Episodes (‘Lopez,’ ‘Rock’) and Movies
The Apple TV+ comedy Mythic Quest looks back at how the video game’s visionaries fared as kids. Netflix presents a tongue-in-cheek spy thriller with Noah Centineo as The Recruit. NBC comedies Lopez vs. Lopez and Young Rock get in the holiday spirit, along with an array of movies and specials.
Some of the best moments in this workplace comedy about video-game visionaries have come from the characters’ pasts—example: Season 2’s “Backstory!” episode revealing the origin story of former cast member F. Murray Abraham. In this week’s standout stand-alone episode, we look in on creative director Ian (Rob McElhenny) and engineer Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) when they were kids, indulging passions that made them outsiders in their very different worlds. Judah Prehn (Resident Alien) is the young Ian, whose bipolar mom (a heartbreaking Lindsey Kraft) is the only one who appreciates the boy’s imagination. Isla Rose Hall is young Poppy, growing up in Melbourne, Australia, begging her parents for access to the brave new world of the Internet.
The Apple streamer is especially busy this week, featuring the season finale of the sprawling epic set in India, where Lin (Charlie Hunnam) is desperate to escape the authorities on his trail, but keeps getting drawn back to his friends’ perils. “You’ll never need to catch me as much as I’ll need to be free,” Lin warns his pursuers. The streamer just announced that it won’t be bringing back the show for a second season, so its fate now depends on whether any other broadcaster takes it up. More thrills in the sixth chapter of the kidnap caper Echo 3, where mercenaries Bambi (Luke Evans) and Prince (Michiel Huisman) plot an elaborate abduction of their own to get leverage to free their beloved Amber (Jessica Ann Collins). On the offbeat spy dramedy Slow Horses, undercover agent River (Jack Lowden) comes face to face with his adversary in England’s idyllic Cotswolds. On a lighter note, the bilingual comedy Acapulco wraps its second season.
From The Rookie’s Alexi Hawley and The Bourne Identity’s Doug Liman comes a spy story with a wry twist. The hero is hardly James Bond material: Owen Hendricks (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’s Noah Centineo), a green CIA newbie fresh out of law school, immediately thrust into a case involving a former asset (Laura Haddock) who’s threatening to expose the agency. Owen is out of his depth, which doesn’t mean he won’t rise to the occasion over the course of the eight-episode season. Other Netflix premieres range from the goofy—Dance Monsters, a competition for dancers disguised as CGI avatars—to the arty: BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, Alejandro G. Iñarritu’s (Roma) existential bid for Oscar attention. There’s also the familiar: Cook at All Costs, a culinary competition where contestants bid on ingredients and the winner takes home whatever’s left in the bank. For nature and documentary fans: The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari relives the horror of the December 2019 eruption off the New Zealand coast that claimed 22 lives.
The Yule Log:
- Let’s start with Very Special Episodes of NBC’s Friday sitcoms. On Lopez vs. Lopez (8/7c), Mayan (Mayan Lopez) schemes to get her divorced parents (George Lopez and Selenis Leyva) to celebrate Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) together, while Young Rock (8:30/7:30) finds Dwayne Johnson looking back on a history of gift-giving mishaps. Other holiday TV highlights:
- The Greatest @Home Holiday Videos (9/8c, CBS): Cedric the Entertainer welcomes Santa to view the host’s personally selected 12 Videos of Christmas. Preceded by a replay of the animated Reindeer in Here (8/7c).
- A Christmas to Treasure (8/7c, Lifetime): Childhood friends reunite for a treasure hunt, forging an unexpected connection between Austin (Taylor Frey) and his one-time bestie, Everett (Kyle Dean Massey).
- Holiday Heritage (8/7c, Hallmark Channel): Lyndie Greenwood is Ella, who returns home on a mission to heal the division between her mother (Holly Robinson Peete) and grandmother (Darlene Cooke), with a climactic Kwanzaa celebration to seal the deal.
- The 90th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (8/7c, The CW): Actor Danny Trejo serves as grand marshal for the festivities, supporting Marine Toys for Tots. Keep an eye out for movie cars and soap stars.
Inside Friday TV:
- Craft in America (9/8c and 10/9c, PBS): With the themes of “Inspiration” and “Home,” the Peabody-winning series returns with another immersive look at hand-crafted masterpieces.
- Love After Lockup (9/8c, WE tv): Four new couples and two Love During Lockup alums learn how to live together after incarceration in the fourth season’s winter premiere.
- If These Walls Could Sing (streaming on Disney+): Director Mary McCartney grew up with father Paul at Abbey Road studios and recounts its fabled history with his help, plus commentary from the likes of Ringo Starr, Elton John, John Williams and Liam Gallagher.
- The Amber Ruffin Show (streaming on Peacock): Emmy-winning late-night host John Oliver joins Amber (who co-wrote the book for the new hit Broadway musical Some Like It Hot) for her season finale.
- Litvinenko (streaming on Sundance Now): David Tennant stars in a four-part docudrama as former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, whose 2006 poisoning murder (allegedly ordered by Russian President Putin) led to an international manhunt and a years-long crusade for justice by his widow, Marina (Margarita Levieva).
- Snow Day (streaming on Paramount+): In collaboration with Nickelodeon, a musical update of the 2000 film introduces a new group of kids who take full advantage of a day off school. (Did no one hear of Zoom?)
- Metallica Presents: The Helping Hands Concert (8:30/7:30c, 5:30 pm/PT, Paramount+): Jimmy Kimmel hosts the heavy metal band’s live concert from L.A.’s Microsoft Theater, benefiting their All Within My Hands charitable foundation.