TV best bets: ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ Pixar’s ‘Soul,’ Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Bridgerton, Tom Hanks western

Gal Gadot stars in her second "Wonder Woman" film, set in 1984. CLAY ENOS
Gal Gadot stars in her second "Wonder Woman" film, set in 1984. CLAY ENOS

Credit: Clay Enos

Credit: Clay Enos

TBS, of course, will do its annual 24 hours of “The Christmas Story” on Christmas Day.

With Americans largely avoiding what few movie theaters are still open, WarnerMedia has given a Christmas present to HBO Max subscribers: “Wonder Woman 1984″ is being released on Christmas Day.

The sequel starring Gal Gadot is getting excellent reviews (88% positive on RottenTomatoes), with critics embracing the thrilling escapism.

Disney+ on the same day is also releasing what would have been a big theater release: “Soul,” a Pixar animated series starring Jamie Foxx about a teacher who loves jazz. The critics are even more into this film than “Wonder Woman 1984″ with a 99% positive rating on RottenTomatoes.

Netflix has three major releases this week.

First up is “Midnight Sky” on Wednesday. Directed and starring George Clooney, the film features Clooney playing a survivor of an apocalyptic event attempting to salvage what is left of humanity. A crew in space is returning home, unaware that Earth is now largely devoid of humans. It’s based on a bestselling 2016 novel “Good Morning, Midnight” and also stars Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo and Kyle Chandler.

On Friday, Netflix releases Shonda Rhimes’ epic “Bridgerton” series, her first new production on Netflix after years with ABC. It’s an adaptation of the popular romance novels written by Julia Quinn set in 19th century England. There is plenty of early buzz about the series given Rhimes’ reputation.

Tom Hanks stars in yet another theatrical release that was moved to a streaming service called “News to the World.” Here’s the basic descriptive of that movie: Five years after the end of the Civil War, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl taken by the Kiowa people. Forced to return to her aunt and uncle, Kidd agrees to escort the child across the harsh and unforgiving plains of Texas. However, the long journey soon turns into a fight for survival as the traveling companions encounter danger at every turn -- both human and natural.

This covers Monday, Dec. 21 through Sunday, Dec. 27.

MONDAY

“Ariana Grande: Excuse Me, I Love You” 3:01 a.m. Netflix — Ariana Grande takes the stage in London for her Sweetener World Tour and shares a behind-the-scenes look at her life in rehearsal and on the road.

“The Bachelorette” 8 p.m. ABC (special night) — A two-night special event kicks off with Tayshia ready to take her relationships with Brendan, Ivan and Zac to the next level in the fantasy suites.

“Next” 8 p.m. Fox — NEXT manipulates a GPS system and causes an elderly couple to crash, while it also generates power outages all over the country. LeBlanc decides to plant a virus on the NEXT server but must break into ZAVA in order to do it.

“His Dark Materials” 9 p.m. HBO — Lyra and Will find allies who can help them in their search for Will’s father.

“Industry” 10 p.m. HBO — Reduction in Force Day looms, so the graduates do whatever it takes to secure final recommendations from their superiors and solidify vital client relationships.

TUESDAY

“The Bachelorette” 8 p.m. ABC (16th season finale) — Tayshia picks her man.

“The Price Is Right at Night” 8 p.m. CBS — Drew Carey in prime time.

“Next” 8 p.m. Fox (series finale) — The American Pops Orchestra presents an evening celebrating the album of holiday classics.

“Under the Grapefruit Tree: the C.C. Sabathia Story” 9 p.m. HBO — A look at the life of C.C. Sabathia, one of the game’s pre-eminent pitchers, including his longtime battle with addiction that came to a head in 2015 while playing for the New York Yankees.

WEDNESDAY

“The Midnight Sky” 3:01 a.m. Netflix — In the aftermath of a global catastrophe, a lone scientist in the Arctic races to contact a crew of astronauts with a warning not to return to Earth. Starring: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, Kyle Chandler.

“Christmas at the Castle” 8 p.m. Lifetime — Blaire Henderson, a perfume expert from New York, is sent to remote Scotland to find a rare fragrance, but when she arrives, she finds the dashing license owner is a stubborn aristocrat who won’t sell.

“The Great Christmas Light Fight” 9 p.m. ABC (eighth season finale) — The Atlanta-based Priem family competes for $50,000.

“Buddy Valastro: Road to Recovery” 9 p.m. TLC — ”Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro’s road to recovery from a traumatic hand injury.

CHRISTMAS EVE

“It’s a Wonderful Life” 8 p.m. NBC — “My mouth’s bleeding, Bert! My mouth’s bleedin’!” - George Bailey

“A Christmas Story” 8 p.m. TBS (24 hours) — For the 24th year in a row, TBS will run this classic film over and over again for an entire day.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” 8 p.m. AMC — “Worse?! How could things get any worse? Take a look around you, Ellen! We’re at the threshold of hell!!” - Clark Griswold

“Frosty the Snowman” 8:15 p.m. Freeform — This special debuted in 1969, narrated by Jimmy Durante.

CHRISTMAS DAY

“Sylvie’s Love” 12:01 a.m. Amazon Prime — Sylvie has a summer romance with a saxophonist who takes a summer job at her father’s record store in Harlem. When they reconnect years later, they discover that their feelings for each other have not faded with the years.

“Bridgerton” 3:01 a.m. Netflix — Shonda Rhimes’ first Netflix production. The eight close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family look for love and happiness in London high society. Inspired by Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels. Julie Andrews is the narrator.

“Soul” 3:01 a.m. Disney+ — Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz — and he’s good. But when he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to have soul. Voices include Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Daveed Diggs.

“Wonder Woman 1984″ noon HBO Max — Wonder Woman squares off against Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah, a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility. Gal Gadot stars.

“We Can Be Heroes” 3:01 a.m. Netflix — When alien invaders kidnap Earth’s superheroes, their children must team up and learn to work together if they want to save their parents and the world.

“News of the World” 3:01 a.m. Netflix — Tom Hanks stars as a Civil War veteran who must return a young girl who was stolen by natives as an infant to her last remaining family.

WEEKEND TELEVISION

“Letterkenny” 12:01 a.m. Hulu (ninth season debut) — The season kicks off post-fight with Dierks and the Hicks, Skids, and Hockey Players attend an American Buck and Doe.

“Power Book II: Ghost” 8 p.m. Sunday Starz — After the head-on collision of Tariq’s worlds at Homecoming, the campus is hot, causing problems as he tries to settle up on debts.

“The Masked Dancer” 8 p.m. Sunday Fox (new series) — Guess the masked dancers alongside host Craig Robinson and panelists Ken Jeong, Paula Abdul, Brian Austin Green and Ashley Tisdale.

“Shameless: Shameless Hall of Fame” 9 p.m. Sunday Showtime — A six-episode series that will feature new, original Shameless scenes juxtaposed with a retrospective look at each character’s journey over the prior 10 seasons.

“Your Honor” 10 p.m. Sunday Showtime — Complicit in multiple lies and agonized by guilt, Adam moves from one dangerous liaison to another as tensions escalate. Elizabeth steps in to protect her grandson. Family dinner at the Desiatos is plagued by secrets and lies.

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