A Chicago improv performer stars in a witty comedy series, football coaches share their wisdom, amateur bakers offer up holiday treats, a beloved sci-fi series gets a second chance and Michael Bay brings his signature action to Netflix.
Dispatches: Weekly TV news
HBO announced a series order for a drama based on the personal and professional lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers. So far untitled, the project will be based on Jeff Pearlman’s book, “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.”
New York City’s Uptown Records, which played a role in the careers of hip hop, soul and R&B stars including Heavy D & The Boyz, Mary J. Blige, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and more, will be the focus of an original scripted miniseries on BET. “Uptown” will explore the label’s beginning to current day and feature the music and stars that shaped what would come to be called the Uptown “sound.” The series is scheduled to premiere in 2020.
Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
Chicago improv performer Abby McEnany is co-creator and star of “Work in Progress” (Dec. 8, Showtime, 11 p.m. ET). McEnany plays Abby, a 45-year-old self-identified, fat, queer dyke who unexpectedly finds a transformative relationship while struggling with depression and suicidal tendencies. Did I mention it’s a comedy? A witty and provocative series that skillfully moves between tragedy and humor, Abby’s story will have you rooting for her. Full of confidence one minute and despair the next, she deals with a dead-end job, weight issues, and dating someone half her age, a story point which makes for some funny moments.
Get some pointers on winning from coaches Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Nick Saban of Alabama’s Crimson Tide who are profiled in sports documentary, “Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching” (Dec. 10, HBO, 9 p.m. ET).
Ten of the country’s top amateur bakers compete in the latest Christmas installment of all things sugar on “The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition” (Dec. 12, ABC, 9 p.m. ET).
Expect explosions. Michael Bay’s latest action-packed thriller, “6 Underground” (Dec. 13, Netflix), stars Ryan Reynolds as the leader of a global team of operatives who have faked their deaths to take out a dictator.
Over a year after Syfy cancelled it, “The Expanse” (Dec. 13) makes its return on Amazon. An intergalactic tale of the darker side of human nature, the fourth season of the series follows the crew of the Rocinante as they encounter an alien civilization that is causing trouble on the planet Ilus.
Report Card: A look at ratings winners and losers
Winner: The crossover “Arrowverse” episode, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” gave the CW its highest rating of the season so far.
Loser: Fox’s “Miss Universe” competition was down 18% from last year’s rating.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.