Tuesday TV: ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ the Movie

Ron Howard’s adaptation of J.D. Vance’s bestseller of poverty and drug abuse in the Appalachians, “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix, streaming), stars an almost unrecognizable Glenn Close and Amy Adams and is available today on the streaming service. 

In the imported Argentinian film, “Notes for My Son” (Netflix, streaming) a woman with terminal cancer writes about life, death and love for her four year old son. 

In the streaming Christmas special spinoff for preschoolers from the computer animated “How to Train Your Dragon” folks is “Dragons: Rescue Riders: Huttsgalor Holiday” (Netflix, streaming). It’s 46 minutes, but it counts as a movie.

Apparently taken over by TikTok, “Tosh.0” (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.) calls it quits after 12 seasons with its final episode of making fun of people on the internet. 

a 15th season starts for “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team” (MTV, 10 p.m.), despite the pandemic (and gender enlightenment).

The Larry David / Bernie Sanders episode of “Finding Your Roots” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings), in which they find they are cousins,  is replayed. 

After the reunion for “I Love New York” Monday, here’s a new one for “Hollywood Exes: Reunited” (VH1, 8 p.m.) with Nicole Murphy, Shanna Moakler, Andrea Kelly, Mayte Garcia, Sharon Lawrence and Sheree Zampino. They are the ex-wives, respectively, of Eddie Murphy, Travis Barker, R. Kelly, Prince, Martin Lawrence, and Will Smith. It’s hosted by Jeannie Mai of “The Real.”

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Monday TV: ‘Black Narcissus’ All at Once

There seems little reason to remake Michael Powell’s 1947 Technicolor film with the same title, but the new three-part adaptation of the novel by Rumer Godden about a convent on a Himalayan mountaintop gets another stab in the limited series “Black Narcissus” (FX, 8 p.m.).

It’s got the kind of cinematography, symphonic music and especially the scenery one doesn’t usually see in a television project, and a solid enough cast that includes Gemma Arterton, Alessandro Nivola and Aisling Franciosi and — seen very briefly — Jim Broadbent and Diana Rigg, in her final role. But with so much that went into the drama, why squeeze the whole thing into one night? That’s right, all three episodes run consecutively tonight. 

The practice of forced, illegal sterilization on female prisoners in California, 40 years after it was banned, is exposed in the documentary “Belly of the Beast,” making its debut on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings). 

Fans were a little upset that Johnny Weir and Skai Jackson were both booted after the semifinals last week on “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC, 8 p.m.). That leaves Nelly, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Nev Schulman and Justina Machado battling it out in tonight’s finale. 

“Shawn Mendes: In Wonder” (Netflix, streaming) follows the pop star during his 2019 world tour. 

The Netflix update to the old series, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” (CW, 8 p.m.) first seen in 2016, makes its broadcast debut, airing nightly this week through Thursday. 

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Sunday TV: The World of John Belushi

An expansive biography “Belushi” (Showtime, 9 p.m.), documenting the explosive life of the founding “Saturday Night Live” cast member and movie star benefits not only from the participation of his widow Judy Belushi, but also all of his papers and letters he wrote to her, as well as tape from an unpublished oral history that helps flesh out a life captured in plentiful clips as well as stylish animation of what they don’t have. 

The beloved Dolly Parton, whose latest gift to mankind came in helping bankroll a Covid vaccine, also stars as an angel in her own holiday movie, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” (Netflix, streaming), where her task is to keep Christine Baranski from selling her father’s land for a mall. And also to sing, of course. 

Taraji P. Henson hosts the 2020 American Music Awards (ABC, 8 p.m.) before no live audience. The Weeknd and Roddy Ricch lead nominations with eight each.Performers include Katy Perry, BTS, Dan + Shay, Lewis Capaldi, Doja Cat, Bebe Rexha and Machine Gun Kelly. 

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (Apple TV+, streaming; PBS, 7:30 p.m.) is found this year only on a streaming service and once tonight on public television. 

The “First Ladies” (CNN, 10 p.m.) series wraps up with a look at Hillary Clinton. 

The limited series “Roadkill” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) comes to an end. 

The trial begins on “The Undoing” (HBO, 9 p.m.).

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Saturday TV: ‘Between the World and Me’

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ letter to his son gets a powerful and affecting reading from a dozen top talents in “Between the World and Me” (HBO, 8 p.m.), which features strong performances from Angela Bassett (pictured), Mahershala Ali, Angela Davis, Wendell Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Yara Shahidi and Oprah Winfrey.

“A Nashville Christmas Carol” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.) mixes Dickens with pickers, as the old story is revived with a cast that includes such performers as Wynonna Judd, Sara Evans, Kix Brooks and someone married to to a country star, Kimberly Williams-Paisley. 

A competing holiday romance, “Feliz NaviDAD” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.), reunites Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez.

And Jill Wagner and Lucas Bryant star in yet another Yuletide flick, “The Angel Tree” (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, 9 p.m.).

A high school senior is blackmailed by her cousin in the made for TV thriller “Pretty Cheaters, Deadly Lies” (Lifetime Movie Network, 8 p.m.). 

Rudy Giuliani has canceled his appearance on “Justice with Judge Jeanine” (Fox News, 9 p.m.), possibly to avoid any further hair dye mishaps.

The sci-fi horror film “Underwater” (HBO, 9:25 p.m.) with Kristen Stewart makes its premium cable debut. 

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Friday TV: McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ Strikes

Steve McQueen, the director behind “12 Years a Slave,” has a new anthology series of feature films depicting the struggles in London’s West Indian community from the 1960s through ‘80s and organized under the title of a Bob Marley song, “Small Axe.” It begins with the protest and courtroom saga of “Small Axe: Mangrove” (Amazon, streaming), starring Shaun Parkes and Letitia Wright.

Sarah Paulson stars as an over-the-top, controlling mother to a daughter in a wheelchair (played by newcomer Kiera Wright in the new thriller “Run” (Hulu, streaming).

The documentary “Voices of Fire” (Netflix, streaming) follows the rise of Pharrell Williams hometown community gospel choir.

Invaders from space visit Earth during the holidays in the new animated kids’ movie “Alien Xmas” (Netflix, streaming). 

Another cartoon being resurrected for the streaming world is “Animaniacs” (Hulu, streaming). 

More sobering is the animated short about grieving parents after a school shooting, “If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix, streaming). 

A new documentary untangles the stories of the comic book line and considers their cultural impact in “Marvel’s 616” (Disney+, streaming). 

Lindsey Vonn hosts a new competition for dogs and their owners in the reality series, “The Pack” (Amazon, streaming).

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Thursday TV: The Fresh Prince Returns

HBO Max launched last May with the promise of a “Friends” reunion. It was forever bumped by the pandemic. But if it ever does occur, it could do worse than take its cues from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion” (HBO Max, streaming) which not only brings back the old cast, but honors those who have passed away (James Avery in 2013) and clears the air with the first Vivian Banks, Janet Hubert, who abruptly left the show in the third season. 

It all succeeds because it revolves around Will Smith, who is all in as he greets the former cast, including Jazzy Jeff, on a painstakingly recreated set of the six-season sitcom. 

There’s a promising new comedy premiering on the service as well. “I Hate Suzie” (HBO Max, streaming), which stars and was co-created by Billie Piper, is a vivid dark comedy on the underbelly of show biz. 

After 15 seasons, “Supernatural” (CW, 9 p.m.) comes to an end with its final episode, with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles in their final battle with evil. To mark the occasion, it’s preceded by a one-hour retrospective “Supernatural: The Long Road Home” (CW, 8 p.m.). 

Vanessa Hudgens reprises her royal role in a second Chrismas sequel “The Princess Switch: Switched Again” (Netflix, streaming). 

The animated franchise comes a series with the new “Trolls: TrollsTopia” (Hulu, Peacock, streaming).

A second season comes for the animated “Cleopatra in Space” (Peacock, streaming).

“A Million Little Things” (ABC, 10 p.m.) begins its third season with a new set of problems. Still to be determined: whether Eddie survives being hit by a car at the end of season two. 

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Wednesday TV: A Rascally, Retro Mouse

The rodent that built the company got some zippy new life in the cartoons Paul Rudish has made since 2013. Such new adventures come in a new series that borrows a title from another Disney property with “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” (Disney+, streaming). Two new shorts that also feature Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto premiere today with more coming each Friday starting next week. The voice talent inclues Chris Diamantopoulos as Mickey, and Kaitlyn Robrock as the new voice of Minnie. 

Benjamin Bradley, an interior designer who specializes in the holidays gets his own show as well as a nickname in the new “Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas” (Netflix, streaming), decking homes of deserving families. But is there a Mrs. Christmas?

A Frenchman searches Syria for a sister that is presumed to be dead and ends up joining Kurdish female fighters in ISIS-occupied territory in the new eight-part drama “No Man’s Land” (Hulu, streaming). 

The documentary “Crazy, Not insane” (HBO, 9 p.m.) follows psychiatrist Dorothy Otnow Lewis who has tried to figure out what makes serial killers like Ted Bundy tick. 

“Nature” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) looks at measures to protect primates in the wild. 

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Tuesday TV: 2nd ‘Star Wars’ Holiday Stab

The original “Star Wars Holiday Special,” which aired exactly once 42 years ago today, was a famous failure. A new attempt, made entirely with plastic toys, “The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” (Disney+, streaming) builds on the mythology, buoyed by the knowledge that it’s supposed to be funny. 

The one new broadcast network show this season comes from David E. Kelly, who years ago created “The Practice” and “Ally McBeal” and has lately had success on cable adapting big glossy dramas like “Big Little Lies” and “The Undoing.” Now back on network TV, he adapts “Big Sky” (ABC, 10 p.m.), from a book series by C.J. Box. It’s about a pair of sisters kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote Montana highway and a trio of detectives who go looking for them. The cast includes Ryan Phillippe, Kylie Bunbury, Katheryn Winnick and John Carroll Lynch.  

Cheese rolling, frog jumping, chili eating and dog dancing are among the oddball competitions profiled on the new series “We Are the Champions” ((Netflix, streaming) from Rainn Wilson. 

It’s no secret that the nation is politically split; “Frontline” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) looks further into the partisan divide in a report called “American Voices: A Nation in Turmoil.”

Barack Obama is interviewed on “The Oprah Conversation” (AppleTV, streaming) as part of the book tour for his memoir, “The Promised Land,” out today. The program is available for free through Dec. 1.

“NCIS” (CBS, 8 p.m.) begins its 18t season going after a drug ring. 

Starting its third season is “FBI” (CBS, 9 p.m.), investigating a mass shooting at a media company., followed by a second season of “FBI: Most Wanted” (CBS, 10 p.m.), whose first season came in January. 

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Monday TV: Turning on the Renewables

A Property Brother and home renovation expert crosses the country to see how people are adapting to renewable energy on “Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip,” making its debut on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings). 

The stylish fantasy series “His Dark Materials” (HBO, 9 p.m.) returns for a second season, seemly out of place alongside the more grown-up concerns of “Industry” (HBO, 10 p.m.). 

National security concerns are aired in the six-part series “While the Rest of Us Die: Secrets of America’s Shadow Government” (Vice, 10 p.m.). 

“Bob (Hearts) Abishola” (CBS, 8:30 p.m.) returns for a second season as Bob prepares to propose. 

It comes alongside a third season opener for “The Neighborhood” (CBS, 8 p.m.) in which they try to confront racial injustice. 

New seasons also come for the network dramas “All Rise” (CBS, 9 p.m.) and “Bull” (CBS, 10 p.m.), which struggles through the coronavirus shutdowns.

On the new series “Greek Island Odyssey with Bethany Hughes” (Smithsonian, 8 p.m.) retraces a trip taken by Greek warrior Odysseus home after the Trojan War. 

“The Good Doctor” (ABC, 10 p.m.) helps mentor contenders for first-year residents. 

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Sunday TV: ‘The Crown’ Returns for More

“The Crown” (Netflix, streaming) reaches its fourth season tracking the life of Queen Elizabeth (who is continued to be played by Olivia Colman). But she might be overshadowed, as the 70s turn to the 80s, by the appearance of Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). 

Acting like royalty was the couple in “The Reagans” (Showtime, 8 p.m.), a new four-part documentary series that tracks the life of the movie star that became President. His rise in politics, and switch to conservatism, consumes the first episode.

There’s a bit of indulgence in the four-part docuseries “Murder on Middle Beach” (HBO, 10 p.m.) that explores the 2010 murder of a woman on the Connecticut shoreline. But that’s only because first-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg is the son of the victim. As such he gets access to most of the main suspects to the unsolved case, even when he has to surreptitiously record them. Still, the tale has a lot more twists than you’d expect. 

The most entertaining historical series of the season, “The Good Lord Bird” (Showtime, 9 p.m.)  comes to a close when John Brown faces his last stand at Harpers Ferry. 

Demi Lovato hosts “The E! People’s Choice Awards” (E!, 9 p.m.), where Jennifer Lopez, Tracee Ellis Ross and Tyler Perry are up for special awards. 

Kristin Chenoweth hosts the new six-episode confectionary competition “Candy Land” (Food, 9 p.m.), which also includes elements in the board game of the same name. 

Let’s try it again: “Space Launch Live: Crew-1 Lift Off” (Discovery, Science, 5 p.m.), a joint mission of NASA with Space X, delivering astronauts to the international space station, is scheduled to actually blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:27 p.m., weather willing. 

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