This Week in TV: Holiday Specials Galore, ‘The Beatles: Get Back,’ ‘Hogwarts Tournament’

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Christmas movies have been airing since before Halloween, and CBS has already aired Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer this year. But with Thanksgiving on Thursday, the TV holiday season really begins in earnest. The broadcast networks are filled with specials over the next seven days, and streaming and cable premieres (holiday themed or not) are plentiful as well.

Below is The Hollywood Reporter‘s rundown of premieres, returns and specials over the next seven days. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options for the coming week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.

The Big Show

One of the biggest network broadcasts of the year (that’s not an NFL game) airs Thursday. It’s not in primetime, either: It’s NBC’s annual airing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (9 a.m. in all time zones, and also on Telemundo and Peacock). If recent history serves as a guide, more than 20 million people are likely to watch the parade as they start their Thanksgiving festivities.

After a severely scaled down (and mostly made for TV) procession last year, the parade will be mostly back to normal as it makes its way through the Manhattan streets. Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will serve as hosts for NBC.

Also on broadcast …

The National Dog Show (noon Thursday, NBC) follows the parade. The Thanksgiving tripleheader of NFL games is Bears at Lions (12:30 p.m.ET/9:30 a.m. PT, Fox), Raiders at Cowboys (4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT, CBS) and Bills at Saints (8:20 p.m. ET/5:20 p.m. PT, NBC).

Among the specials in the next week are Jimmy Fallon’s Five More Sleeps Till Christmas (8:30 p.m. Friday, NBC), One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (8 p.m. Sunday, CBS), The Waltons Homecoming (8 p.m. Sunday, The CW), the season premiere of The Great Christmas Light Fight (9 p.m. Sunday, ABC), The Black Pack: We Three Kings (8 p.m. Monday, The CW) and Christmas in Rockefeller Center (8 p.m. Wednesday, NBC). Unscripted series That’s My Jam premieres at 10 p.m. Monday on NBC before taking up its regular home in January.   

On streaming …

New: Director Peter Jackson has called The Beatles: Get Back a “documentary about a documentary,” as it covers the same period — and uses previously unseen film culled from the making of — Let It Be, Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 film about the making of the band’s final studio album. Restored footage from that time aims to give a more complete picture of how the Fab Four made their last record together. It will run over three consecutive days starting Thursday on Disney+.

Also: HBO Max debuts the second half of Gossip Girl and unscripted show 12 Dates of Christmas on Thursday. The final season of F Is for Family premieres Thursday on Netflix. The first South Park movie for Paramount+, South Park: Post Covid, drops Thursday as well. Wednesday brings the final season of Lost in Space (Netflix) and the Roku Channel’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, a movie follow-up to the late NBC series.

On cable …

New: Helen Mirren — one of the few esteemed British actors not to have a part in the Harry Potter movie series — joins the franchise in a way as host of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses (8 p.m. Sunday, TBS and Cartoon Network). The quiz show will feature Potter superfans testing their knowledge of the Wizarding World.

Also: Season two of the critically hailed How To With John Wilson premieres at 10 p.m. Friday on HBO. Don Johnson and Cheech Marin reunite for a Nash Bridges movie (9 p.m. Saturday, USA). The second season of Nat Geo’s anthology The Hot Zone (9 p.m. Sunday) deals with the anthrax poisonings of 2001. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia begins its 15th(!) season at 10 p.m. Wednesday on FXX.

In case you missed it …

The Sex Lives of College Girls can sometimes play like “a millennial’s idea of what Gen Z is up to,” writes THR critic Angie Han of the HBO Max series. That said, however, the show’s quartet of leads (Pauline Chalamet, Renee Rapp, Alyah Chanelle Scott and Amrit Kaur) has instant chemistry, and the series — co-created by Mindy Kaling and Justin Nobel — “deserves the chance to come into its own alongside its girls,” writes Han. The first half of the season is streaming now, with the remaining five episodes debuting Dec. 2 and 9.

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