TV tends wind down in December, as the holidays approach and series begin their mid-season breaks. Still, there’s plenty to look forward to this month: Comedian Pete Holmes’s first HBO hour-long, the return of two Amazon originals, and a promising new Netflix docu-series. But the December TV calendar is mostly filled with one-off specials and live events, like NBC’s heavily promoted Hairspray Live!, holiday variety shows from Fox and IFC, and the resurrection of a long-running tradition, Showtime at the Apollo. Plus, Lee Daniels premieres his new musical drama, Star, which will return for a full season in January. Happy watching!
12/3: Pete Holmes: Faces and Sounds (HBO)
New York-based comedian Pete Holmes debuts his first HBO stand-up special this month — a trial run of sorts for his upcoming HBO series, Crashing, created by and starring Holmes, with Judd Apatow serving as an executive producer. Holmes has an appealing nice-guy vibe — “I’m not a cool person,” he admits — and whip-smart observational material; he’s a mainstream comic with wide appeal and genuine wit, a combination that’s tricky to pull off. (Louis C.K. has made a pretty good career out of it.) He’s probably best known for his podcast, You Made it Weird, and his TBS talk show, The Pete Holmes Show, which ran from 2013-2014.