The Guide to Tuesday TV: Sons of Anarchy and Covert Affairs Finales!
"You ask for a simple white Christmas ..." and everything goes to cartoon hell on Eureka, already the most animated of Syfy's quirky series, and a natural to be brought back for a one-night-only Christmas special, a gift for fantasy fans, packaged with similarly themed episodes of Warehouse 13 and Haven. The Eureka special (8/7c) is especially inventive, as the isolated mountain town's overtaxed Super Photon Generator interacts with a child's hologram-generating storybook, and abracadabra, everyone becomes a cartoon character (including Sheriff Carter's much-abused Jeep, cleverly and petulantly voiced by The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons). One Eurekan is saddled with a pull string, another becomes a bobble-head, another becomes a most unlikely Disney-style princess surrounded by chirping birds. And in the episode's best stroke of whimsy, the animation style keeps changing, from CGI to slapsticky old-school Looney Tunes to anime — which may come in handy to help save the town from a rampaging giant snow ninja.
Warehouse 13 (9/8c) borrows from a much more familiar source, the short story on which the venerable It's a Wonderful Life was based, for its enjoyable Christmas misadventure, in which Pete Lattimer's (Eddie McClintock) brush with a magical brush results in his existence being wiped from everyone's memory. Needless to say, no one — Artie, Mika, Claudia, the warehouse itself — is better off for Pete not being around. Watching him win his way back into the exasperated affections of partner Mika (Joanne Kelly), who resists him at first sight (some things never change), is great fun. And so is the return of a favorite enemy, who's running the warehouse in the spirit of Mr. Potter.
Even Haven (10/9c) is a cut above average, but maybe that's because the population keeps shrinking at an alarming rate, meaning less face time for some of the more annoying or colorless townspeople. Audrey (Emily Rose), who's not much of a holiday fan to begin with, can't understand why Haven is suddenly celebrating Christmas in the middle of July or why she keeps hearing "Silent Night" just as people disappear without a trace. The answer to this puzzle manifests itself in a visual image stolen from one of Stephen King's more memorable recent opuses, just as Haven itself was inspired by one of King's lesser creations.
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If you're more in the mood for holiday music, this week's profile subject from 60 Minutes should get you in the mood. NBC's A Michael Bublé Christmas (8/7c) features the superstar crooner singing from his chart-topping holiday album and performing comedy shorts with Tracy Morgan and Ed Helms. Musical guests include the retro-chic The Puppini Sisters — who deserve this kind of exposure — the inevitable Justin Bieber, country cutie Kellie Pickler and Oscar the Grouch (yes, the Muppets are everywhere, too).
Sick of carols? There's always Fox's Glee (8/7c), with New Directions and the Troubletones facing off at Sectionals, as Finn recruits former member Sam "Trouty Mouth" Evans (Chord Overstreet) to rejoin the group, while Mike Chang (Harry Shum) once again must be convinced — by Tina, naturally — to keep pursuing his dream, no matter how his disapproving father feels.
Stay tuned for another delirious episode of Fox's New Girl (9/8c), in which Jess (Zooey Deschanel) decides to get serious — as in get busy — with the equally adorable Paul (Justin Long), but getting sex advice from the guys probably isn't a good idea. Neither is sampling their collection of online porn, which leads to some seriously awkward moments with the timid new boyfriend. "Would flicking be like a cool thing?" Jess wonders. We all know the answer to that. Ditto to her penchant for bizarre voices. And "light choking?" Better to ask: Can this relationship be saved?
Getting serious, two popular cable dramas sign off in head-to-head finales, one decidedly more escapist than the other. The tension is especially high as FX's Sons of Anarchy (10/9c) wraps its very best season, with the feds circling the club and the cartel as they prepare for their meeting with the Irish, who are none too happy to hear of Clay's injuries. How this all plays out is truly surprising, naturally complicating Jax's plans to split Charming with Tara and the kids. (Because where would the show go from there?) The fallout leads to more volatile confrontations and a shift of fortunes not only for those who sit at Samcro's table, but those who run Charming.
The scenery is much prettier on the season finale of USA Network's breezy caper Covert Affairs (10/9c), which boasts one of TV's most telegenic casts — and globe-trotting production values that would be the envy of many a network show. This week, we're in Stockholm, and the waterfront looks just as gorgeous as I remember it from my visit there a few years ago. Annie (Piper Perabo) is in Sweden on vacation, bringing along sister Danielle (Anne Dudek, better used than usual), who's mistaken for a spy during what's supposed to be a routine info drop. It's Auggie (Christopher Gorham) to the long-distance rescue, as usual, though he's distracted by some pending medical news. And what's with Jai (Sendhil Ramamurthy) triggering an internal CIA inquest after blowing a polygraph? Is someone about to take the fall? All in all, a solid season ender.
The best reason to watch TNT's latest "Mystery Movie," Hide (9/8c), is Carla Gugino — we'll always think of her as Karen Sisco — who sizzles even in the stock role of tough-as-nails police sergeant D.D. Warren, too dedicated to the job to make things work with her latest boy toy, who's the new detective on her squad (Kevin Alejandro, much missed on this network's Southland), or the crime-scene instructor (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who starts up a serious flirtation as he consults on her latest grisly case. "Nothing's random," D.D. likes to say, but when six long-entombed bodies are found in an underground chamber near an abandoned mental institution, the investigation becomes almost ridiculously convoluted.
So what else is on? ... Turner Classic Movies looks back at all kinds of holiday movies, from romances and family films to thrillers, in A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! (8/7c), and naturally, a few classics are on the schedule as well, including 1983's A Christmas Story (9/8c) and at midnight/11c, the original Miracle on 34th Street, followed by the timeless Meet Me in St. Louis (where "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" will mess you up every single time). ... Nick Jonas visits ABC's Last Man Standing (8/7c) as Ryan, the deadbeat dad of Kristen's baby, and grandpa Mike (Tim Allen) is not exactly overjoyed. ... It's the ultimate do-it-yourself pastime, and Discovery takes us inside the world of Appalachian Moonshiners (10/9c) in a new docu-series that moves, no doubt under the influence, to its regular time period Wednesday, also at 10/9c. ... Time to get nursery schooled, as MTV's Teen Mom 2 (10/9c) begins a second season, profiling four young moms who are trying to figure out their own lives while raising their babies in front of all of America and more than a few tabloids.
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