Claire Foy Hosts ‘SNL,’ Garth Brooks Plays Notre Dame, ‘Life-Size 2’ and Many More Holiday Movies
A critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
Saturday Night Live (Saturday, 11:30/10:30c, NBC): We’re used to seeing Claire Foy play royalty: the ill-fated Anne Boleyn in PBS’s Wolf Hall, and more famously as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, winning her an Emmy and Golden Globe. Having recently graced the big screen with dramatic turns in First Man and The Girl in the Spider’s Web, she gives comedy a try in her first turn as SNL guest host. Let’s hope the show rises to the occasion. Anderson .Paak is the first-time musical guest.
Garth: Live at Notre Dame! (Sunday, 8/7c, CBS): It took just three hours for Country Music Hall of Famer Garth Brooks to sell out the 80,000-seat Notre Dame Stadium, the first concert ever at the iconic Indiana university’s arena. Shouldn’t be a surprise, though, given the success of his recently completed three-and-a-half-year Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood. Don’t worry about him catching a December chill. The concert was filmed in October.
Life-Size 2 (Sunday, 9/8c, Freeform): The highest-profile of the weekend’s many holiday movies is a sequel to 2000’s Disney Channel hit starring Tyra Banks as Eve, a fashionista doll come to bubbly life. In the follow-up, when a 20something toy-company CEO (grown-ish’s Francia Raisa) considers discontinuing the Eve doll, guess who reawakens to set the executive straight? (If you want a refresher on the original movie, Freeform repeats the first Life-Size movie Saturday at 11:55 pm/10:55c and Sunday afternoon at 2:35/1:35c.)
So what, you may ask, are Hallmark and Lifetime offering? Plenty. Saturday’s premieres: Mingle All the Way (Saturday, 8/7c, Hallmark), the name of a networking app that brings together two A-list professionals; Christmas Wonderland (9/8, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries), starring Emily Osment as a NYC art dealer who goes back home to Pleasant Valley, PA to babysit her niece and nephew and falls all over again for her high-school sweetheart; A Twist of Christmas (8/7c, Lifetime), about two single parents whose toy purchases get mixed up at the store. Sorting things out lead to, what else, romance.
Sunday’s premieres: A Majestic Christmas (Hallmark, 8/7c), starring Grey’s Anatomy’s Jerrika Hinton and Christian Vincent as an architect and theater owner who clash over the future of the Majestic Theater. Until they don’t… Friday Night Lights’ Aimee Teegarden stars in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Once Upon a Christmas Miracle (9/8c), a fact-based romance about a woman who falls for the stranger (Brett Dalton) who gave her a life-saving kidney… Lifetime’s The Christmas Pact (8/7c) follows two BFFs from childhood into young adulthood, their love growing along with the Christmas tree they planted when they were 8 years old.
Anything else? Why, sure! TV One offers Merry Wishmas (Sunday, 7/6c), starring Tamela and David Mann in the story of a businesswoman who goes home to South Carolina and helps an old high-school friend keep his wellness facility afloat. The Facts of Life’s Kim Fields co-stars… UPtv’s Christmas Catch(Sunday, 7/6c) finds a female detective whose Christmas holiday is derailed when she tracks a hot guy who may be dealing in hot diamonds.
In the News: For the first time since they married in 1980, Jane Pauley interviews husband and Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau on CBS Sunday Morning (9 am/8c), to mark the 50th anniversary of his celebrated satirical comic strip… Hard to tell if this is wish fulfillment, but CNN presents the news special Presidents Under Fire: The History of Impeachment (Sunday, 9/8c, CNN and CNN International), with Fareed Zakaria hosting and providing historical perspective on modern-day “impeachment fever.” Zakaria moderates a debate among historians who wonder if the current volatile political climate has made the nation too fragile to survive another impeachment battle.
It’s (on) Showtime! The premium channel’s Sunday dramas deliver yet again. Ray Donovan (9/8c) presents what may be its wackiest caper to date, and that’s saying something, when Mickey (Jon Voight) and Bunchy (Dash Mihok) decide to rob the Hampton Jitney in priestly garb. (The scene where Bunchy has to improv with a real priest is excruciatingly funny.) By the end of the brutal episode, which includes a masked intruder attacking Sam (Susan Sarandon) in her own bed, just about everyone in Ray’s (Liev Schreiber) world has taken a beating, literally or figuratively.
Followed by the third chapter of the compelling Escape at Dannemora (10/9c), with Richard Matt (Benecio del Toro) exulting, “This is the first time in 12 years nobody knows where you are,” when he and David Sweat (Paul Dano) test their escape route. They hit a few walls along the way, which means turning up their seductive manipulation of tailor shop supervisor Tilly (Patricia Arquette). And she’s already under more scrutiny for bringing meat — with tools embedded — into the prison for her favorite inmates, with whom she fantasizes running away to Mexico.
Inside Weekend TV: Missed Killing Eve on BBC America? On Saturday, Hulu begins streaming the entire first season of the acclaimed thriller, starring Emmy-nominated Sandra Oh as an MI5 agent on the trail of an amoral assassin (the dazzling Jodie Comer). … 40 years ago this month, authorities revealed and put an end to the murder spree of John Wayne Gacy Jr., a grisly story relived by CNN in a new documentary, The Curious Case of the Killer Clown (Saturday, 9/8c)… Epix spy drama Berlin Station (Sunday, 9/8c) returns for a third season, with station chief Valerie Edwards (Michelle Forbes) taking charge of intrigue involving Russian threats, vulnerable NATO allies and a former CIA legend (James Cromwell) who’s going too public on a podcast about past covert missions… It’s Christmastime on Bravo’s Dirty John (Sunday, 10/9c), and Debra (Connie Britton) couldn’t be happier with her new man (Eric Bana), and grandma (Jean Smart) has fallen for him, too. But daughter Veronica (Juno Temple) isn’t buying it, and she not only hires a private detective to dig up dirt, she puts a tracker on his car. … Looking for The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Holiday Special on CBS, where it has aired for years? It’s back on ABC (Sunday, 10/9c), which first aired the flamboyant special back in 2001, but dropped it out of Disney-like concern over its flesh-baring content. Now these outfits might look right at home on an average episode of Dancing With the Stars.