Stay Tuned column: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ comes to HBO Max
Christmas Day brings theatrical releases to the small screen and New Year’s Eve specials bid farewell to 2020.
Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Fox gave a straight-to-series order for a contemporary version of “Fantasy Island.” The modern take will be a semi-anthology series that explores the “what if” questions of life. It’s set to air in summer 2021.
Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
Disney+ debuts “Soul,” a Pixar Animation Studios film that features the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey in a story about what makes you … you (Dec. 25). The action follows a middle school band teacher named Joe (Foxx) who gets transported to The Great Before, a place where new souls get their personalities before going to Earth. Joe meets 22 (Fey), a soul who doesn’t understand why the human experience is appealing, and he decides to show 22 what’s great about living. Alongside “Soul” is the premiere of animated short film “Burrow,” about a young rabbit who sets out to dig her dream home but makes one mistake after another until she finally learns to ask for help.
“Wonder Woman 1984” is in theatres and on HBO Max Christmas Day. In this fun installment, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) lives quietly among mortals in 1984 Washington D.C. She maintains a low profile working as a curator at the Smithsonian Museum (with some occasional crime fighting) but is soon drawn into a bigger battle with two new villains, Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and the Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). A charming Chris Pine returns as boyfriend, Steve Trevor and his romantic chemistry with Gadot is a highlight.
In this year’s “Call the Midwife” holiday special (Dec. 25, PBS, 9 p.m. ET), everyone at Nonnatus House is happily anticipating a traditional celebration but of course, nothing quite turns out that way.
Companion series, “Shameless Hall of Shame,” sends-off “Shameless,” Showtime’s highest-rated scripted original series (Dec. 27, 9 p.m. ET). The six-episode series features new “Shameless” scenes juxtaposed with a retrospective look at each character’s journey over the last 10 seasons.
This year is the 85th anniversary of the publication of “Little House on the Prairie” and PBS marks the occasion with “American Masters: Laura Ingalls Wilder,” a documentary about the author (Dec. 29, PBS, 9 p.m. ET). Wilder’s autobiographical fiction about her frontier childhood helped to shape American notions of pioneering and self-reliance. The film explores her legacy and her writing collaboration with her daughter Rose.
On Dec. 31, Ken Jeong and Joel McHale host “Fox’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2021” (Fox, 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. ET, returns at 11 p.m. ET). Jennifer Lopez is the headliner for “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021” (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) and Snoop Dogg partners with new talent competition series “Go-Big Show” for “TBS ‘Go-Big Show’ Presents Snoop Dogg’s Virtual New Year’s Eve Special” (11 p.m. ET). On NBC, Carson Daly returns to host “NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2020,” (10 p.m. ET, with final countdown at 11:30 ET) and Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen are back for “CNN’s New Year’s Eve” (8 p.m. ET).
Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: Amazon renewed “The Wilds” for season two.
Losers: Disney+ canceled plans for a “Lizzie McGuire” revival.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.