The approach of year’s end means a (relative) lull in the crush of TV premieres in the week of Dec. 9. It does, however, feature the finale of one of cable’s biggest new shows of the fall, the return of a sci-fi series (in a new home) and the final season of a Marvel show.
Here is The Hollywood Reporter‘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. (For holiday programming, see THR‘s guide to all things seasonal.)
The Big Show
When the first episode of Watchmen was screened for critics over the summer, there was some skepticism about how showrunner Damon Lindelof was approaching the story, a continuation of the landmark Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons comic book. Safe to say a good deal of that skepticism has evaporated, as critics have deemed it among the best shows of 2019 — and HBO says it’s the most-watched debut season of a show since Big Little Lies in early 2017.
Watchmen ends its season at 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, following a run of episodes that has brought in several characters from the comic while keeping its focus squarely on Angela Abar (Regina King) and the world she inhabits. Lindelof said before the season he wasn’t sure the series would go beyond the nine episodes made, so he wanted to make a “complete and total” story. Given its success, a second season seems likely, but if not, that complete and total story is about to end.
On streaming …
Returning: More than a year after it ended on Syfy, The Expanse gets a new life Friday on Amazon. The series picks up more or less where its initial run ended, in the aftermath of the discovery of a new, habitable world and with the politics and conflicts of prior seasons still ongoing.
Final season: Runaways debuts its third and last season Friday on Hulu as the Marvel TV roster under outgoing head Jeph Loeb dwindles a little bit more. The final season will find the Runaways searching for three captured friends, facing the evil Morgan le Fay (Elizabeth Hurley) and meeting up with the stars of Freeform’s Cloak and Dagger.
New: A year and change after her talk show, The Break, was canceled, Michelle Wolf returns to Netflix with a stand-up special called Joke Show. It debuts Tuesday.
On broadcast …
New: Ellen DeGeneres enlists a host of celebrities, from Michelle Obama to Jason Momoa, to deliver gifts to deserving people on Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways. The three-night series debuts at 8 p.m. Tuesday and also airs Wednesday and Thursday.
Special: The annual Kennedy Center Honors broadcast (9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, CBS) pays tribute to Sally Field; Earth, Wind & Fire; Linda Ronstadt; Sesame Street; and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
In case you missed it …
The Kenya Barris-produced Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show features both tight sketches (a support group for movie Magical Negroes, a nostalgic music festival failing to adjust to the times) and a faux reality show starring the group’s eight members. Six episodes of the group’s show (they’ve been together for several years) are streaming on Netflix.