When the dust settles and Heroes gets rightfully canceled (expect this to happen in the spring), it will be remembered as the Creed to Lost‘s Pearl Jam; this is a show that has degenerated so quickly into tedium, we find it hard to imagine Heroes was ever taken seriously by the geek sect. We’ve stopped watching—for those who care: apparently, this episode, titled “Thanksgiving,” will feature H.R.G. hosting an “unconventional family dinner”—but we figured it was as good a time as any start conditioning ourselves to record NBC on Mondays at 8 p.m. After all, there are only eight more weeks until Chuck returns to this timeslot! [NBC, 8 p.m.]
We’ve gotten to the point with Meryl Streep that whenever she appears on screen, Oscar nominations follow. In fact, expect her to garner number 16 for either Julie & Julia or It’s Complicated early next year. Obviously, she was tabbed for Doubt, since her showy role as Sister Aloysius Beauvier was practically tailor-made for awards-consideration. But, would it be blasphemy to say she delivers the fourth best performance here? Her scenery chewing is no-match for the nuanced work of Amy Adams, Viola Davis and, of course, Philip Seymour Hoffman. And, frankly, whenever we get to the point that Mr. Hoffman starts getting Oscar nominations for simply appearing on the call sheet, we’ll be happy campers. [Starz, 2:05 p.m.]
And you wonder why theaters owners are angry with movie studios. Notorious (not the Alfred Hitchcock classic) was released back on January 16 and it’s already airing on cable. We remember when it was two years before we could watch new movies on our couch, now it happens in a matter of months! Regardless, the surprise of Notorious—a boilerplate biopic about the life and death of Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace—is that despite many flaws and utter predictability, it’s a blast to watch. Of course the performances are, en masse, ridiculous (kudos to Derek Luke for keeping a straight face while reading his lines as Puff Daddy), but director George Tillman Jr. more than makes up for that fact by keeping the soundtrack humming and the nostalgia pitched just right. Dare we say: this was one of the more satisfying movies we’ve seen this year. [Cinemax, 10 p.m.]
Thursday: The Squid and The Whale
After spending Thanksgiving with your crazy family, don’t you want to indulge in some schadenfreude for dessert? Noah Baumbach’s semi-autobiographical indie features such maddening family drama (mostly courtesy of Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney as the most passive aggressive parents this side of Williamsburg) that you’ll forget any cutting remarks from your own parents by the time the credits roll. Of course, The Squid and The Whale works as more than just a therapy session; Mr. Daniels and Ms. Linney are fantastic and Jesse Eisenberg’s performance proves that he was doing Michael Cera’s shtick before Michael Cera became Michael Cera. [Sundance, 10 p.m.]
Friday: Bored to Death
Because it wouldn’t be a holiday without a marathon, we’ll happily plop down in front of the television for four hours on Black Friday to watch the first season of Bored to Death. We’ve highlighted this show before, but if you gave up on the comedy series—ostensibly about a hipster-turned-private detective (Jason Schwartzman, perfection) and his wacky adventures—you missed its transformation into one of the funniest shows on television. The later episodes of season one, free from the gimmicky premise, are quite hilarious; an amalgam of fantastic guest appearances (kudos to John Hodgman and Jenny Slate) and riveting supporting turns from Ted Danson and Zack Galifianakis. In a just world, the Emmy race for Best Supporting Actor in 2010 will come down to one of these two, and by a nose, we’d take Mr. Galifianakis. Between Bored to Death, The Hangover, his upcoming appearance in Up in the Air, and, yeah, even G-Force (that thing made bank), did anyone have a better 2009 than the hirsute funnyman? We don’t think so. [HBO2, starting at 9 p.m.]
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