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The biggest premiere on television in the week of Dec. 21 wasn’t originally meant for television: Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to 2017’s megahit Wonder Woman, is debuting on HBO Max in addition to theaters that are still open.
The week also bring Shonda Rhimes’ first series for Netflix, a couple of broadcast finales, a streaming first in the NFL and, as it’s Christmas week, the last heavy dose of holiday programming this season. (Check The Hollywood Reporter‘s holiday TV guide for the full list.)
Here is THR‘s rundown of some of the coming week’s highlights. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options each week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.
Wonder Woman 1984 had been slated to open in theaters in June … then August … then October, one of a host of films that shuffled release dates during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Finally, it’s being released simultaneously in both those theaters that are open in the U.S. and on HBO Max — heralding (though negotiated separately from) Warner Bros. moving its entire 2021 lineup to the streamer for same-day release with theatrical runs.
As for the movie itself? It’s earning mostly positive reviews from critics. THR‘s David Rooney writes that WW84 suffers from sequel bloat, but that director Patty Jenkins delivers “an absolute blast” in one early action sequence and star Gal Gadot }remains a charismatic presence.” It debuts Friday, Christmas day, on HBO Max.
Also on streaming …
Three years after signing a megadeal with Netflix, Shonda Rhimes‘ first series for the streamer makes its debut on Friday: Bridgerton is a period drama (created by Scandal veteran Chris Van Dusen) based on a series of popular romance novels by Julia Quinn. With a diverse cast and timely storytelling despite its Regency-era setting, Van Dusen told THR that it’s “not your grandmother’s period show.”
Wonder Woman 1984 isn’t the only big movie hitting a streaming platform: Pixar’s Soul, starring Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, bows Friday on Disney+. Also due this week are Finnish Cold War thriller Shadow Lines (Thursday, Sundance Now) and a new season of Letterkenny (Saturday, Hulu). Additionally, Amazon’s Prime Video will carry the first ever NFL game that’s exclusive to a streaming service at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT Saturday, when it showcases the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals (the game will also air on traditional TV in the two teams’ home markets).
On broadcast …
Finales: The Bachelorette finishes its season with Tayshia Adams deciding who among her final three suitors has really won her heart. The ABC show closes out with episodes Monday and Tuesday, both at 8 p.m. Also Tuesday, Fox’s (already canceled) drama Next concludes with its last two episodes, starting at 8 p.m.
New: Acclaimed documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his lens on the city government of Boston in City Hall (8 p.m. Tuesday, PBS). Following an NFL doubleheader on Dec. 27, Fox debuts The Masked Dancer (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), hosted by Craig Robinson.
In case you missed it …
In the early days of the pandemic, when schools closing down meant cancellation of sports, graduation ceremonies and spring musicals, Tony winner Laura Benanti created a Twitter hashtag, #SunshineSongs, where students could share what they would have performed on stage. Thousands of people uploaded their songs, generating millions of views. Several of those performances, and the stories behind them, are featured in Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020, which Benanti executive produced. It’s available on HBO Max.
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