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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Saturday TV: Where’d D.B. Cooper Go?

Laurence Fishburne hosts the new series “History’s Greatest Mysteries” (History, 9 p.m.) which revisits still-puzzling tales of the last century or so. First off is the hunt for D.B. Cooper, the name given for the 1981 hijacker who got away with the cash he demanded only to be never seen again in what is called the only unsolved skyjacking in U.S. history. Eric Ulis, pictured left, is back scouring the Pacific Northwest woods. 

What would have been a swell Saturday night viewing — the launch of Crew-1 by SpaceX and NASA to the International Space Station — has been postponed because of weather. It’s been rescheduled to Sunday night on Discovery and Science channels, where it will be one of a wealth of offerings. 

Just as it gets cold, “Earth’s Great Seasons” (BBC America, 8 p.m.) moves to spotlight summer. 

On the second episode of “The Cult of the Family” (Starz, 8:30 p.m.), children rescued from the cult go back to their normal lives, while the cult leader is sought by detectives. 

“Eli Roth’s History of Horror” (AMC, 10 p.m.) categorizes scary movies into nine distinct categories. 

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Friday TV: Sophia Loren Returns at 86

Still glamorous as an octogenarian, Sophia Loren is back in a new movie, “The Life Ahead” (Netflix, streaming), portraying a a Holocaust survivor who befriends a 12-year-old Senegalese Muslim immigrant. The Italian film is directed by Loren’s son, Edoardo Ponti. 

Another new film debuting today has Forest Whitaker and Keegan-Michael Key starring in an original holiday musical, “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix, streaming), with new songs by John Legend, Philip Lawrence and Davy Nathan and Usher and Kiana Ledé. 

It competes with more conventional holiday films debuting tonight, “Christmas on the Vine” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.) 

The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gets her due in the new documentary “I Am Greta” (Hulu, streaming). 

“The Blacklist” (NBC, 8 p.m.) begins its eighth season with James Spader’s Red investigating a criminal named Roanoke. 

In the new animated “Doug Unplugs” (Apple TV+, streaming) a robot tries to get accustomed to the human world.

Olivia Colman explores the first years of childhood in a new six-part documentary series exploring a person’s first 2,000 days, “Becoming You” (Apple TV+, streaming). 

The inner workings of the successful animation studio is promised in the bite-sized new series “Inside Pixar” (Disney+, streaming).

Werner Herzog wonders what meteorites might be telling us in the new documentary film “Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds” (Apple TV, streaming). 

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Thursday TV: Honking, Not Laughing

Here’s how comedy is done in 2020: Outside, distanced, in cars. Such is the standup special “Colin Quinn & Friends: A Parking Lot Comedy Show” (HBO Max, streaming) which Quinn tries to direct with help from comics that include Bobby Kelly, Sam Jay, Dan Soder and Marina Franklin. In addition to the honks at a Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn, cars also flash headlights. 

Trans kids navigate five years of life in Kansas City on the new documentary “Transhood” (HBO, 9 p.m.). 

First round play begins for The Masters (ESPN, 1 p.m.), postponed from April because of the pandemic, but threatened again today by rain in Augusta. 

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC, 9 p.m) returns for its 22nd season with a pair of new cases members, Jamie Gray Hyder and Demore Barnes. 

The array of guest stars who have been on the show that spawned the “SVU” spinoff over the years are celebrated in the special “The Paley Center Presents ‘Law & Order’: Before They Were Stars” (NBC, 10 p.m.).

“Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC, 9 p.m.) begins its 17th season with a two hour episode amid the pandemic, so things are busy. The virus also affects the fourth season premiere of “Station 19” (ABC, 8 p.m.). 

Returning for its 51st season: “Sesame Street” (HBO Max, streaming). 

Wade connects with a stranger on the second season premiere of “The Unicorn” (CBS, 9:30 p.m.).

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Wednesday TV: Pitting COVID vs. CMAs

Problems surround the CMA Awards (AMC, 8 p.m.) where at least two planned performers pulled out after testing positive for COVID — Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line and Lee Brice. But there are a number of (presumably) healthy performers still set to play the event live from Nashville, including Keith Urban, Morgan Wallen, Chris Stapleton, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Rascal Flats, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Eric Churck and Luke Combs. Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker host. 

Service members get paid tribute in “Variety’s Salute to Service” (History, 10 p.m.), a Veteran’s day event with appearances by Trace Adkins, Kevin Bacon, Bryan Cranston, Bryan Cranston, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mario Lopez and Kellie Pickler. 

The true crime documentary series “Trial 4” (Netflix, streaming) follows the case of a black Boston man facing his fourth trial for murdering a police officer 22 years ago, a crime he insisted he didn’t commit. 

The latest international food show, “Eater’s Guide to the World” (Hulu, streaming), posted by Maya Rudolph.

“Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun” (Netflix, streaming) is a sketch show from Australia highlighting the comedy trio. 

How glamorous can the stars of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” (Bravo, 10 p.m.) be? It’s the latest from the franchise that brought us “The Real Housewives of Orange County” (Bravo, 9 p.m.). 

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Tuesday TV: ‘A Teacher’ Has a Bad Idea

Kate Mara has no fear about tackling prickly, complex characters, so her titular role in the new limited series “A Teacher” (Hulu, streaming) is no different. It’s about a teacher and a high school student (Nick Robinson) who fulfill each other’s needs in an illicit affair. This story, created by Hannah Fidell and based on a 2013 film she made with the same name, may be more thoughtful than similar fare. But it still comes with the built-in creepiness of what is overall still a resoundingly bad idea. Three of the half hour  episodes drop today of the 10 total. 

A healthier relationship can be found in “Dash & Lily” (Netflix, streaming), based on the novel “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares” explores a flirtation between two teens who write to each other in a bookstore journal around Christmastime in New York. Midori Francis and Austin Abrams star. 

The two-part documentary “The Cost of Winning” (HBO, 9 p.m.) looks at a Baltimore high school football team that was so good they were thrown out of their league.

“Country Strong 2020: Countdown to the CMA Awards” (ABC, 10 p.m.) is a kind of pre-show to Wednesday’s award show. 

“The Curse of Oak Island” (History, 9 p.m.) returns for its eighth season of trying to find the elusive treasure there.

Julianne Moore, Bill Hader and Kehinde Wiley look at their family histories on “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings). 

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Monday TV: Young Striving in ‘Industry’

Following a group of young people as they begin their careers has been a staple of TV since “Grey’s Anatomy” and before. A number of law-based show with that premise have come and gone, and here’s a sharp new one about advancing in the world of finance.

“Industry” (HBO, 10 p.m.) is a slick ensemble piece about a group of new tryouts given impossible tasks in a super-charged London firm. Because a diversity in the cast, it’s less about the motivations of sheer greed than it is in acceptance amid some remarkably awful powers that be, who put the newbies in competition with one another ignorer to squeeze some work from them. 

Fast moving, with a burbling electronic score, it features such standouts as Myha’la Herrold, as an American with a sketchy resume, and Nabhaan Rizwan as someone who foregoes sleep to appear to work 24/7. Created by Mickey Down and Konrad Key, the pilot is directed by someone who knows her way around a young ensemble (and is familiar with HBO to boot), Lena Dunham. 

Oral Brady plays an environmental consultant from Dublin who has to go to a small town to talk up a wind farm in the new series “The South Westerlies” (Acorn TV, streaming). 

The drug saga “Undercover” (Netflix, streaming) returns for a second season. 

Sure there’s a female vice president-elect, but we also still have “Miss USA” (FYI, 8 p.m.) occurring from Graceland in Memphis and on a network that may be a little hard to find, after being on Fox the last few years. Fun fact: This is a contest formerly run by our outgoing White House occupant. Will he return to it? 

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Sunday TV: Low Key Fun in ‘Moonbase 8’

Most of the recent space travel shows have occurred on streaming services. But the new “Moonbase 8” (Showtime, 11 p.m.) is both on cable and a bit more Earth-bound. It concerns a three man crew preparing for a possible moon mission by trying to replicate conditions on an Arizona desert.

The hapless inhabitants happen to be some the best comic actors around — Fred Armisen, John C. Reilly and Tim Heidecker. Together they create a slow-burn, low-key comedy of errors with ace director John Krisel of “Portlandia,” “Baskets” and “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” that’s nearly an equal with one of those shows. Without having to dazzle you with any special effects, they stick to the deadpan humor at its ground zero.

Harrowing cellphone video of the wildfires that almost destroyed their town in 2018 starts Ron Howard’s gripping and ultimately rewarding documentary “Rebuilding Paradise” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.), which, as the title suggests, shifts its focus on how to come back.

If you think the regular MTV Music Awards is full of people you don’t know, it’s even worse on the 2020 MTV EMAs (MTV, 7 p.m.), the European Music Awards. Performances are set from Zara Larsson, Doja Cat, Maluma, YUNGBLUD and Sam Smith. It’s hosted by Little Mix. 

The four part documentary series “By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem” (Epix, 10 p.m.) recounts the life and times of Bumpy Johnson – on the network that has a dramatic series about him as well. 

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