Worth Watching: Ellen’s Giveaways, a Rocky Christmas for ‘The Conners,’ Crisis Continues on ‘Flash’
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways (8/7c, NBC): Keep the Kleenex within arm’s reach the next three nights, as Ellen DeGeneres gives it her Queen for a Day (look it up) best in an extravaganza of generosity. With celebrities pitching in — the impressive list includes Jennifer Aniston, Robert Downey Jr., Melissa McCarthy, Michael B. Jordan, Justin Timberlake, Sterling K. Brown and Chrissy Teigen — Ellen surprises and rewards deserving people across the country, and members of her studio audience, with big-ticket prizes and gifts. For Ellen, it’s better to give than receive. For her lucky subjects, tears of thankful joy will suffice.
The Conners (8/7c, ABC): If ever a family could use a little of Ellen’s largesse, it’s this hard-luck crew from Lanford, Ill. With Christmas looming, the timing couldn’t be worse for single-mom Darlene (Sara Gilbert) to face a setback on the job front. The episode gives Laurie Metcalf some of her best material this season, as Jackie tries to mend fences with Dan’s (John Goodman) friend Louise (Katey Sagal) — “You’re not that special,” she says, “I have problems with a lot of people” — and also for Lecy Goranson as Becky, who consoles her dad with snarky affection when she’s the only one to remember his birthday.
The Flash (8/7c, The CW): It’s all for one and one for all in the CW Arrowverse, when Black Lightning (Cress Williams) finally joins the party in the epic “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover saga. He’s enlisted by Pariah (Tom Cavanagh) to help stop the Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) after getting intel from Flash-90 (John Wesley Shipp). To help make sense of it all, consider tuning in afterward to Crisis Aftermath II (9/8), the second-behind-the-scenes special hosted by director Kevin Smith.
Inside Tuesday TV: In the Netflix stand-up special Michelle Wolf: Joke Show, the comedian dissects gender equality and sends up “woke” culture… In the finale of Fox’s limited comedy series The Moodys (9/8c), Sean Sr. (Denis Leary) worries that he’ll flub the reading at Midnight Mass when given the role of lector. Better he should have vetted some of the indigent guests he invited to Christmas Eve dinner… Sounds like a cliffhanger is brewing in the winter finale of ABC’s Emergence (10/9c), now that the mystery woman who slayed the scientist in the previous episode is tracking down his creation, the AI known as Piper (Alexa Swinton).