What's On: ‘black-ish’ on diabetes, a Christmas ‘Bull,’ Gwen Stefani’s Christmas special

Matt Roush
ABC

A critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:

black-ish (9/8c): The comedy series gets real in this year’s holiday episode when Dre is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a condition shared by series star Anthony Anderson. When Dre decides he can cure himself, he gets a reality check at the office holiday party. In a somewhat lighter subplot, young Jack (Miles Brown) is convinced baby Devante hates him, and turns to his other sibs for help.

Bull (9/8c, CBS): It’s beginning to look a lot like you-know-what when even the procedurals are getting warm and fuzzy. The latest to succumb is Michael Weatherly’s legal drama, in which the famously unattached title character finds himself infused with the holiday spirit when a judge appoints him temporary guardian of a 9-year-old girl who only wanted to hire Bull to help her divorce her own parents. No Grinches allowed this week.

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr. (8/7c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Or you could opt for the actual Dr. Phil McGraw (on whose early career Bull is based), who learns some of his turbulent family history in this engrossing genealogy series. In an episode devoted to “Southern Roots,” it is revealed that Dr. Phil’s third great-grandfather was killed by his own slave in Texas, while three generations earlier, an immigrant ancestor arrived in Virginia as an indentured servant. Other guests include Questlove, who learns the name of his original African ancestors, and journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who traces her lineage to her family’s plantation past.

Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas (9/8c, NBC): The Voice coach appears with her off-camera squeeze Blake Shelter to sing the title duet in her first holiday musical special. Music and comedy are provided by guests including NE-YO, Seth MacFarlane, Ken Jeong and Chelsea Handler. An hour earlier, in the live semi-final results show of The Voice (8/7c), former Voice contestants return to perform Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time.” Members of The Voice: Neon Dreams, a show scheduled to open in Las Vegas next spring, include Alisan Porter, Chris Mann, Mary Sarah, Matthew Schuler, Matt McAndrew and Michael Sanchez.

Inside Tuesday TV: Judd Apatow, now famous as a writer-director-producer on screens small and large, revisits his roots in stand-up comedy for the Netflix special Judd Apatow: The Return (streaming Tuesday), filmed at this year’s Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. … ABC’s The Middle (8/7c) once again explores the vagaries of faith, when Axl (Charlie McDermott) declares he won’t be attending church this holiday season because he’s questioning his beliefs. Mike (Neil Flynn) has his own struggles closer to home, as he takes on those American vandals the Glossners, who’ve been targeting his inflatable snowman. … In the penultimate episode of National Geographic Channel’s gripping docudrama The Long Road Home (10/9c), the backstory of volatile Sgt. Bourquin (Jon Beavers) is revealed as he prepares for a last stand in Sadr City, Iraq, while awaiting rescue. … The newsmagazine format of HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (10/9c) takes a breather as the host gathers a roundtable of his correspondents—Mary Carillo, Bernard Goldberg, Jon Frankel, Andrea Kremer, Soledad O’Brien and David Scott—to look back at some of the top sports stories and features from the past year.

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