“F Is For Family”
Friday, Dec. 18 (Netflix)
Series Debut: Comedian Bill Burr was slinging (smarter) anti-PC rants long before a certain GOP presidential frontrunner hijacked the practice, and his new animated series is the most hilariously profane revelation since Netflix’s own “Bojack Horseman” — he only had to set it in 1973 to pull it off. “F Is For Family” is a semi-autobiographical take on Burr’s wonder years, wherein dad Frank (voiced by Burr) is a beer-swilling bullhorn of backward thinking, mom (Laura Dern) is too smart for the room and the time period, and kids Kevin (Justin Long), Bill (Haley Reinhart) and Maureen (Debi Derryberry) somehow survive without excessive “helicopter” parenting. But, for all of its R-rated laughs and detailed attention to ’70s-isms, the six-episode series also touches on real-life drama and, yes, the occasional heartfelt moment. It won’t attract “Jessica Jones”-level hype, but “F Is For Family” is the perfect closer for a killer year of Netflix originals.
Friday, Dec. 18 (E!)
Series Finale: Sure, now Joel McHale can finally pursue a career beyond hosting a basic-cable clip full-time, but what about us? How are we to stay current on the 24/7 garbage cannon that is reality TV? Most of which spews directly from E! itself? The conscience of the network will be silenced after tonight, so there’s little reason to ever revisit E! again after Joel, Mankini and “The Soup” crew hang it up. All that’s left now are the humanoid equivalents of turd emojis (Kardashians, Jenners, #RichKids, et al), so goodbye and good riddance, E!
“A Christmas Melody”
Saturday, Dec. 19 (Hallmark)
Movie: Divorcee clothing designer Kristin (Lacey Chabert) is forced to close her Manhattan boutique and move with her young daughter back into her parents’ house in Ohio. To make matters worse, Kristin’s high-school rival (Mariah Carey, who’s 15 years older than Chabert, but whatever) is now the head of the PTA and determined to make her life hell all over again. But, “A Christmas Melody” isn’t just another Big City Gal Goes to Nowheresville, Learns the True Meaning of Christmas and Gets Her Jingle Bell Rung by the Town Hunk holiday movie: It’s also a musical! With precocious singing kiddies! Meh. Why not end the season weird, Hallmark? Like Lifetime.
“The Spirit of Christmas”
Saturday, Dec. 19 (Lifetime)
Movie: In a plot straight out of “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” young lawyer Kate (Jen Lilley) travels to Vermont — over Christmas because there’s a promotion on the line and she’s just a woman — to broker the sale of an old inn. Upon arrival, she not only learns that the inn is haunted, but the haunter is a handsome ghost (Bates Wilder) who takes living form for the 12 days of Christmas every year because the mystery of his death remains unsolved. So Kate falls in love with him because she’s just a woman. It’s especially convenient that Mr. Ghost has been “dead” for 95 years because he looks and dresses like a modern-day hipster barista. Upside: No musical numbers. CV
Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast, and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.