I was gonna joke and call this the CHRISTMAS ONLY watch list, but then realized that shit isn’t funny and our crumbling democracy is not a joke and oh my GOD, I’m so depressed. Anyway! Here’s some TV to watch and pretend it’s just a normal holiday season and not one where we might die a nuclear death! Merry fucking Christmas!
Wonderfully Corny Holiday Movies (Lifetime/Hallmark/and yes, Netflix)
I don’t usually include movies on this list, but it’s the holidays and they’re basically the only thing I watch. Let’s do a rundown of what’s available: A Christmas Prince (Netflix, hot holiday garbage, already watched fifteen times), Christmas Inheritance (Netflix, I prayed for this to be a festive Brewster’s Millions), and the whole slate of Lifetime and Hallmark movies, which includes but is not limited to: The Christmas Cottage, Christmas Encore, Christmas in Mississippi, and The Christmas Trap (which, Goddess willing, is a horror film).
Snowy Bing Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone (Topic; currently streaming on Topic.com)
I know this isn’t on TV and it’s also a short film (extended sketch?), but it’s one of the most glorious pieces of joyous weirdness that steams from a screen into your eyeballs, and I’m obsessed. It’s hard to describe — a comedic snow ballet? A fart dance journey in space? A wonderfully bloated sketch about beach balls and boners? I’m not making any sense or doing it any justice, but gather round all your weirdest and most wonderful friends and watch this immediately and then watch it again because it’s a gift and ’tis the season.
Encore! (ABC; available on Hulu!)
Kristen Bell hosts this show that gathers together survivors of high school musicals and has them perform the show again, twenty years later. Ugh, I love this concept so much, and I’m begging Kristen to please consider Bishop O’Dowd’s 1996 production of Evita — we had a fourteen-year-old girl playing Che and costumes made from actual drapes. One student was accidentally stripped naked onstage. My mom said she fell asleep twice in the audience. THIS MAGIC MUST BE REPEATED.
When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Engagement (TLC)
It’s a hastily slapped-together look back at the lives of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and since I have nothing but respect for my president, Meghan Markle, I’m very into it. Like, I would wear merchandise with her face on it and I would be PROUD. And you should feel the same way — she’s all we have left to be proud of, as a country, and so I expect you all to watch this several times, at the very least!
A Christmas Story Live! (Fox; originally aired December 17 but is still available online)
It’s the live musical production of A Christmas Story: The Musical, which, yes, sounds terrible, but check out the stars: Maya Rudolph, Jane Krakowski, Chris Diamantopoulos, with narration from acclaimed murderer Matthew Broderick. These live musicals are pretty fun because there’s singin’, and dancin’, and the added suspense of worrying about a set piece falling on a celebrity and knockin’ them unconscious! Of course, none of that happened during this already aired performance, but this is still delightful. Well, if you like live musicals aired on the TV; if not, just watch all the 30 Rock Christmas episodes on Hulu. Something for everyone here at Holiday Watch List!
Taraji’s White Hot Holidays (Fox; originally aired December 14 but available online)
Taraji P. Henson, our Lord and Personal Savior, once again graced us with a variety show to astound and delight! Friends, please look at this lineup and weep: Chaka Khan, Ciara, Faith Evans, Fergie, Jussie Smollett, Leslie Odom Jr., Salt-N-Pepa, the Ying Yang Twins, DJ Khaled, Taye Diggs, Jay Pharoah, Method Man, Tituss Burgess, and Niecy Nash. All I’m saying is that if anything bad happened during that show, we’d lose almost half the talent in America. Thankfully, nothing did, and the resulting show was SPECTACULAR. Go watch it immediately and then try and tell me Taraji isn’t at least the Princess of Christmas! (I didn’t say queen, so you can’t sue me or have me shot and eaten, Mariah!)
Black Mirror (Netflix; December 29)
Season 4 of this science-fiction/horror anthology is the perfect holiday TV choice for these terrifying times! Honestly, that prime minister who fucked a pig in season one is a downright utopian leader compared to the nightmare clown we have in charge right now. There will be six new episodes, including one directed by Queen Jodie Foster, and something like a Star Trek parody starring my third husband, Jesse Plemons, and my fourth wife, Cristin Milioti. So grab some popcorn and get ready to indulge in our future dystopian hellscape!
And if you’re looking for more TV to drown your holiday sorrows, you can always hit up the best of the best from this year. Here are my favorites, in no particular order: Difficult People, Insecure, Superstore, One Mississippi, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Wynonna Earp, Search Party, Broad City, Bob’s Burgers, Alias Grace, The Mick, Dear White People, Review, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Big Little Lies, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Fresh Off the Boat, Halt and Catch Fire, The Last Man on Earth, Lady Dynamite, Black-ish, People of Earth, Mary Kills People, The Good Place, Better Call Saul, GLOW, Catastrophe, The Carmichael Show, The Americans, One Day at a Time, The Young Pope, Winona running in Stranger Things 2, and maybe you can use this time to finally get into Twin Peaks?! You know you want to.