Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Comedy Series, Judd Apatow’s Return to Stand-Up, and More TV You Must See This Week

Plus the latest from Errol Morris production and the return of Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Trollhunters.’
Jean Claude Van Johnson
By  · Published on December 10th, 2017

Plus the latest from Errol Morris production and the return of Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Trollhunters.’

This week’s TV is marked with long-awaited returns: a prolific comedy filmmaker steps up to the stage after a 25-year hiatus, and a beloved animated show debuts its second season, a celebrated documentarian dips his toe into semi-scripted fare in a Netflix mystery miniseries, while another one goes on a journey through the US to investigate the state of clean energy. Finally, an ’80s action movie icon stars in a fictionalized comedy about himself.

To help you keep track of the most important programs over the next seven days, here’s our guide to everything worth watching, whether it’s on broadcast, cable, or streaming for December 10th –16th (all times Eastern):

Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution (HBO, Monday 8pm)

Director James Redford, son of Robert Redford, has carved himself a place in documentary filmmaking in the past 10 years with a tendency to tackle very specific subject matter, like the upside and challenges of dyslexia and the campaign against chemical flame retardants. His latest film looks at the efforts made throughout the country, from Georgetown, Texas, to Buffalo, New York, to develop clean energy solutions. Like his previous HBO documentary, Hot Toxic Seat, this one focuses on how citizens and small local efforts contribute to large-scale change.

Judd Apatow: The Return (Netflix, Tuesday)

Judd Apatow has some unfinished business. His love for stand-up is no secret and his career in comedy actually started with him performing at age 18. But after trying to breakout in the stand-up scene for seven years, he quit and turned to writing and directing. The rest is history, but Apatow breaks his 25-year hiatus from the stage to tie this loose end with a Netflix comedy special. Recorded at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal last summer, Judd Apatow: The Return has the director riffing about everything from his thoughts about living with three women to amusing moments from his career. A must-see for the filmmaker’s fans.


Jean-Claude Van Johnson (Amazon, Friday)

Jean-Claude Van Damme has played many roles throughout the years: kickboxing champion, different types of villains and criminals, multiple agents from different branches of the law — everything from soldier to NATO operative — even salesman and firefighter. But this year the action movie star reprises his most challenging role: himself. Amazon’s Jean-Claude Van Johnson asks the question of “what if Van Damme’s whole acting career was, in fact, just a cover for his activity as a secret agent under the alias of ‘Johnson’?” and answers with a show that combines all the classic spy and action movie tropes with self-aware comedy. Key and Peele‘s Peter Atencio produces and directs the pilot, which was written by Dave Callaham (The Expendables). Kat Foster, Moises Arias, and Phylicia Rashad also star.

Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia (Netflix, Friday)

The idea that animated shows are just for children (and by extension, simple-minded entertainment) should be a thing of the past, but if you still need proof, Trollhunters makes a good case. Created by Guillermo del Toro in partnership with Dreamworks, the show was one of the pleasant surprises of 2016 and it follows the adventures of Jim Lake Jr. (Anton Yelchin), a teenager-turned-warrior called upon by an underground civilization to defend his hometown and the Troll world. The second season sees our hero and his friends facing new challenges, as they battle the evil Trolls of the Darklands. Luckily, the 13 new episodes still have Yelchin’s original voice work, and Charlie Saxton, Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman, Steven Yeun, Anjelica Huston, Jonathan Hyde, and Amy Landecker reprise their respective roles. Mark Hamill, Lena Headey, and David Bradley join the cast as new recurring characters.

Wormwood (Netflix, Friday)

Veteran documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has been working outside of his standard platform quite often during the past few years — he released a short film on the New York Times website, wrote two books, and produced multiple movies for TV — but Wormwood is probably the most interesting of his latest projects. It is a six-part miniseries that follows one man’s investigation into the mysterious death of his father, an event related to the CIA’s secret LSD experiments and a quest that spans throughout six decades. Based on a true story, Wormwood combines real-life interviews with dramatic scripted scenes starring Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Jack O’Connell, Christian Camargo, Scott Shepherd, Tim Blake Nelson, Bob Balaban, and Michael Chernus. This is definitely a mystery worth binge-watching.


Bob’s Burgers S8E6&7 “The Bleakening: Parts 1 & 2” (FOX, 7:30pm)

Outlander S3E13 “Eye of the Storm” (Starz, 8pm) – season finale

The Simpsons S29E9 “Gone Boy” (FOX, 8pm)

Family Guy S16E9 “Don’t Be a Dickens at Christmas” (FOX, 9pm)

The Walking Dead S8E8 “How It’s Gotta Be” (AMC, 9pm)

Search Party S2E7&8 “Denial” & “Hysteria” (TBS, 10pm)

SMILF S1E6 “Chocolate Pudding & a Cooler of Gatorade” (Showtime, 10pm)

White Famous S1E10 “Zero F**ks Given” (Showtime, 10pm)


Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution (HBO, 8pm) – documentary premiere

Lucifer S3E10 “The Sin Bin” (FOX, 8pm)

The Gifted S1E10 “eXploited” (FOX, 9pm)

Scorpion S4E11 “Who Let the Dog Out (‘Cause Now It’s Stuck In a Cistern)” (CBS, 10pm)

Ill Behaviour S1E5 (Showtime, 10:30pm)


Judd Apatow: The Return (Netflix) – standup comedy special

Marvel’s Runaways S1E6 “Metamorphosis” (Hulu)

Lethal Weapon S2E10 “Wreck the Halls” (FOX, 8pm)

NCIS S15E10 “Double Down” (CBS, 8pm)

Who Killed Tupac? S1E7 “Death Row Takeover” (A&E, 9pm)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine S5E10&11 “Game Night” & “The Favor” (FOX, 9:30pm)

The Mayor S1E9 “Grey Christmas” (ABC, 9:30pm)

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World S1E9 “Probably” (ABC, 10pm)


Riverdale S2E9 “Chapter Twenty-Two: Silent Night, Deadly Night” (The CW, 8pm)

The Librarians S4E1 “And the Dark Secret” (TNT, 8pm) – season premiere

Speechless S2E10 “S-i-Silent Night” (ABC, 8:30pm)

Modern Family S9E10 “No Small Feet” (ABC, 9pm)

Designated Survivor S2E10 “Line of Fire” (ABC, 10pm)

Happy! S1E2 “What Smiles Are For” (Syfy, 10pm)

Mr. Robot S3E10 “shutdown -r” (USA, 10pm) – season finale

The A-Word S2E6 “Same Deep Water” (Sundance, 10pm)

The Fake News with Ted Nelms S1E1 (Comedy Central, 10pm) – series premiere


Van Helsing S2E10 “Base Pair” (Syfy, 9pm)

Ghost Wars S1E10 “The Pain Connection” (Syfy, 10pm)

S.W.A.T S1E7 “Homecoming” (CBS, 10pm)


Jean-Claude Van Johnson S1 (Amazon) – series premiere

Trollhunters S2 (Netflix) – season premiere

Wormwood S1 (Netflix) – series premiere

Once Upon a Time S7E10 “The Eighth Witch” (ABC, 8pm)

The Exorcist S2E10 “Unworthy” (FOX, 9pm) – season finale

Z Nation S4E12 “Mt. Weather” (Syfy, 9pm)

Superstition S1E7 “Echoes of My Mind” (Syfy, 10pm)


Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency S2E10 “Nice Jacket” (BBC America, 9pm) – season finale

Pocket-sized cinephile analyzing things as a hobby.