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What to Watch This Week | December 4–10’s most excellent viewing recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this week.

Yes, a lot has happened over the past two weeks, but all I care about is The Boys’ season 4 trailer. Hurry up, 2024!

This week’s What to Watch recs include the return of cable detective Monk, Julia Roberts thriller Leave the World Behind, British crime drama Culprits, the festive A Very Demi Holiday Special, and MLS Cup Final soccer action. Only three weeks until Christmas!

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What’s premiering this week

Mr. Monk's Last Case (Peacock)

Mr. Monk’s Last Case | Peacock | Comedy, drama

Movie premiere, Friday, December 8: Multi-phobic, OCD detective Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) dominated cable from 2002 to 2009, culminating with the Monk series finale that was watched by over 9 million viewers—only The Walking Dead topped that. In the overly-titled Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie, Monk is forced back into the field to solve the murder of his stepdaughter’s fiance, with help from returning cast members Traylor Howard and Ted Levine. Better have those wet wipes ready.

Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC players tackle each other during the MLS Cup Final.

MLS Cup Final | FOX, MLS Season Pass | Sports, soccer

Coverage begins Saturday, December 9: Live from Field in Columbus, Ohio, it’s the 2023 MLS Cup Final. After a hard-fought and super-sized season, it’s down to the Columbus Crew (who previously won the MLS Cup in 2008 and 2020) taking on Los Angeles FC (2022 defending MLS Cup champions). “These two clubs represent more than excellence,” notes FOX Sports. “The small-market Crew has the history while big-spending LAFC—just five years removed from its expansion season—continues to set the standard among the league’s recent high-profile entrants.”

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What to watch on Netflix this week

Leave the World Behind (Netflix)

Leave the World Behind | Netflix | Drama, thriller

Movie premiere, Friday, December 8: Leave it to Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail to bring your worst fear to life: no cell or internet service! Leave the World Behind, based on Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel, follows an NYC family (including Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke) to a Hamptons vacation home when a nationwide cyberattack wipes out all communications. The couple they rented the house from (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la Herrold) then return, but are they really who they say they are? Yikes.

Holidate (Netflix)

Holidate | Netflix | Comedy

Movie, now streaming: Tired of being hassled by her family for not having a boyfriend, Sloane (Emma Roberts) joins up with fellow really, really, really ridiculously good-looking single Jackson (Luke Bracey) to pose as a couple on holidays. Holidate, a 2020 Netflix original, opens and ends at Christmastime a year later, so it counts as a holiday rom-com in every sense because all of the holidays are included. Do the pair eventually fall in love for real? Not before a whole lotta hilariously filthy/cringe-y situations (adults only, please).

What to watch on Hulu this week

Culprits (Hulu)

Culprits | Hulu | Drama, thriller

Series premiere, Friday, December 8: Time-hopping British crime thriller Culprits looks like a standard multi-character heist story on its uber-slick surface, but there’s more going on here. Diane Harewood (Gemma Arterton) assembles an elite crew for a big robbery; once the job is done, they disassemble and disappear. But the gang is forced to reunite when a mysterious assassin is apparently targeting each of them—is it an outsider, or one of their own? All eight episodes of Culprits will stream on December 8.

Reporting for Christmas (Hulu)

Reporting for Christmas | Hulu | Comedy

Movie, now streaming: TV news journalist Mary (Tamara Romero) is pulled from her crime beat and assigned a holiday puff piece covering the 40th anniversary of an Iowa toy company’s best-selling Christmas item, Mistle-Toads (they’re exactly what you think they are). Once frosty Mary arrives in the quaint, Christmas-y small town, she soon warms up to the handsome, idealistic heir to the toy company, Blake (Matt Trudeau). Journalistic ethics be darned, Reporting for Christmas is a credible Hallmark clone.

What to watch on Paramount+ this week

Geddy Lee Asks (Paramount+)

Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too? | Paramount+ | Documentary, music

Series premiere, Tuesday, December 5: Rush bassist/singer Geddy Lee is having a moment: My Effin’ Life, his new memoir, came out a couple of weeks ago, and now his four-part docuseries Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too? is dropping on Paramount+. Lee spends some time with Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), Melissa Auf Der Maur (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins), Robert Trujillo (Metallica), and Les Claypool (Primus) shooting the breeze about life in the low-end limelight.

Happy Christmas (2014)

Happy Christmas | Paramount+ | Comedy, drama

Movie, now streaming: Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg is known for shaggy dramedies like Drinking Buddies and Digging for Fire, but his 2014 feature Happy Christmas is a low-key must-see for the holidays. Screwup 20-something Jenny (Anna Kendrick) moves in with her older brother Jeff (Swanberg) and his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey), taking full advantage of their basement tiki bar. When not wasted, Jenny sweetly helps Kelly break out of her domestic funk over Christmas. BTW, all the dialogue is improvised.

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W2W wildcards of the week

Silent Night Fatal Night (Lifetime)

Silent Night, Fatal Night | LMN | Drama

Movie premiere, Thursday, December 7: When best-selling mystery novelist Mallory Dearborn (Alex Camacho) tries to end her detective franchise and retire, her manager Michael (Matthew Pohlkamp) has other plans: He kidnaps her, tells the world she’s dead, and forces imprisoned Mallory to write a “posthumous” cash-out book over Christmas. Silent Night, Fatal Night is a departure from the usual Lifetime Christmas rom-com fare but sounds totally like a Lifetime movie, which is a neat trick.

A Very Demi Holiday Special (Roku Channel)

A Very Demi Holiday Special | The Roku Channel | Holiday, music

Special premiere, Friday, December 8: Pop star Demi Lovato welcomes actress Tiffany Haddish, singer Jojo, model Hailey Bieber, drag star Trixie Mattel, and professional celebrity Paris Hilton to her first holiday special (not counting The Eric Andre New Year’s Eve Spooktacular of 2012—YouTube it). A Very Demi Holiday Special features Christmas activities like decorating cakes with Hilton, making sweaters with Haddish, doing ballet with Mattel, and singing Yuletide standards with Jojo. So Eric Andre wasn’t invited? Rude.

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