Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix film) — Chadwick Boseman left this world far too soon, but before he departed, he left us a lasting performance alongside Oscar winner Viola Davis. She portrays the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” and he’s her ambitious trumpeteer, Levee. Together with his fellow musicians, they will conquer a blazing hot 1920s Chicago recording session, and Levee will help inspire his colleagues to unleash truth-revealing stories that will alter their lives and, possibly, history itself. It’s a testament to the blues’ transformative power and adapted from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play of the same name with Denzel Washington onboard as producer.
The Mandalorian: Chapter 11 (Disney+ series) — The season finale arrives with Baby Yoda meeting an iconic character from the Star Wars universe and a post-credits scene that’s causing some panic in the fandom. However, Baby Yoda still has a Christmas Day present, so check in for that as well.
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max series) — It’s Season 1 finale time, y’all, so who’s the murderer? Kaley Cuoco busts away from the The Big Bang Theory with a fun flight of (darkly comedic) fancy. She plays portrays an airline stewardess whose international jet-setting lifestyle includes falling into bed in various countries with various handsome men. During the course of one particularly fateful encounter, Cassie wakes up next to the dead body of a one-night stand. She spends the rest of the series attempting to clean sh*t up. It is such a blast, truly.
The Stand: Premiere (CBS All Access) — Constant Readers will appreciate this fresh take on Stephen King’s epic novel, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest post-apocalyptic works of fiction. Those who are afraid of checking into pandemic land can rest assured that the show feels like an unlikely antidote to the hellish things that humanity has seen this year. The show also goes non-linear in order to avoid wading through the superflu like the book did, since this isn’t really a “pandemic” story but one about the rebuilding of society and the archetypal battle between good and evil.
Small Axe (Amazon film collection) — It’s week five of five for this batch of Steve McQueen-directed movies. The stories, set in London’s West Indian community, will explore the endurance of the human spirit despite setbacks from discrimination and rampant racism, all set from the late 1960s to the 1980s.
Here’s the rest of this weekend’s notable programming:
SNL (Saturday, 11:29 p.m.) — Host Kristen Wiig and musical guest Dua Lipa.
Supermarket Sweep (Sunday, ABC 8:00 p.m.) — Leslie Jones and every bit of her enthusiasm will host contestants in this revival of the grocery-shopping game show.
The Outpost (Sunday, CW 9:00 p.m.) — Falista’s angry, Janzo’s a detective, and Talon’s also digging deep into what happened with her father. And what’s going on with Tobin?
Your Honor (Sunday, Showtime 10:00 p.m.) — This week, Bryan Cranston is Panic-Cranstoning all over the place while fixing up details about his son’s hit-and-run while the mob family’s working toward revenge, and Lt. Nancy Costello is having suspicions.
Shameless (Sunday, CW 9:00 p.m.) — Franny ends up with Frank all day, and it doesn’t go exactly as expected! Well, there’s weed, too, but other than that a lot of focus ends up on Ian and Mickey’s constant squabbling, along with another crisis for Tami’s family. Yep, the Gallaghers are dealing with the pandemic in their own way on Chicago’s South Side, and I still have wishes for this final season.
In case you missed these recent picks:
Adult Material (HBO Max) — Hayley Squires stars as a well-known British porn star who lives in the spotlight while also juggling motherhood. Rupert Everett plays her old colleague, with whom she navigates the Internet’s porn revolution, and they search for innovative ways to put a fresh spin on all things erotic. WarnerMedia’s streaming service acquired this drama series, which is currently airing on the U.K.’s Channel 4, from Banijay Rights.
The Prom (Netflix film) — Ryan Murphy’s relationship with Netflix keeps on giving, this time with a neon-bedazzled Broadway adaptation, which stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and James Corden. The three help shake up the prom at a small Indiana town after a teen faces bigotry while attempting to attend her high school’s biggest dance with her girlfriend. Also, glitter, glitter, and more glitter, all in service of inclusion.