TV This Weekend

Virgin River Is Poised For a Breakout as Netflix Drops Season 2

ALSO: Black Beauty, The Great British Baking Show, Empires of New York, Sugar Rush Christmas, and more.
  • Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson in Virgin River. (Netflix)
    Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson in Virgin River. (Netflix)

    That persistent buzzing you hear? It may be the sound of Netflix's next sleeper hit. Since quietly dropping its first season last December, romantic drama Virgin River has amassed a small legion of fans, and all signs point to Season 2 being the series' breakout year.

    Also this weekend: The Great British Baking Show crowns its Series 11 winner, CNBC gets into the prestige docuseries game with Empires of New York, and a whole bunch of holiday classics are getting their annual broadcasts. Here's what's new and noteworthy on TV this weekend:


    COMPLETE SECOND SEASON: Things are more complicated than ever as Virgin River returns for its second season, with Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) still wrestling with her feelings for Jack (Martin Henderson), despite the fact that Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley) is about to have his baby. Watch trailer. Streaming on Netflix

    SEASON FINALE: It's been a salve in trying times, but The Great British Baking Show Series 11 is calling it day. Fortunately, the show is dropping a pair of new-to-netflix holiday specials next week. Streaming on Netflix

    MOVIE PREMIERE: A wild horse (voiced by Kate Winslet) and a teenage girl (Mackenzie Foy) forge an unbreakable bond In Black Beauty, a new filmed interpretation of the classic novel. Watch trailer. Streaming on Disney+

    COMEDY SPECIAL: Puppet comic phenom Jeff Dunham returns to Comedy Central with Jeff Dunham's Completely Unrehearsed Last-Minute Pandemic Holiday Special, the first of three new Dunham specials coming to the basic cable channel the next year. 8:00 PM ET on Comedy Central

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Illumination presents an all new Minions Holiday Special featuring four mini-movie escapades, along with special guest appearances from some of the animation studio's beloved characters from The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. 8:30 PM ET on NBC

    COMPLETE SECOND SEASON: Sweet treats and celebrity guests are set to fuel Sugar Rush Christmas's second season of sugary holiday indulgence. Watch trailer. Streaming on Netflix

    ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY: The Shonda Rhimes-produced Netflix documentary Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker follows national treasure Debbie Allen as she and her students prepare for their annual, one-of-a-kind production of The Nutcracker. Watch trailer. Streaming on Netflix

    ORIGINAL MOVIE: The second installment in Steve McQueen's five-film Small Axe anthology, Lovers Rock, made quite the splash when it premiered at the New York Film Festival earlier this year, where critics hailed it as a "galvanizing party movie," featuring the year's best movie scene. Watch trailer. Streaming on Prime Video

    SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Boris Karloff lends his voice to the original 1966 holiday short How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in which the Grinch attempts the legendary holiday heist of Whoville. 8:00 PM ET on NBC

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: It was 51 years ago that CBS first aired Frosty the Snowman, and all these many years later it remains a holiday favorite. The network is airing the original and the 1992 follow-up Frosty Returns back-to back, starting at 8:00 PM ET on CBS

    SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Having significantly opened up its scope over its last four episodes, The Mandalorian crosses over Season 2's half-way mark with a new episode written and directed by Dave Filoni. Streaming on Disney+


    CABLE PREMIERE: HBO's big Saturday night movie premiere this week is The Call of the Wild, which opened in theaters this past February. Based on the classic book by Jack London, the film follows a rambunctious dog who is taken from California to the wilds of the Yukon at the height of the gold rush. There he crosses path with a host of humans — most notably John Thornton (Harrison Ford) — and gets in touch with his vicious inner spirit. Watch trailer. 8:00 PM ET on HBO

    MADE FOR TV MOVIE: All she wants is a Christmas Waltz, but it takes the help of a hunky instructor (Will Kemp) to help newly-dumped Avery (Lacey Chabert) get over her fears and get out on the dance floor. Watch trailer. 8:00 PM ET on Hallmark

    SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Rudolph's son Robbie the Reindeer outwits a host of nefarious scrooges in the holiday specials Hooves of Fire and Legend of the Lost Tribe. Airing back-to-back beginning at 8:00 PM ET on CBS


    SERIES PREMIERE: The six-part CNBC docuseries Empires of New York looks at the rise of five icons who swept into the city in the 70s and 80s — Ivan Boesky, Donald Trump, Leona Helmsley, Rudy Giuliani, and John Gotti — determined to win their way to the top, no matter the cost. Paul Giammati narrates. Watch trailer. 8:00 PM ET on CNBC

    SEASON FINALE: Henry (Ruairi O'Connor) descends into madness on The Spanish Princess as Catherine (Charlotte Hope ) faces an incomprehensible threat to her life in the show's second season closer. 8:00 PM ET on Starz

    LIMITED SERIES FINALE: Haley (Noma Dumezweni) walks an ethical tightrope in the finale of The Undoing, while Grace (Nicole Kidman) tries to protect her family. 9:00 PM ET on HBO

    SEASON FINALE: Josto (Jason Schwartzman) gets revenge in the season finale of Fargo as Oraetta (Jessie Buckley) comes clean and Ebal (Francesco Acquaroli) teaches Loy (Chris Rock) a lesson about business. 10:00 PM ET on FX

    ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY: Errol Morris and Joanna Harcourt-Smith examine the period in which legendary LSD guru Timothy Leary became a narc in My Psychedelic Love Story, asking if the woman he described as his "perfect love" was a government pawn. Watch trailer. 9:00 PM ET on Showtime

    AWARDS SHOW: Babyface, CeeLo Green, Charlie Wilson, Ella Mai, Jazmine Sullivan, Lucky Daye, and Smokey Robinson are among the performers and presenters scheduled to appear at the 2020 Soul Train Awards, honoring the the best in soul, R&B, and hip hop. Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold return as hosts for the third year in a row. 8:00 PM ET on BET, Her, VH1 and MTV2

    SEASON FINALE: The first season of The Walking Dead: World Beyond wraps up with a supersized two and a half hour finale starting at 9:00 PM ET on AMC

    Mike Attebery is Senior Editor at Primetimer and the author of seven mystery thrillers. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeattebery.

    TOPICS: Virgin River, Netflix