What to Watch This Weekend: Portlandia's Holiday Special, Martin Short on SNL, and the Finales of Dexter and Homeland

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What to watch on Friday, December 14...


9pm, Fox
Fringe
Walter fires up some of his special brainstormin’ LSD to conjure a plan for defeating the Observers in “Black Blotter.” Meanwhile, a mysterious signal leads Peter and Olivia into the woods, where they come upon a horrifying crime and/or a ranch house made of candy.


9pm, Travel
Ghost Adventures
‘Tis the season when just about everything on TV hunkers down in its winter quarters, making Friday night even sparser than usual for new episodes. So what the hell, why not check out this new installment of something called Ghost Adventures? Ghosts are fun, adventures are fun, and I’m pretty sure I played an NES game with the same title circa 1990.


HOLIDAY SPECIAL, 10:30pm, IFC
Portlandia
Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen’s loving/mocking portrait of Oregonian urbanites celebrates the season with “Winter in Portlandia.” Remember, when you put a bird on it during the holidays, make sure it’s a partridge or a turtle dove.


LATE-NITE:
– Bette Midler, Judd Apatow, and Pentatonix on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 11:35pm, NBC
– Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie Brownstein, Fred Armisen, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit on Late Show with David Letterman, 11:35 am, CBS
– Christoph Waltz, Amy Sedaris, and Martha Wainwright on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 12:37am, NBC
– Bradley Cooper and Wolfgang Puck on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, 12:37am, CBS



WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING ON FRIDAY?




What to watch on Saturday, December 15...


SEASON 25 PREMIERE, 8pm, Fox
COPS
The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been COPS. The Fox network has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But COPS has marked the time. This show, these shirtless, drunken miscreants—it's a part of our past. It reminds of us of all that once was cheap and tawdry and unapologetically ballsy about the fourth network—and it could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. And their faces will be obscured by giant blue dots while a couple of uniforms shove their meth-addled, wife-beater-clad carcasses into the puke-stained backseat of an 18-year old Honda Civic police cruiser and 75 percent of the dialogue is bleeped over. People will most definitely come.


11:30pm, NBC
Saturday Night Live
Martin Short hosts and Paul McCartney is the musical guest, so despite what NBC.com says, there’s every chance this winds up being a repeat from 1986. Who’s ready for some Lovitz??



WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING ON SATURDAY?




What to watch on Sunday, December 16...


SEASON 25 FINALE 8:30pm, CBS
Survivor: Philippines
The two-hour finale will reveal which of the remaining finalists earns the favor of the jury and the subsequent million-dollar prize. Immediately followed at 10:30pm by the one-hour live reunion special, which in turn is immediately followed, for all we know, by the Season 26 premiere of Survivor.


9:30pm, Fox
American Dad
Over-the-top Christmas (or at least, Christmas-adjacent) episodes have become a tradition for the Smith family. “Minstrel Krampus” should prove no different, with Danny Glover guest-starring as the titular Yuletide demon who kidnaps Steve, prompting Stan and Roger to give battle to rescue him.


SPECIAL MOVIE EVENT, 9pm, USA
Royal Pains
Escape the winter doldrums with a trip to the sun-splashed Hamptons for a special two-hour movie event centered on Evan and Paige’s wedding. In the grand tradition of two-hour-movie-event TV weddings, except comical calamities to ensue and Mr. Belding to pop up twenty minutes in.


SEASON 7 FINALE, 9pm, Showtime
Dexter
It took damn near seven full seasons, but tonight, LaGuerta does something relevant to the overall narrative of Dexter. With the title character’s discovery and doom seemingly imminent, a nation quietly prays that next year’s final season won’t wind up being entirely about Quinn and his misadventures in seediness.


SEASON 2 FINALE, 10pm, Showtime
Homeland
How many madcap plot twists can “The Choice” cram into one hour? Quinn assassinating Brody? Saul swordfighting Estes? Finn Walden justifying his existence this season? Carrie straight-up lugging her corkboard around everywhere in one final attempt to disguise Claire Danes’s pregnancy? It’s all on the table, folks.


12am, Cartoon Network
Robot Chicken
What would the holidays be without G.I. Joe, Mortal Kombat, and other pop culture ephemera you remember from junior high? They wouldn’t be Robot Chicken’s ATM Christmas Special, that’s for damn sure!



WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING ON SUNDAY?


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