TV This Weekend

A Homebound Viewer's Guide to What's New and Noteworthy on TV This Weekend

The Mandalorian wraps Season 2, Kristen Wiig hosts SNL, Netflix bows its Ma Rainey, and more.
  • (Photos: Disney+, NBC and Netflix)
    (Photos: Disney+, NBC and Netflix)

    With coronavirus cases spiking across the country and local officials asking those who can to stay at home, TV is doing its part this weekend by offering up a full menu of programming to suit your every mood, including the final episode of The Mandalorian's barnstormer of a second season, a Saturday Night Live Christmas homecoming, and a new Netflix film that has Oscar prognosticators working overtime.

    Here's what's new and noteworthy on TV this weekend:

    FRIDAY DECEMBER 18

    ORIGINAL MOVIE: One of several Netflix originals already generating Oscar buzz, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom brings August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play to the screen. The film stars Viola Davis as mother of the blues Rainey, who, along with headstrong horn player Levee (Chadwick Boseman in his final film performance), becomes embroiled in a fierce battle with her management company over control of her music. Watch trailer. Streaming on Netflix

    SEASON FINALE: In recent episodes that critics have praised as better than the last five Star Wars films, The Mandalorian has come into close contact with a longtime fan favorite, one whose loyalty is always in doubt. As the season draws to a close, the big question is what role the man in the dented helmet will play in setting things up for Season 3. Streaming on Disney+

    DOCUSERIES PREMIERE: Disney's six-part On Pointe follows students at the legendary School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center. All six episodes drop today. Watch trailer. Streaming on Disney+

    SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May hit the road again in The Grand Tour Presents: A Massive Hunt. The special will follow the trio to Madagascar as they search for treasure. Watch trailer. Streaming on Prime Video

    MOVIE PREMIERE: The political becomes personal in Small Axe: Education, the final installment of Steve McQueen's five part anthology film series. When 12-year-old Kingsley (Kenyah Sandy) is transferred to a special needs school, a group of West Indian women uncover an unofficial segregation policy preventing many black children from receiving the education they deserve. Watch trailer. Streaming on Prime Video

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Christmas comes to the Swamp as Shrek, Donkey, Puss in Boots and all their fairytale buddies Shrek the Halls and put their own twist on the holidays in this 2007 special. 8:30 PM ET on ABC

    SATURDAY DECEMBER 19

    NEW EPISODE: Kristen Wiig returns to host Saturday Night Live's annual doozy of a Christmas episode, with musical guest Dua Lipa. Watch promo. 11:30 PM ET on NBC

    SPECIAL EVENT: Honoring those making extraordinary efforts to lift up the world's most vulnerable, the Global Citizen Prize Awards are set to feature special performances by Alessia Cara, Carrie Underwood, Common, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, JoJo, and Tori Kelly. John Legend hosts. 8:00 PM ET on NBC

    MADE FOR TV MOVIE: When Lila (Rachel Boston) is hired by the Royal Family of Ancadia to repair their Christmas Carousel, sparks fly as she works side-by-side with the Prince (Neal Bledsoe) to complete it by Christmas. Watch preview. 8:00 PM ET on Hallmark

    MADE FOR TV MOVIE: Molly Cooper (Laura Vandervoort) and Patrick Kensington (Rainbow Sun Francks) swap homes and breathless texts in A Christmas Exchange, before quickly making plans to get together on Christmas Day. Watch trailer. 8:00 PM ET on Lifetime

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: It was 51 years ago that Frosty the Snowman first came to life in this holiday classic, and all these years later he's still going strong. 4:55 PM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY MOVIE: After making his family "disappear," young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is Home Alone, forced to do battle with the Wet Bandits while holding down the homestead in this holiday favorite. 11:45 AM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY MOVIE: Tim Burton's stop-motion Gothic fantasy The Nightmare Before Christmas is half Christmas movie, half Halloween movie, and 100% holiday classic. 10:05 AM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: First broadcast in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer follows the famous misfit and his friends as they search for their place in the world and wind up saving Christmas in the process. 5:30 PM ET on CBS

    SUNDAY DECEMBER 20

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: The first family of country music takes to their home studio for Garth & Trisha Live! A Holiday Concert Event, which will see the duo perform a mix of fan favorite songs and holiday classics. 8:30 PM ET / 8:00 PM PT on CBS

    SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Gayle King presents uplifting stories of adoption from foster care in the 22nd Annual A Home For the Holidays which aims to raise awareness of this important issue. Josh Groban, Miranda Lambert, Meghan Trainor, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Andrea Bocelli are among the artists scheduled to perfom. 9:30 PM ET / 9:00 PM PT on CBS

    MADE FOR TV MOVIE: Steve Byers plays a Hollywood actor home for A Christmas Break when he takes up the cause of a school that's about to close — and the schoolteacher (Cindy Sampson) who just wants this Christmas to be special for her students. Watch preview. 8:00 PM ET on Lifetime

    MADE FOR TV MOVIE: When a snowstorm threatens the holidays for Lina (Rachael Leigh Cook) and Max (Greyston Holt) they team up for a Cross Country Christmas journey home. Watch preview. 8:00 PM ET on Hallmark

    ANNUAL BROADCAST: Maria (Julie Andrews) leaves a convent to become nanny to the children of Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) in The Sound of Music, the classic film adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved musical. 7:00 PM ET on ABC

    NEW EPISODE: Michael (Bryan Cranston) continues to use his power to obscure details of the accident in Your Honor. Meanwhile, bad advice leads Kofi (Lamar Johnson) to make a dangerous move. Watch preview. 10:00 PM ET on Showtime

    NEW EPISODE: Debbie (Emma Kenney) loses track of Franny (Paris Newton), and has to balance her search with her handy-woman jobs in a new episode of on Shameless. Watch preview. 9:00 PM ET on Showtime

    NEW EPSIODE: Gizelle Bryant, Karen Huger, Ashley Darby, Robyn Dixon, Monique Samuels, Candiace Dillard Bassett and Dr. Wendy Osefo rehash the season’s most explosive moments in Part 2 of The Real Housewives of Potomac's Season 5 reunion. Andy Cohen hosts. 9:00 PM ET on Bravo

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: It was 51 years ago that Frosty the Snowman first came to life in this holiday classic, and all these years later he's still going strong. 3:25 PM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY DOUBLE FEATURE: After making his family "disappear," young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is Home Alone, forced to do battle with the Wet Bandits while holding down the homestead in this holiday favorite. One year later, after another incomprehensible parenting lapse, Kevin finds himself in New York City, locked in a rematch with the Wet Bandits in the even more violent Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. The double-header starts at 7:45 PM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: First broadcast in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer follows the famous misfit and his friends as they search for their place in the world and wind up saving Christmas in the process. 4:00 PM ET on Freeform

    HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Fred Astaire narrates the classic 1970 Rankin/Bass stop motion holiday special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, in which Santa is young, buff, dating the future Mrs. Claus, and squaring off against Burgermeister Meisterburger. 2:40 PM ET on Freeform

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

    TOPICS: Saturday Night Live, Netflix, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Star Wars: The Mandalorian, Chadwick Boseman, Kristen Wiig, Viola Davis