A critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
This Is Us (9/8c, NBC): The last few episodes have been even more wrenching than usual for the “Big Three” Pearson kids, and the tear-jerking tradition continues for “Number Three”—that would be Randall (Sterling K. Brown), so nicknamed for when he started walking—as the “Number” trilogy wraps the family drama’s fall run. (The show returns Jan. 2.) The poignant pain of foster parenting is never more acute than when the child’s temporary stay is interrupted by the surprise return of the biological parent. When that possibility presents itself to Randall and wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), regarding their emotionally fragile ward Deja (Lyric Ross), emotions run high. The situation is further complicated by Randall’s memories of his late fathers: biological dad William (Ron Cephas Jones), from whom he was separated for most of his life; and adoptive dad Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), who takes young Randall on a college tour on one of the most fateful days in the Pearson family scrapbook.
The Long Road Home (10/9c, National Geographic Channel): The focus of this week’s powerful episode is on Iraqi interpreter Jassim (the excellent Darius Homayoun). His conflicted loyalties are explored in depth, both before the U.S. occupation and during the current siege, when he must continue to prove himself to the distrustful soldiers while trying to keep peace within the household in which they’ve taken refuge.
At Home With Amy Sedaris (10:30/9:30c, truTV): It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays on Amy’s wacky send-up of craft and cooking shows. But when a cursed nutcracker spoils her elaborate entertaining plans, she turns to some otherworldly visitors (Darrell Hammond and David Costabile) for help. In the “Crafting Corner” segment, Jane Krakowski drops in as the celebrity guest.
Inside Tuesday TV: Want to really get in the Christmas spirit? Gather all ye misfits round the TV for CBS’s annual showing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (8/7c). … On a much more irreverent note, Comedy Central’s Drunk History Christmas Special (10/9c) enlists the likes of Rob Corddry, Colin Hanks and Ken Marino to boozily re-enact seasonal events including George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. … Have lingerie, will travel. And so it goes as CBS’s annual broadcast of The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show takes its act to Shanghai, China for the first time.