TV THIS WEEK: Childhood's End arrives, The Expanse premieres, and more!

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Dec 16, 2015, 9:02 PM EST (Updated)

I know that just about everyone reading this is intensely focused on seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens in a few days, but that doesn't mean TV won't have stuff to offer you this week. Over the next few days, Syfy's rolling out both Childhood's End and The Expanse. Plus, a special preview of The Magicians, the finale of Into the Badlands, and more.

Check out the week in TV below. What's on your watchlist?


Childhood's End (Syfy) Monday, 8 p.m.  - "Night One: The Overlords"

Miniseries event! - We've talked a lot about Syfy's (Note: Blastr's corporate parent - Ed.) efforts in recent years to regain some of its hard sci-fi edge, and this week we get two of the most ambitious, most anticipated fruits of that labor, beginning with Childhood's End. When it comes to classics of 20th-century sci-fi literature, it doesn't get much bigger than this. It's one of the great works by one of the great sci-fi authors (the legendary Arthur C. Clarke), and after decades of potential adaptations it's finally hitting the screen. In case you're not aware, the story follows a peaceful alien invasion in which a race known as the "Overlords" arrives on Earth and basically crafts an apparent utopian society. As time goes on, though, humanity begins to lose its own sense of identity, and it becomes clear that the Overlords' true intentions are darker. If you love sci-fi TV, this could end up being the can't-miss event of the year. Check out a preview below.

The Expanse (Syfy) Monday, 10 p.m. - "Dulcinea"

Series premiere! - When The Expanse -- an adaptation of James S.A. Corey's novels -- first landed at Syfy, the phrase "Game of Thrones in space" was thrown around a lot. And while that might not be an exact comparison, there's still lots for fans of that HBO series. The Expanse has mystery, it has various powers on the brink of war, it has a conspiracy, and it's got the hard genre edge to keep the nerdiest among us hooked. In a universe in which Earth, Mars and the Asteroid Belt are all at odds with one another, we get to watch as Thomas Jane (who, if you ask me, deserves a series like this) and company navigate the case of a missing woman that could put the entire solar system, and all of humanity, in jeopardy. Check out a preview below, and if you just can't wait, watch Episode 1 online right now.

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The Magicians (Syfy) Wednesday, 10 p.m. - "Special Preview"

Preview night! - Syfy really is pulling out all the stops this week. We've got three straight nights of Childhood's End, two straight nights of The Expanse, and then on Wednesday, after Childhood's End wraps up, we get to see the fantasy side of the network's upcoming programming slate with the first episode of The Magicians. The full slate of episodes for this adaptation of Lev Grossman's bestselling and acclaimed fantasy series -- about a magical academy and the students who populate it -- won't arrive until January, but since Syfy already had everyone's attention this week, it seems they wanted to give us a little taste. Check out a preview below.

Conan (TBS) Thursday, 10 p.m. 

Star Wars Alert! - Look, there's a lot of cool TV to watch this week, but we all know what everyone's really thinking about: the premiere, finally, of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Even as we enjoy all of these shows, we'll be thinking about Star Wars, which is why Conan is going to give us Star Wars and TV at the same time. On Force Awakens Eve Thursday night, host Conan O'Brien will welcome director J.J. Abrams and stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong'o, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher (the most entertaining talk show guest of the year) for a special episode devoted to the new film. You know you want to watch that, especially if you were one of the unlucky people who couldn't score opening-night tickets.

Into the Badlands (AMC) Sunday, 10 p.m. - "Hand of Five Poisons"

Season finale! - Into the Badlands has been consistently gaining critical praise over the course of its Season 1 run, but we still don't know if AMC will pick up a second season of this interesting mix of dystopian drama and martial-arts awesomeness. The good news is that the show is giving plenty of ratings reasons to keep it around. It debuted, in Live+3 viewers, as the third-most-watched cable premiere ever, thanks in part to a big lead-in from the juggernaut that is The Walking Dead. Then The Walking Dead took its winter break, and that's when the show really had to prove itself. The bad news is that recent numbers are not as big as the premiere. But the good news is that even without The Walking Dead to boost it, the show is proving to be one of the top two cable shows running right now. So there's plenty of hope going into the finale. Check out a preview below.


Supergirl (CBS) 8 p.m. - "Hostile Takeover"

Astra challenges Kara's beliefs about her mother; a hacker exposes Cat's private -- and damaging -- emails, putting her job at risk.

Childhood's End (Syfy) 8 p.m. - "Night One: The Overlords"

Read more in our Highlights section above.

Scorpion (CBS) 9 p.m. - "Dam Breakthrough"

Team Scorpion must stop a catastrophe on Christmas Eve when heavy rain creates a large crack in a dam, putting an entire town in danger.

The Expanse (Syfy) 10 p.m. - "Dulcinea"

Read more in our Highlights section above.


Childhood's End (Syfy) 8 p.m. - "Night Two: The Deceivers"

Read more in our Highlights section above.

Manhattan (WGN) 9 p.m. - "Jupiter"

Season finale! - A new era is ushered in with the first test of an atomic weapon.

The Expanse (Syfy) 10 p.m. - "The Big Empty"

Read more in our Highlights section above.

Limitless (CBS) 10 p.m. - "This Is Your Brain on Drugs"

Agent Casey Rooks (Desmond Harrington) and his team try to skim NZT pills for themselves, triggering an internal investigation.


Childhood's End (Syfy) 8 p.m. - "Night Three: The Children"

Read more in our Highlights section above.

The Magicians (Syfy) 10 p.m. - "Special Preview"

Read more in our Highlights section above.

American Horror Story: Hotel (FX) 10 p.m. - "She Gets Revenge"

Alex enlists John's help in containing an outbreak; Donovan learns The Countess' true intentions; Liz and Iris plan to leave the hotel for good.


Haven (Syfy) 10 p.m. - "Now" and "Forever"

Series finale! - Nathan struggles to return to Haven; Dwight reconsiders his future; Audrey realizes they way she can save the town from Croatoan.

Elementary (CBS) 10 p.m. - "The Cost of Doing Business"

Morland offers to pose as one of his son's irregular consultants in order to help Sherlock and Joan solve a case.

Conan (TBS) 10 p.m. 

Read more in our Highlights section above.


Z Nation (Syfy) 10 p.m. - "All Good Things Must Come to an End"

Season finale! - The team reaches the mobile lab, which turns out to be a submarine; Murphy says goodbye.


Da Vinci's Demons (Starz) 8 p.m. - "Angelus Iratissimus"

Leo and Sophia struggle to control the mysterious device they've built. Back in Florence, Riario awaits judgment while Lorenzo and Vanessa take their partnership to the next level.

Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz) 9 p.m. - "Ashes to Ashes"

Ash must contend with more physical nightmares from his past before he can end the evil; Fisher faces a horrific change in Ash.

The Returned (Sundance) 10 p.m. - "The Returned"

No synopsis available.


The Librarians (TNT) 8 p.m. - "And The Happily Ever Afters"

The team scatters and each person begins living the ideal version of their life; the appearance of Ariel brings everyone together to investigate.

Agent X (TNT) 9 p.m. - "Angels & Demons"

John travels in disguise to a party on a billionaire's island in hopes of stealing a dangerous, high-tech weapon; Natalie struggles to contain the fallout from the conspiracy against the President.

Into the Badlands (AMC) 10 p.m. - "Hand of Five Poisons"

Read more in our Highlights section above.


(episode synopses via Zap2It)