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What to Watch This Week | November 29–December 5

CableTV.com’s flawless viewing recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this week.

Now that Turkey Day is out of the way, it’s apparently time to get down to Christmas business. Half of this week’s TV recommendations are holiday-themed, and it’s only going to escalate from here. Just tell your parents, “Sorry, we can’t come over for the holidays—too many shows to watch.” They’ll understand.

This week’s What to Watch picks include the returns of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Lost in Space, a gritty Benedict Cumberbatch western, and five Christmas shows and specials that are way out of the eggnog norm (including, would you believe, Seth Rogen as a foul-mouthed animated Santa Claus?). Happy Christmas countdown viewing!

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What’s premiering this week

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia | FXX, Hulu | Comedy

Season 15 premiere, Wednesday, Dec. 1: That’s right, 15 seasons—It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the longest-running live-action comedy in TV history (the cartoon crown goes to The Simpsons with 33 seasons). Have Dennis, Dee, Charlie, Mac, and Frank mellowed with age? Nope, they just find new ways to be hilariously offensive. This season’s two-episode opener deals with the Gang’s fraudulent 2020 PPE loans and their even-more-fraudulent Lethal Weapon 7 movie. No moral lessons are ever learned on Sunny, which is as it should be.

Silent Night | AMC+ | Comedy, horror

Movie premiere, Friday, Dec. 3: Family and friends gather for a festive Christmas dinner in the English countryside—actually, make that the last Christmas dinner. A toxic gas cloud is enveloping the world, and this environmental apocalypse will hit the UK on Christmas. It’s up to dinner hosts Nell (Keira Knightly) and Simon (Matthew Goode) to hold this celebration of “love and forgiveness” together, but the guests (including Lily-Rose Depp, Annabelle Wallis, and Lucy Punch) are anything but cooperative. Silent Night is the feel-bad hit of the holiday season.

What to watch on Netflix this week

Lost in Space | Netflix | Drama, sci-fi

Season 3 premiere, Wednesday, Dec. 1: It’s been two years since the previous season of Lost in Space dropped, so you’re forgiven if you’re asking, “Which Netflix sci-fi show is this, again?” Lost in Space is a remake of the same-named ’60s TV series about a family of space colonists escaping a doomed Earth for a new solar system. When they’re knocked off course, it’s up to mom Maureen (Molly Parker), Dr. Smith (Parker Posey), and an alien robot to salvage the mission—but there’s treachery and deception afoot. Also: Season 3 is the last for Lost in Space.

The Power of the Dog | Netflix | Drama, western

Movie premiere, Wednesday, Dec. 1: In her first film in 12 years, writer/director Jane Campion (The Piano, Bright Star) adapts the ’60s novel about estranged Montana rancher brothers. Short-tempered Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) is none too pleased when his brother George (Jesse Plemons) brings a new bride (Kirsten Dunst) into the ranch house, so Phil proceeds to make her life hell. The Power of the Dog soon reveals Phil’s own demons, making for a bleak and brutal western drama that manages to carve out a (relatively) happy ending.

What to watch on Hulu this week

Candified: Home for the Holidays | Hulu | Reality

Series premiere, Wednesday, Dec. 1: Hollywood candymaker-to-the-stars Jackie Sorkin and her team of candy artists rush to build a life-sized candy house in time for Christmas . . . in six weeks. Why do these reality shows always impose such seemingly impossible deadlines on themselves? It’s called D-R-A-M-A, people. Over four episodes, Jackie and the team face sticky challenges from investors, inner-circle conflicts, and, most devastating of all, a national gummy shortage (nooo!). Will they finish the candy house in time? Spoiler: of course they do.

PEN15 | Hulu | Comedy

Season 2 Pt. 2 premiere, Friday, Dec. 3: The best comedy about 2000s middle-school trauma starring 30-something actresses (Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle) playing their 13-year-old selves in a cast of actual teens is back! The critically-acclaimed PEN15 is ridiculous in all the best ways, a “cringe” comedy that captures the awkwardness, discovery, and (occasional) fun of seventh grade with uncomfortable accuracy—Saved by the Bell, this ain’t. The second half of season 2 kicks off with a bat mitzvah, which is always comedy gold for teen tales. PEN15 FTW.

What to watch on HBO Max this week

Listening to Kenny G | HBO, HBO Max | Documentary, music

Documentary premiere, Friday, Dec. 3: HBO’s Music Box documentary series has covered Woodstock ’99, Alanis Morrissette, and DMX—so, naturally, you’d expect smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G to be the next topic, right? Besides his upbringing, Listening to Kenny G also explores how one artist can be so hated and marginalized but still sell millions of albums to a rabid fanbase (well, as rabid as smooth jazz aficionados get). The topic of “good” vs. “bad” music is also dissected, and Kenny G himself is all-in on the joke in this unusually funny rockumentary.

Santa Inc. | HBO Max | Animation, comedy

Series premiere, Thursday, Dec. 2: Keep the kiddies away—this stop-motion-animated series may look like a Rankin-Bass classic, but it’s really a potty-mouthed comedy for adults. Elf Candy Smalls (voiced by Sarah Silverman) dreams of becoming the first female Santa Claus and gets her chance when the successor to the current Santa (Seth Rogen) is stolen by Amazon. Other familiar voices in Santa Inc. include Maria Bamford, Nicholas Braun, Craig Robinson, Gabourey Sidibe, and Leslie Grossman, and all eight half-hour episodes drop Thursday, Dec. 2.

W2W wildcards of the week

Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas | The Roku Channel | Comedy, music

Movie premiere, Wednesday, Dec. 1: Canceled NBC series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist finally gets a proper sendoff with Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, a holiday movie that doubles as a series finale. After a freak accident, software developer Zoey (Jane Levy) discovered that she can hear and see the thoughts and emotions of people as songs—things got weird from there over two seasons. Each previous Zoey episode featured around six elaborate song-and-dance karaoke explosions, so expect her extraordinary Christmas to pull out all the holiday stops.

A Clüsterfünke Christmas | Comedy Central | Comedy

Movie premiere, Saturday, Dec. 4: Big-city real estate exec Holly (Vella Lovell) arrives in a small town intent on buying the quaint Clüsterfünke Inn to turn it into a posh resort. But she has to convince the owners (Ana Gasteyer and Rachel Dratch) to sell, and she soon finds herself swooning over a hunky local lumberjack (Cheyenne Jackson). Yes, A Clüsterfünke Christmas is a parody of every Hallmark and Lifetime holiday rom-com ever, written and co-produced by Saturday Night Live veterans Gasteyer and Dratch. Another Comedy Central Christmas flick, Hot Mess Holiday, drops next week.

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