Good Monday morning! This weekend, we attempted a family version of Nailed It! via Zoom, creating gingerbread houses from Target kits—though the Nailed It! connection was an after-the-fact, unintentional observation for our household’s creation. Judge for yourself.
There are just three reality shows premiering new seasons this week, and one new reality show, which is nothing compared to most weeks. But there are almost 20 one-off documentaries and unscripted specials. And we’ll also have the finales of The Amazing Race 32 and The Masked Singer (CBS and Fox, Wednesday at 8).
First, returning for new seasons are:
- Celebrity IOU (HGTV, Mondays at 9)
- Song Exploder (Netflix, Tuesday)
- Unexpected (TLC, Sundays)
The new series is On Pointe (Disney+, Friday), which follows kids at the School of American Ballet over the course of a season.
If you’re looking for something new on Netflix, The Challenge seasons 10 and 13 are on Netflix starting Tuesday, as is Black Ink Crew: New York seasons 1 and 2.
MTV is spinning off the show that fills up most of its schedule, Ridiculousness, into Deliciousness (MTV, weekdays at 7 this week), which features Tiffani Thiessen, The Office‘s Angela Kinsey, Kel Mitchell, and Tim Chantarangsu talking about “the internet’s most viral and entertaining videos” about food.
Here are reality shows that are doing special holiday episodes this week:
- Guy’s Grocery Games: Delivery’s “all-star Hanukkah” episode (Food Network, Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 9) has Duff Goldman, Eric Greenspan, and Aaron May competing from home to create latkes and other Hanukkah-themed meals.
- Penn & Teller: Merry Fool Us (The CW, Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 9) has a special Christmas-themed trophy and costumes, along with magicians performing for the duo.
- Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic 2019 (The CW, Sunday, Dec. 20, at 8) has magicians performing.
- 12 Dates of Christmas has a special reunion (HBO Max, Thursday) hosted by Shangela, who will ask Chad, Faith, and Garrett about their experience on the show.
- You’ll Be Home for Christmas (HGTV, Friday, Dec. 18, at 10) has Albie Mushaney—”who moonlights as a Santa impersonator,” according to HGTV—”help[ing first-time homebuyers find their forever home in time for the holidays” while “adding special seasonal touches like a fully decorated tree with gifts underneath.”
- Holiday Baking Championship: Secret Sweets (Food Network, Sunday, Dec. 20, at 10) airs the night before the Dec. 21 finale of this season, and has a look back at the competition with the final four and the judges—plus behind-the-scenes footage.
Elephants, polar bears, murderers, and more
If you want to go outside via your TV, whether to Botswana or an icy ocean, here are three nature-themed documentary specials:
- Photo Ark (NatGeo WILD, Oct. 17 and 24 at 10) follows “National Geographic Photo Ark Joel Sartore on his quest to use the power of photography to inspire people to save species at risk by photographing every species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries,” according to NatGeo.
- March of the Polar Bears (NatGeo WILD, Sunday, Dec. 20, at 8) is “first-ever attempt to follow polar bears traversing the sea ice of Hudson Bay,” according to the network.
- Walking with Elephants (Animal Planet, Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 8) follows a conservationist who is following elephants as they migrate in Botswana.
Netflix has three documentaries coming Wednesday:
- Anitta: Made in Honorio (Netflix, Dec. 16) profiles Brazil’s pop star Anitta
- Break It All: The History of Rock in Latin America, which has a self-explanatory title
- The Ripper, which focuses on a serial killer in 1970s England.
And here are all the other documentaries and specials premiering over the next week:
- Beyond the Pole: Living Under Lockdown (WE tv, Thursday, Dec. 17, at 10) has Ms. Dime, Angel Kake, Empress, and Lyric filming their lives after Atlanta’s clubs and bars close and they “struggle to find income,” according to WE tv.
- Return from ISIS (PBS, Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 10) “tells the story of American mother Sam Elhassani and her kids’ journey from Indiana to the heart of the self-declared ISIS caliphate and back,” according to PBS.
- The Infinite Race (ESPN, Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 9) tells the story of what followed after the book Born to Run introduced people to barefoot running by focusing on the Tarahumara Mexican indigenous community. Specifically, ESPN says, “the Tarahumara’s minimal footwear inspired an international craze while the constant threat of organized crime facing the community was overlooked and forgotten.”
- The murder of murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi, a Guatemalan activist, is covered in The Art of Political Murder (HBO, Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 9).
- Gay Chorus Deep South (Logo/Pop/PlutoTV, Sunday, Dec. 20, at 9) is a 2019 documentary that follows 300+ gay chorus members who “travelled from Mississippi to Tennessee through the Carolinas and over the bridge in Selma” and “performed in churches, community centers and concert halls in hopes of uniting us in a time of difference,” according to the documentary’s press kit.
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