An apology: it appears that WGBH was not following the PBS schedule I was working from last week when I mentioned the Bruce Springsteen tribute for Friday, December 5th. It may be due to a pledge drive, but the program didn’t air; it will be shown this Wednesday, December 10th, at 1 am. Unless you’re quite a night owl it’s not a very convenient time (it’s three hours long), so if you’re interested I suggest setting the DVR.
Monday, December 8
Regarding Susan Sontag (9-10:45 pm, HBO)
Nancy Kates directed this profile of the author, critic, and activist who was one of the most significant cultural voices of the 20th century.
Tuesday, December 9
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (8-9 pm, CBS)
Saturday was the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Rudolph. I know not everyone cares about such sentimental and nostalgic stuff, but some of us grew up with it and rewatching it year after year brings back a lot of memories. It’s a classic and it’s on again tonight.
Wednesday, December 10
The Sure Thing (9-10:40 pm, Turner Classic Movies)
Funny and well-executed mid-1980s road-trip movie directed by Rob Reiner about a pair of very dissimilar college students (John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga) forced to travel cross-country together.
Thursday, December 11
God’s Pocket (8:30-10 pm, Showtime)
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christina Hendricks star in this gritty drama about a man trying to cover up his culpability in the death of his stepson, based on a book by Pete Dexter and directed by Hendricks’s Mad Men costar John Slattery.
Friday, December 12
Marco Polo (Netflix)
Give Netflix credit: its original programming has been quite varied, and this 10-episode historical drama may be its most ambitious series yet, telling the story of the Italian explorer’s journeys in Asia and filmed in locations there.
Also tonight: The Soup moved from Fridays to Wednesdays back in late 2011, and now it’s returning to Fridays, where it always felt more like it belonged, starting tonight (10-10:30, E!) with part one of its annual Soup Awards special.
Saturday, December 13
Not Much Happening
Oof, it’s a tough night. Got any holiday parties to go to? If not, you might want to see what you’ve got saved on your DVR. Otherwise, NBC is repeating Peter Pan; CBS is repeating Rudolph; IFC is showing Half Baked for the thousandth time; and FX has the flawed but intriguing Prometheus (7:30-10 pm).
Sunday, December 14
American Hustle (8-10:20 pm, Encore)
Directed by David O. Russell and partly filmed in greater Boston, this 2013 movie contains more fascinating work from Christian Bale as a con artist pressed into service by the FBI to expose corruption in New Jersey politics in the late 1970s. The rest of the cast is great too: Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner.
Black Mirror (2011-)
This British series has been compared to The Twilight Zone; the most obvious similarity is that each episode is a self-contained story. The series as a whole explores the darkness in human nature and the paranoia that technology can induce. (Two seasons, six episodes total so far.)
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)