‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 4, David Ayer’s ‘Bright’ and More TV You Must See This Week

Also: a historical miniseries starring Kit Harington and a live remake of ‘A Christmas Story.’
By  · Published on December 17th, 2017

Also: a historical miniseries starring Kit Harington and a live remake of ‘A Christmas Story.’

This week’s TV has a distinctive hint of Britishness: a beloved gangster period drama returns for its fourth season, a Kit Harington-led miniseries centers in the notorious Gunpowder Plot and the legend of Guy Fawkes, and an English comedian debuts his first Netflix standup special. But Christmas is also in the air, as a beloved holiday movie gets the live TV musical treatment and a documentary series looks back at the toys of our childhoods. Finally, Will Smith plays a paranormal cop while an HBO documentary offers a look at the tradition of quinceañeras.

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 17th –23rd (all times Eastern):

A Christmas Story Live! (FOX, Sunday 7pm)

If last week’s Christmas-themed episodes (along with the myriad of Christmas movies) were not enough for your holiday spirit, Fox has just the thing to quench your Yuletide thirst: a live-TV musical production of the 1983 movie A Christmas Story. Oscar winners Pasek and Paul (of La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen-fame) wrote the music, and Matthew Broderick stars as an adult Ralphie Parker, narrating his memories of his eccentric family’s Christmas festivities. Maya Rudolph and Chris Diamantopoulos join him as Ralphie’s parents and Jane Krakowski as his teacher in the song-filled chronicle of his holiday shenanigans.

Gunpowder (HBO, Monday – Wednesday 10pm)

Remembering the Fifth of November in the middle of December might seem like bad timing, but a historical drama focused on political and social unrest and radical civil disobedience is in fact very timely. This BBC-produced miniseries follows the events that led to the notorious Gunpowder Plot – annually commemorated as Guy Fawkes Day – and stars Kit Harington as Robert Catesby, an Englishman with nothing left to lose, who decides to take revenge by his own hand and, yes, blow up King James I. Mark Gatiss, Peter Mullan, and Liv Tyler also star in this high-stakes period drama that will air for three consecutive nights.

15: A Quinceañera Story (HBO, Tuesday 7pm)

Don’t let the title deceive you, this is not your average “making of” a quinceañera party. Four short documentaries follow five different teenagers as they navigate this rite of passage. There’s Zoey, a transgender teen, and Rosi, the daughter of an immigrant. Ashley is a boxing champion and Jackie and Nina are “charras” (a Mexican equivalent to rodeo cowgirls). Far from the spoiled-teen antics of MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen, 15: A Quinceañera Story is not just about capturing the moments behind the scenes that lead up to the party, but about young girls embracing Latin culture, tradition, gender, and identity.

Russell Howard: Recalibrate (Netflix, Tuesday)

British humor is making its way through Netflix’s stand-up comedy catalogue, slow but steady. Following Jack Whitehall’s lead (he released his documentary series Travels with My Father and his own stand-up special At Large shortly after) comes Russell Howard. You’ve probably seen him before in some YouTube clip from his topical news show Russell Howard’s Good News — now The Russell Howard Hour, a kind of more casual and light-hearted Daily Show. Howard’s first stand-up special, Recalibrate, is based on his “Round the World” tour and it is cheeky and irreverent, but we don’t mind this type of British invasion.

Peaky Blinders (Netflix, Thursday)

After delivering a shocking finale for its third season, the British period gangster drama finally returns, and it picks up one year after the arrest of the Shelby clan. It’s nearly Christmas when each Shelby family member receives a letter threatening their death. After his apparent betrayal, Tommy (Cillian Murphy) must gain his family’s trust again, and with Ada’s help, tries to convince them to return to Small Heath and work together against this new menace. Tom Hardy is back, and Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillan, Charlie Murphy, and Jack Rowan join the cast for Season 4.

The Toys That Made Us (Netflix, Friday)

December holidays are a season ripe for both nostalgia and toy shopping, so it feels very fitting that Netflix premieres this documentary series about the toys from our childhoods now. The Toys That Made Us looks back at some of the most popular toy franchises of the ’80s and ’90s, like Star Wars, G. I. Joe, He-Man, and Barbie, among others; but it is not just a sentimental walk down memory lane. The series follows the rise and fall of  millionaire empires and the power structures laying behind the action figures and dolls.

Bright (Netflix, Friday)

Will Smith has delivered some of his best performances playing either a police officer (Bad Boys) or a leading man in a fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal world (Men in Black, Independence Day), which bodes well for Netflix’s latest — and most expensive — original feature: Bright. Set in an alternate-universe LA where fantasy creatures like fairies, elves, and orcs co-exist with humans, the movie stars Smith as a cop out on patrol with his first nonhuman partner: an orc  played by Joel Edgerton. However, things take an even weirder turn when the budding duo discover a magic wand and find themselves in the middle of a conflict that could determine the fate of the world. Max Landis (Chronicle) backs up the fantasy element of the mix with his script while Suicide Squad’s David Ayer directs.


A Christmas Story Live! (Fox, 7pm) – live musical event

Last Tango in Halifax (PBS, 8pm) – holiday special

The Girlfriend Experience S2E11&12 “Making Amends” & “Citizens First” (Starz, 9pm)

Search Party S2E9&10 “Frenzy” & “Psychosis” (TBS, 10pm) – season finale

SMILF S1E7 “Family-Sized Popcorn & a Can of Wine” (Showtime, 10pm)



L’Accident (Acorn TV) – series premiere

Agnelli (HBO, 8pm) – documentary premiere

Gunpowder S1E1 (HBO, 10pm) – miniseries premiere

Scorpion S4E12 “A Christmas Car-Roll” (CBS, 10pm)

Ill Behaviour S1E6 (Showtime, 10:30pm)

The Year In Memoriam (ABC, 10pm) – special


Marvel’s Runaways S1E7 “Refraction” (Hulu)

Russell Howard: Recalibrate (Netflix) – standup comedy special

15: A Quinceañera Story (HBO, 7pm) – documentary premiere

The Year: 2017 (ABC, 9pm) – special

Who Killed Tupac? S1E8 “Time For Justice” (A&E, 9pm)


La casa de papel (Netflix) – foreign film debut

The Librarians S4E3&E4 “And the Christmas Thief” & “And the Silver Screen” (TNT, 8pm)

Happy! S1E3 “When Christmas Was Christmas” (Syfy, 10pm)


Peaky Blinders S4 (Netflix) – season premiere

Van Helsing S2E11 “Be True” (Syfy, 9pm)

Ghost Wars S1E11 “The Feast” (Syfy, 10pm)

S.W.A.T S1E8 “Miracle” (CBS, 10pm)


72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America (Netflix) – season premiere

Bright (Netflix) – movie premiere

Fuller House S3 (Netflix) – season premiere

The Last Post S1 (Amazon) – series premiere

The Toys That Made Us S1 (Netflix) – series premiere

Superstition S1E8 “You’re Not My Momma” (Syfy, 10pm)


Divorce S1E1 (HBO, 8pm) – series premiere

Pocket-sized cinephile analyzing things as a hobby.