The Orville cast official promo shot

TV THIS WEEK: The Orville returns, Z Nation finale, and Christmas specials over slow holiday week

Contributed by
Dec 24, 2018, 10:00 AM EST

Happy Holidays! With plenty of folks traveling and spending time with family — or gearing up to watch college football games — a whole lot of shows remain on hiatus this week. But there are still a few gems to check out, including some deep-cut genre movies.

The big story this week is the Season 2 premiere of Fox's Trek-esque action-comedy-drama The Orville. Yeah, this show is a lot. The first season started off rough, but by the end of the year it really found its stride. It has a ton of heart and a lot of laughs. Here's hoping Season 2 keeps things going in the right direction. This week also brings the season finales of Z Nation and Van Helsing on SYFY. ABC also has a special event celebrating Mickey Mouse's 90th anniversary.

There are also some holiday stalwarts, such as The Grinch, Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, Elf, and a few others. As far as general new episodes, NBC is dropping a fresh Midnight, Texas, STARZ has new episodes of Counterpart and Outlander, and there are a few others lingering around.

Check out our full rundown below and let us know what you think.


Harry Potter Christmas marathon (SYFY), Monday 8:30AM

Looking for some fantasy comfort food, or finally wanting to dive into the Harry Potter world over the long Christmas break? We have you covered.

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (ABC), Thursday 8PM

While other members of the Peanuts gang plan a holiday celebration, Charlie Brown struggles with "War and Peace"; a bonus cartoon is "She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown."

Z Nation (SYFY), Friday 9PM - "The End Of Everything"

SEASON FINALE: The gang breaks into Altura in an attempt to bring Pandora and Estes to justice, when Cooper reappears, shocking Warren.

Mickey's 90th Spectacular (ABC), Saturday 8PM

Superstars from music, film, and television join the festivities to celebrate the birthday of the internationally beloved character Mickey Mouse; scheduled performers include Josh Groban, NCT 127, Leslie Odom Jr., Meghan Trainor, and Zac Brown Band.

The Orville (Fox), Sunday 8PM - "Ja'loja"

SEASON PREMIERE: As the Orville heads toward Moclus for a unique ceremony, life aboard the ship heats up when Kelly gives Ed some startling news; Gordon asks John for dating advice; Claire turns to Isaac for parenting advice.


Harry Potter Christmas marathon (SYFY), Monday 8:30AM

See more in our "Highlights" section above.

Elf (AMC), Monday 8:30PM

Adopted as a baby by one of Santa's elves (Bob Newhart), a man (Will Ferrell) leaves the workshop to search for his family in New York.


Futurama marathon (SYFY), Tuesday All-Day

There are few shows better for geeky background music, so just toss this one on and let it run while you enjoy the holidays.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (NBC), Tuesday 8:30PM

A curmudgeon (Jim Carrey) living atop Mount Crumpit sets out to quash the yuletide preparations of the Christmas-loving Whos of Whoville. Anthony Hopkins narrates.

The Goonies (Paramount), Tuesday 8PM

Coastal Oregon kids (Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen) follow the treasure map of pirate One-Eyed Willie past his deadly traps to gold.


Vikings (History), Wednesday 9PM - "Hell"

Ivar the Boneless insists his leadership over the Great Heathen Army. Meanwhile, Lagertha reigns Kattegat.


Unbreakable (Vice), Thursday 8PM

The sole survivor (Bruce Willis) of a horrific train crash, questioning his existence, finds counsel in a mysterious stranger (Samuel L. Jackson).

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (ABC), Thursday 8PM

See more in our "Highlights" section above.

The Dead Files (Travel), Thursday 10PM - "Revealed: Satan's Revenge - Leslie, Mi"

In an enhanced episode, Steve and Amy travel to Leslie, MI, to investigate chilling reports of extreme paranormal activity at a family's home. During her walk, Amy encounters a shadow creature that mentally torments the home's occupants to the brink.


Midnight, Texas (NBC), Friday 8PM - "Yasss, Queen"

With Midnight now under the rule of Dark Witches, the surviving Midnighters must band together in one last, desperate attempt to save their town.

Galaxy Quest (Discovery Family), Friday 9PM

Aliens, believing actors to be real heroes, enlist cast members (Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman) of a sci-fi TV series to help save their people.

Z Nation (SYFY), Friday 9PM - "The End of Everything"

See more in our "Highlights" section above.

Van Helsing (SYFY), Friday 10PM - "Birth Ritual"

SEASON FINALE: Vanessa and Sam face off to find the Last Elder, with Scarlett, Axel, and Mohamad caught in the crossfire. Julius fights the Sisterhood while Doc unlocks the secrets in the Dark One's blood.


Mickey's 90th Spectacular (ABC), Saturday 8PM

See more in our "Highlights" section above.

World War Z (FXX), Saturday 8PM

When a zombie pandemic threatens to destroy humanity, a former United Nations investigator (Brad Pitt) is forced back into service to try to uncover the source of the infection.


The Orville (Fox), Sunday 8PM - "Ja'loja"

See more in our "Highlights" section above.

National Treasure (A&E), Sunday 8PM

An adventurer (Nicolas Cage) must steal the Declaration of Independence and use its hidden map to find a legendary fortune.

Outlander (Starz), Sunday 8PM - "The Birds & The Bees"

As Brianna struggles to compartmentalize the trauma she suffered in the wake of the tragedy that befell her in Wilmington, she refocuses on finding her parents.

Counterpart (Starz), Sunday 9PM - "Point of Departure"

Howard Prime, Quayle, and Clare must unite against a common enemy; Emily Prime turns her investigation toward her other; Yanek probes Howard's past.

*TV listing information via TV Guide and Zap2it.