Sunday TV: ‘Escape’ End, ‘Deadly Class’

Deadly Class - Season 1A new adaptation of the graphic novel “Deadly Class” (Syfy, 9 p.m.) gets a full-episode preview. Lana Condor and Benedict Wong star in the series, set in the 1980s at an academy for the Deadly Arts, where teens are being raised to lead crime families. Its start date is Jan. 16.

The law closes in on “Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime, 10 p.m.), a longer than usual episode that serves as the limited series finale.

“The Orville” (Fox, 8 p.m.), Seth MacFarlane’s tribute to “Star Trek” returns for a second season.

Sunday Night Football has Indianapolis at Tennessee (NBC, 8:20 p.m.). Earlier games include Jacksonville at Houston (CBS, 1 p.m.), Dallas at Giants (Fox, 1 p.m.), Cleveland at Baltimore (CBS, 4:25 p.m.) and Philadelphia at Washington (Fox, 4:25 p.m.).

On “Dirty John” (Bravo, 10 p.m.), Debra makes a decision about John.

The other five episodes of the new season of “Angie Tribeca” (TBS, 8 p.m.), which began Saturday, concludes today.

Here’s a marathon you’ve been waiting for, the annual year end run of “The Twilight Zone” (Syfy, 11 p.m.) running through New Year’s Day.

Danielle becomes increasingly demanding about her wedding on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” (Bravo, 9 p.m.).

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Saturday TV: Cotton and Orange Bowls

orange-bowl-semifinalThere’s a handful of college football bowl games today with South Carolina vs. Virginia (ABC, noon) in the Belk Bowl, Florida vs. Michigan (ESPN, noon) in the Peach Bowl, Nevada vs. Arkansas State (CBS Sports, 1 p.m.). But there are also games where teams can actually advance, with Notre Dame vs. Clemson (ESPN, 4 p.m). in the Cotton Bowl and Oklahoma vs. Alabama (ESPN, 8 p.m.) in the Orange Bowl. Both are playoff semifinals.

There’s not just a season premiere of “Angie Tribeca” (TBS, 8 p.m.), there’s an opportunity to binge with five new episodes in a row — half the season.

They made about three dozen Christmas movies, but here’s one about New Year’s Eve. Carlos PenaVega and Adelaide Kane star in “About a Midnight Kiss” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.), as a tech entrepreneur planning her companies New Year’s Eve Party with the help of a first time party planner with whom there is romance.

Hallmark won’t slow down its movie-making after the holidays, as seen in its 2019 Winterfest Preview Special (Hallmark, 10 p.m.), unveiling five new movies coming in January alone.

The other original movie on tonight, “Nightmare Best Friend” (Lifetime Movie Channel, 8 p.m.), about a friend returning with an ulterior motive.

Melissa McCarthy stars as a divorcee going back to college in the comedy “Life of the Party” (HBO, 8 p.m.). Also new to cable is the zombie virus horror flick “Patient Zero” (Starz, 10;55 p.m.) with Natalie Dormer and Matt Smith. Other movie threats: “Attack of the Killer Donuts” (TMC, 9 p.m.), “Psycho Prom Queen” (Lifetime Movies, 10 p.m.) and “Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies” (TMC, 10:30 p.m.).

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Friday TV: A Changeable ‘Black Mirror’

Bandersnatch_still_08It’s a series that has always tested the moral boundaries of its watchers in an age of robotics and artificial intelligence. Now the single episode “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” (Netflix, streaming) will put you on the record.

The story of a video game programmer tumbling into the netherworld of fantasy and reality is charted by the individual viewer in one of the first “Choose Your Own Adventure” narratives that can be chosen and changed by watchers in literally a trillion different ways. Set in the 80s, a viewer’s choices could lead to disaster or lead to victory through the path. Didn’t like how it ended up? Try again.

There have been other interactive viewing experiences on Netflix, but they’ve mostly been for children’s viewing, such as “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic.” This is the first one meant for adults.

The end of the year also means winding up the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein. Tanglewood’s Bernstein Centennial Celebration in August is featured on “Great Performances” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). Audra McDonald hosts the event that includes performances from Yo-Yo Ma and Midori and the participation of five different conductors.

The latest countdown of the year comes from a magazine: “Poster’s Best of 2018” (CW, 9 p.m.).

It plays opposite he big, weird concert “Garth: Live at Notre Dame!” (CBS, 8 p.m.) getting a replay.

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Thursday TV: Charlie Brown, Axe Throwing

Good SkateLet’s not sugarcoat it: There’s not a lot happening in the TV world today. Networks have taken the week off. Late night hosts are vacationing. Streaming services aren’t exactly flooding the gap.

There are are some of those college football bowl games scattered through the day with Temple vs. Duke (ESPN, 1:30 p.m.) in the Independence Bowl, Miami vs. Wisconsin (ESPN, 5:15 p.m.) in the Pinstripe Bowl and Baylor vs. Vanderbilt (ESPN, 9 p.m.) in the Texas Bowl.

Otherwise, they’re kind of running out of competitive sporting events with the World Axe Throwing Championships (ESPN2, 7 p.m.), the Dodgeball World Cup (ESPN2, 9 p.m.) and the ACL Southern College Cornhole Championships (ESPNU, 10 p.m.). Not making any of those up.

The Peanuts characters would seem to be preparing for next week’s impending holiday in the special “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!” (ABC, 8 p.m.), which cobbles together a 1986 special that has Charlie Brown cajoled to go to a party despite having to complete a “War and Peace” book report, with a 1980 story about Snoopy help Peppermint Patty train for her first ice-skating competition (winter themed, get it?).

“I Feel Bad” (NBC, 8 and 8:30 p.m.) ends its first season with a pair of episodes; one about the central character, Emet, trying to get to know more about her father, and a second about trying to get away from work for vacation. They’re the only two new scripted episodes of anything broadcast tonight.

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Changes at the Kennedy Center Honors

2018-kennedy-center-honoreesThings are a little different for “The 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors” (CBS, 8 p.m.), usually the classiest thing on network TV between the holidays.

First, the roster of honorees — Cher, Reba McEntire, Wayne Shorter, Philip Glass and the creators of “Hamilton” are seen posing together, as in a tableau, on the Kennedy Center stage in the opening moments of the event. That pose usually happens at the State Department dinner the night before with the President. But Trump didn’t show for the second year in a row, and the Secretary of State didn’t either; they still posed there, though, so they posed again on stage to kickstart the event.

Then they had to find their way to their seats — the individual honorees to the Presidential Box sans president; and the “Hamilton” crew, the youngest honorees so far by far, together on the main floor for some reason. To separate them from the lifetime achievers, likely.

But even having them on the roster was only a way to lend some excitement to an event where there were no actors or dancers honored this year (the Kennedy Center Honors is a pretty spotty list, actually. Wayne Shorter may be a deserving jazz figure, but among his credits was playing with Joni Mitchell, who has never been inducted. Part of it is a willingness to appear — McCartney couldn’t make it the year they tried to nominate him, so they didn’t nominate him again for a few years. But it’s weird who gets in and doesn’t.

Reba McEntire is an entertainer most people like, but is she is only the third woman from Nashville after Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, to be included, and only the seventh country singer overall (after them and Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and george Jones). Are we missing some people in here?

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Also on Wednesday: Recalling Apollo 8

earthriseThe astronauts and engineers of Apollo 8 recall the first mission orbiting the moon, which occurred 50 years ago this week, on a new “Nova” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). All three crewmen for the dangerous mission, ordered up at the last minute as pat of the space race vs. Russia, are still alive —  William Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman.

And one of the most important things they discovered was becoming the first humans to see the Earth from outside its orbit. Lovell, 90, speaking at a Washington event recently about the achievement, said “seeing the Earth at 240,000 miles, my world suddenly expanded to infinity.” (Here’s a story I wrote about that event for Smithsonian Magazine.com.)

They try to squeeze the big events of the year in a one-hour “CNN Special Report: All the Best, All the Worst” (CNN, 9 p.m.).

Ivar the Boneless presses his leadership over the Great Heathen Army on an episode of “Vikings” (History, 9 p.m.) titled “Hell.”

An L.A. fashion designer named Truth can’t handle the truth on “Catfish: The TV Show” (MTV, 9 p.m.).

Assuming Mitch McConnell will be a part of “Laws of the Lizard” (Smithsonian, 8 p.m.).

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Tuesday TV: Orphans for Christmas

ctm2It’s common in the UK to have a special episode on Christmas Day, something that’s only slowly being adopted in the U.S.

There is, however, the “Call the Midwife Holiday Special” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings), special for the day, in which Sister Mildred arrives with four Chinese orphans.

Orphans are also involved in the special movie-length Christmas episode of “When Calls the Heart” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.) enlivening that series.

They’re trying to make Christmas Day NBA action a thing so there are a lot of games scheduled including Milwaukee at New York (EPN, noon), Oklahoma City at Houston (ABC, 3 p.m.), Philadelphia at Boston (ABC, 5:30 p.m.), Lakers at Golden State (ABC, ESPN, 8 p.m.) and Portland at Utah (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.).

There’s a double dose of the original 1966 animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (NBC, 8 p.m.) and the Jim Carrey live action 2000 “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (NBC, 8:30 p.m.).

The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2018 (CW, 8 p.m.) gets a replay.

Korean War veterans look for their old comrades on “We’ll Meet Again” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings).

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Monday: Tituss Burgess Leads the Choir

christmas eveSilent Night is also known as the year’s worst night for late night TV with all but one of the usual late night shows pre-empted and the one that appears is a rerun.

In their place is “Christmas Eve Mass” (NBC, 11:30 p.m.) led by Pope Francis from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The other, “A Bold New Love: A Christmas Eve with Middle Collegiate Church” (CBS, 11:35 p.m.) from the New York City congregation pictured above, featuring among its gospel choirs and dance companies Tituss Burgess of “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” conducting a chorus singing two gospel songs he composed.

Also rerun: “Christmas with the Momon Tabernacle Choir” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

Big classic movies battle it out on prime time Christmas Eve, with the annual showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” (NBC, 8 p.m.) opposite the 1991 animated “Beauty and the Beast” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

The 24 hour cycle of “A Christmas Story” (TBS, 8 p.m.) begins – starting on even hours on TBS and odd hours on TNT, beginning at 9.

And there are tons of Christmas movies: “The Santa Clause 2” (AMC, 6 p.m.), “Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (Freeform, 6:15 p.m.), “A Christmas Carol” (FXM, 6:50 and 8:40 p.m.), “Christmas Belle” (ION, 8 p.m.), “Reunited at Christmas” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.), “Surviving Christmas” (HBO, 8 p.m.), “A Christmas in Tennessee” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.), “A Bad Moms Christmas” (Showtime 2, 8 p.m.), “The 12 Disasters of Christmas” (Syfy, 8 p.m.), “White Christmas” (Sundance, 7 and 9:45 p.m.), “Elf” (AMC, 8:30 p.m.), “The Santa Clause” (Freeform, 8:55 p.m.), “A Cinderella Christmas” (ION, 9 p.m.), “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” (Disney XD, 9 p.m.), “Mingle All the Way” (Hallmark, 9:30 p.m.), “Office Christmas Party” (Showtime 2, 9:45 p.m.), “The Christmas Contract” (Lifetime, 10 p.m.), “Christmas Icetastrophe” (Syfy, 10 p.m.), “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (AMC, 10:30 p.m.), “A Wedding for Christmas” (ION, 11 p.m.), “A Shoe Addict’s Christmas” (Hallmark, 11 p.m.), “Christmas with the Kranks” (FX, 11 p.m.) and “Bad Santa” (WGN, 11 p.m.).

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Sunday TV: ‘Watership Down’ by Computer

watership-downThe popular 1972 Richard Adams novel, which was made into a 1978 animated movie, now gets a stiffer CGI version in a four episode series of “Watership Down” (Netflix, streaming), a coproduction with the BBC using the voices of Ben Kingsley, Tom Wilkinson, James McAvoy and John Boyega.

The raucous “Sally4Ever” (HBO, 10:30 p.m.) ends its season with a 40 minute episode about a romantic getaway at a castle that goes wrong.

They’re on the run, finally, on “Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime, 10 p.m.).

“Madam Secretary” (CBS, 8:30 p.m.) goes up against a governor’s new policy over separating unauthorized immigrants from their children.

A two hour review of the past 12 months is presented in “The Year: 2018” (ABC, 9 p.m.).

“60 Minutes” (CBS, 7:30 p.m.) looks at Maltese corruption and the re-introduction of the wolf to Yellowstone Park.

Sunday Night Football has Kansas City at Seattle (NBC, 8:20 p.m.). Earlier games include Houston at Philadelphia (CBS, 1 p.m.), Tampa Bay at Dallas (Fox, 1 p.m.) and Pittsburgh at New Orleans (CBS, 4:25 p.m.).

Deep into its 30th season, “The Simpsons” (Fox, 8 p.m.) reruns its very first episode.

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Saturday TV: Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’

isle-of-dogsWes Anderson’s charming “Isle of Dogs” (HBO, 8 p.m.) makes its debut on premium cable with its exacting tale of Japanese politics and a ploy to rid the island of canines. Half the fun is guessing the voice cast that includes Liev Schreiber, Edward Norton, Bill Muray and Jeff Goldblum.

But here’s another good non-holiday holiday offering: “The Wizard of Oz” (TNT, 8 p.m.).

RuPaul and Norway’s prime minister are on “Sundays with Alec Baldwin” (ABC, 10 p.m.).

“CMA Country Christmas” (ABC, 8 p.m.) has a replay on a night full of reruns.

“Forged in Fire: The 12 Cuts of Christmas” (History, 8 p.m.) is a way to get knife people in on the celebrations.

“The Great British Baking Show” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) tackles its remaining technical challenges.

On a two hour special “Amanda to the Rescue: Picks of the Litter” (Animal Planet, 8 p.m.) she finds home for chihuahua pups she helps deliver.

Jennifer redesigns a friend’s cabana on “Sweet Home” (Bravo, 9 p.m.).

On “Ready of Love” (OWN, 10 p.m.), the couples meet their partner’s family.

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