×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Our Staff Picks: TV Shows to Watch the Week of Dec. 19, 2016

Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter, offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.

Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s TV schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch it. This week, most of the major shows are on hiatus, but there’s still tons to watch leading up to the holidays.

The Wall,” NBC, Monday, 10 p.m.

If you miss Chris Hardwick now that “Talking Dead” is on hiatus, fear not: the host is back on TV for another show — NBC’s new reality competition series produced by LeBron James, which showcases teams answering trivia questions, while bouncing balls into slots with monetary values. What happens if they answer correctly? They get a ton of cash. (Monday night’s episode is a sneak preview of the show, which returns in its regular timeslot on Jan. 3.)

“First Lady Michelle Obama Says Farewell to the White House,” CBS, Monday, 8 p.m.

Oprah Winfrey sits down with First Lady Michelle Obama in this special, which was filmed on Dec. 14, after the election — so expect questions about President-elect Donald Trump. Winfrey will also talk to Mrs. Obama about her life during her husband’s eight-year term, her family’s legacy, and her plans for the future. The interview will mark the final one-on-one sit-down for the FLOTUS inside the White House. An encore airs later this week on Wednesday at 9 p.m. on OWN.

Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come,” NBC, Tuesday, 9 p.m.

Leave it to Tony Bennett to bring in a bevy of famous friends to help celebrate his 90th birthday. Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Billy Joel, Elton John, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, and Rufus Wainwright will perform for the legendary singer, while Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and even Homer Simpson will make appearances. The special was filmed this summer when Bennett turned 90.

Project Runway” finale, Lifetime, Thursday, 8 p.m.

The Season 15 winner is crowned on the catwalk, as guest judge Zendaya joins the panel. Following the finale of the flagship show is the Season 2 premiere of the pint-sized spinoff “Project Runway: Junior.”

Sense8: A Christmas Special,” Netflix, Friday

Season 2 of “Sense8” doesn’t debut until May 5, but this Friday, fans can watch the first episode of the second season, which is being dubbed a Christmas special. Teasing the episode, co-creater Lana Wachowski said: “When I was a kid, I loved holiday specials in the shows I used to watch. Holidays can make you feel so connected, in the way holidays can make you feel so isolated and alone. I wanted to tell a story in the first episode that was kind of about time in the present and how the new lives these characters were experiencing made them feel empowered, like they could do anything as long as they’re together.” (Watch the trailer for the Christmas special right here.)

Doctor Who” Christmas Special, BBC America, Sunday, 9 p.m. (CRITICS PICK)

What could be better than a fresh episode of “Doctor Who” on Christmas Day? One that unites the Doctor with a man in tights, which is what happens in “The Return of Doctor Mysterio.” Of course, the argument could be made that the Doctor is the ultimate English superhero, a man who has spent hundreds of years fighting bad guys, often using nothing more than his time-defying TARDIS, jelly babies, ingenuity and a talent for quips. But this one-off adventure finds him teaming up with an actual masked hero in New York city. Odds are, it isn’t Luke Cage or Jessica Jones, but fans will get a return visit from Matt Lucas’ Nardole, a part-time companion seen in previous episodes of the BBC series. Charity Wakefield (“Wolf Hall”) and Justin Chatwin (“Shameless”) also guest star in the episode, which was written by showrunner/executive producer Steven Moffat.

More TV

  • MAKING IT -- Season: 1 --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces 'Making It' Season 2 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, NBC announced the “Making It” Season 2 premiere date and HBO Max greenlit a new docuseries from Brad Goreski and Gary Janetti. DATES Hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman will return with the second season of “Making It” on NBC Dec. 2. After the show’s holiday season premiere, the show [...]

  • Luis Fonsi Erika Ender Latin Grammys

    The Second Latin Explosion: How 'Despacito' Ushered in a New Generation of Stars

    Music is an ever-evolving art, and for the Latin Recording Academy, that’s meant riding multiple waves of attention. The most recent arrived with the stratospheric success of “Despacito,” which kicked off a second Latin Explosion with full force in 2017. The Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee hit, later featuring verses by Justin Bieber, made Latin [...]

  • TV Review: 'Catherine the Great' Starring

    TV Review: 'Catherine the Great' Starring Helen Mirren

    For some, “Dame Helen Mirren playing the Catherine the Great” is all the convincing they’ll need to watch this new biographical limited series, which is perfectly understandable. The casting of Mirren in the role, which follows the Russian empress in the embattled latter years of her life, is a smart choice that proves its worth [...]

  • Ricky Martin Celia Cruz Gloria Estefan

    From Idea to Legacy: Latin Grammy Awards Mark 20 Years of Global Recognition

    The idea of creating a separate organization to honor the diversity of Latin music was a discussion that took place for years before it actually happened, but an event driven by one of pop music’s most important crossover artists solidified it. During the 41st Grammy Awards ceremony, a young Ricky Martin was scheduled to perform [...]

  • Science Fair

    Disney Plus Fleshes Out Nonfiction Slate, Including 'Howard,' 'Science Fair,' Mickey Mouse Docu

    Disney Plus further fleshed out its nonfiction content slate at an International Documentary Association showcase event Friday, as the streamer, preparing for its Nov. 12 launch, continues to flesh out its programming strategy. Among the announcements: The streamer has acquired the global distribution rights to “Howard,” the Don Hahn-directed documentary about “Aladdin” and “Beauty and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content