Rescheduled from Tuesday, Fox’s Fantasy Island reboot returns for a holiday special. Gentleman Jack’s Suranne Jones stars in Peacock’s Scottish import Vigil, a thriller set aboard a nuclear submarine. Fans pick their favorite episodes of CBS’ new comedy hit Ghosts for a prime-time marathon. A special edition of cult comedy Reno 911! sends the wacky deputies on a special mission.
Fantasy Island (2021)
What better place for wish fulfillment during the holidays than the island where dreams come true (though often with a life lesson). In a two-hour special edition of last summer’s better-than-you’d-expect reboot (pushed from Tuesday to Thursday by NFL rescheduling), Elena Roarke (Roselyn Sánchez) welcomes a doctor (Geri Nikole-Love) seeking her husband (Mackenzie Astin) who vanished a year ago, and then turns the tropical isle into a winter wonderland for a stressed CEO (Lindsey Kraft) who wants to experience her own version of a Hallmark movie. (Who doesn’t?) One of the fantasies conjures painful memories for Roarke in the form of her ex-fiancé (Eddie Cahill), but a Secret Santa gift from flirty pilot Javier (John Gabriel Rodriguez) could relieve some of the sting.
Gentleman Jack’s Suranne Jones stars as DCI Amy Silva in a thriller set aboard the HMS Vigil, a Trident nuclear submarine patrolling the Scotland coast. She comes aboard to investigate the death of a crew member that she deduces is more than the accidental overdose it appears. While the shipmates close ranks, Amy finds herself over her head in more ways than one.
We’ve grown awfully attached to the whimsical spirits in this delightful comedy (an adaptation of a British hit) in a short time. So much so that fans have voted for their favorite episodes to date from the first season, airing in a five-episode marathon. The choices include “Pete’s Wife,” in which perky scoutmaster Pete (Richie Moriarty) arranges for his widow to visit the mansion; “Vikng Funeral,” where Thorfinn (Devan Chandler Long) requests a traditional send-off when his bones are discovered on the property; “D&D” (one of my favorites), in which Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) gets closer to the ghosts he can’t see when they join him in a game of Dungeons & Dragons, with Sam (Rose McIver) reluctantly moderating; “Alberta’s Fan,” with the focus on Jazz Age siren Alberta (Danielle Pinnock), who’s over the moon when a superfan arrives to do research into his favorite singer; and the uproarious “Possession,” when the spirit of haughty Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky) accidentally jumps into Jay’s body. All that’s missing is Marley’s ghost.
The episode you never knew you wanted to see so badly: The cult comedy about the misfit deputies from the Reno Sheriff’s Department is back, having aired for six hilarious seasons on Comedy Central (2003-09) before being briefly revived on the short-lived Quibi (and later the Roku Channel). In this special episode, the gang is on a mission to unearth the notorious Q (of QAnon infamy), which leads them first to a QAnon convention at sea, after which they find themselves stranded on the equally notorious (and late) Jeffrey Epstein’s private island.
Inside Thursday TV:
- Yearly Departed (streaming on Prime Video): A new and not entirely unwelcome new trend: comedy specials saying good riddance to the year we’ve somehow survived. This sequel to last year’s special takes digs at Zoom, the Hot Vaxx Summer, climate-change denial and more. Insecure’s Yvonne Orji is host of the all-female mock eulogy, with participants including Jane Fonda, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Chelsea Peretti, The Daily Show’s Dulcé Sloan and Alessia Cara with a musical send-off.
- Dragons: The Nine Realms (streaming on Hulu and Peacock): Spinning off from the How to Train Your Dragon franchise is an animated series set 1,300 years later, when a fissure opens up in the Earth revealing where the legendary flying beasts have been hiding all that time.
- Dead Man’s Switch: A Crypto Mystery (streaming on discovery+): A true-crime puzzle begins when $215 million goes missing in 2018 when crypto-exchange CEO Gerry Cotton suddenly dies. Or did he?
- Rebuilding a Dream Christmas (8/7c, Lifetime): A love story fit for HGTV, when a real-estate broker (Meggan Kaiser) goes home to sell the Victoria house she inherited, only to fall for the handsome single-dad handyman (Zane Stephens) sprucing the place up.
- Christmas for Sale (streaming on BET+): Real-estate agents are obviously in vogue, including in this romance about a broker who poses as a yoga instructor to earn a billionaire’s hot listing during a holiday ski trip.
- In case you missed it, these holiday specials are getting another airing as we head into Christmas weekend: On ABC, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (8/7c), followed by A Very Boy Band Holiday (9/8c) and CMA Country Christmas (10/9c); on NBC, 5 More Sleeps ‘Til Christmas (8/7c) and Trolls Holiday in Harmony (8:30/7:30c). followed by holiday episodes of Young Rock (9/8c) and Mr. Mayor (9:30/8:30c) and a replay of Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around (10/9c); on The CW, Silent Night: A Song for the World (8/7c)