It’s a quieter TV time of year, at least until Jan. 1, but there’s still lots of TV to watch as you do last-minute online shopping for products with the coolest logo ever—or while you stay home to avoid last-minute shoppers.
This preview covers reality TV and other nonfiction that debuts over the next two weeks, and thus is the final preview for the year. That means this feature has existed for an entire year, and as part of my end-of-year reflection, I’m thinking about whether it’s worth continuing in the new year.
If you’ve been reading these posts most weeks, or if you have thoughts or suggestions, I’m eager to hear.
Besides e-mailing me directly, you can also tell me what you think about this and other reality blurred stories by filling out this end-of-the-year feedback survey, which has a few quick, anonymous questions.
Thanks in advance—and thanks for reading! On to the reality television.
Specials, finales, and marathons
- Games from Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show are becoming a prime-time series, Ellen’s Game of Games, which debuts in January but airs a preview tonight (NBC, Monday, Dec. 17, at 10).
- Survivor Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers ends the season with a two-hour finale and one-hour reunion (CBS, Wednesday, Dec. 19, from 8 to 11).
- Inside the Actors Studio is back with Kristen Wiig (Bravo, Thursday, Dec. 21, at 8).
- The Voice (NBC, Dec. 18, Tuesday, at 9) ends Jennifer Hudson’s first season as a coach, though her team doesn’t have a contestant in the finale.
- So, yes, it’s pretty much an ad, but it’s also one that I appreciate as a fan of both theme parks and holiday decorations: Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic (FreeForm, Monday, Dec. 18, at 8), which ABC says is “an inside look at how Disney transforms its theme parks and resort hotels into a winter wonderland.”
- The Naked Truth: Wasteland (Fusion, Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 8) looks at Oklahoma and its environmental disasters—which are especially relevant because the current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, was the state’s anti-environmental-regulation attorney general.
- There’s a 12-day marathon of NatGeo WILD’s The Incredible Dr. Pol that starts on Dec. 25.
- Science Channel’s MythBusters Mega Merry-Thon starts Thursday, Dec. 22, at midnight, and continues through Jan. 3 at 9 p.m., when a new episode of Mythbusters airs.
Season and series premieres
- MAFS season one couple Jamie and Doug are having a baby, and their new series follows them and their kid: Married at First Sight: Jamie and Doug Plus One (Lifetime, Dec. 19 at 8, then Tuesdays at 10).
- A new housewife, Teddi Mellencamp, joins The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Bravo, Dec. 19, Tuesdays at 9), while Camille Grammer gets demoted to “friend” status.
- The Toys that Made Us (Netflix, Dec. 22) is a series described as “an international journey through parts of our history and culture shaped by popular toys.”
- Expedition Unknown (Travel Channel, Dec. 27, Wednesdays at 9).
- The second season of Bill Nye Saves the World (Netflix, Dec. 29) premieres.
- The game show that’s like Plinko plus tears, The Wall, returns (NBC, Jan. 1, Mondays at 8).
- Unexpected bachelor star Arie Luyendyk Jr. returns to search for love The Bachelor 22 (ABC, Jan. 1, Mondays at 8).
- Four actors and one comedian travel the world in the is-it-unscripted-or-not series Better Late Than Never (NBC, Jan. 1, Mondays at 9).
- Kids Baking Championship (Food Network, Jan. 1, Mondays at 9).
- Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail hosts 60 Days In (A&E, Jan. 1 at 9, then Thursdays at 10) returns, just in case you didn’t know how awful jail was.
- Supergirl (PBS, Monday, Dec. 18, at 10) is about how she “broke a world powerlifting record at the age of ten” and “fights to hold on to her title while navigating the perils of adolescence—from strict religious obligations to cyberbullying to health issues that could jeopardize her future in powerlifting,” according to PBS.
- Four short films—each of which follow a Latina girl who’s celebrating her 15th birthday—will form the four-night A Quinceañera Story (HBO, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 20, 21, and 22, at 7). The girls are “from different cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds,” according to HBO, and the things they are “grappling with [include] gender identity to the constant fear of having a loved one deported.”
- I Am Sam Kinison (Spike, Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 10) profiles the comedian as part of Spike’s “I Am” first-person documentary series.
- The Family I Had (Investigation Discovery, Thursday, Dec. 21, at 9) follows a mother whose teenage son killed her daughter.
- The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin (PBS, Jan. 1) is about the writer of Tales of the City, and “the life and career of the groundbreaking storyteller, following his evolution from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels have inspired millions,” according to PBS.