1) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m. Saturday, NBC. Eddie Murphy reached “SNL” in 1980, when it was reeling. The original stars and producer were gone; their replacements faltered. Then Murphy was added – first as an extra, then as a regular. He was 19, raw … and brilliant. He stayed for four seasons, then became a movie star. He slumped, but now has drawn raves (and a Golden Globe nomination) for Netflix’s “Dolemite is My Name” (shown here). Murphy hosts for the first time in 35 years; Lizzo is the music guest.
2) “Christmas With the Tabernacle Choir,” 9 p.m. today, PBS. Two forces – one mega and one mini –combine for potent music. The massive side is the 360-voice choir (formerly Mormon Tabernacle Choir), backed by 200-plus instrumentalists and bell-ringers. The mini is Kristin Chenoweth, all 4-foot-11 of her, who does it all. She jokes, dances, rings a big bell, reads part of “The Gift of the Magi” and sings beautifully, unleashing her pure voice on the classics, backed by those thundering masses.
3) “The Voice” finale, 8-10 p.m. today, 9-11 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. It’s reality-finals week, with three shows picking their champions. For “The Voice,” it’s all even – one finalist for each judge. That happened because John Legend lost two semi-finalists last week, keeping only Katie Kadan, 38,; then Gwen Stefani’s only semi-finalist (Rose Short, 34) barely survived via “instant save.” They join Blake Shelton’s Ricky Duran, 29, and Kelly Clarkson’s Jake Hood, 30. Tuesday also has a recap at 8 p.m.
4) “The Masked Singer” finale, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox, with recap at 8. Three people remain, under the masks of Flamingo, Fox and Rottweiler; chances are, all are experienced singers. Finishing fourth was the gifted Seal; previously ousted were Michelle Williams (from Destiny’s Child) and Patti LaBelle. Still, there are surprises: Finishing fifth was Victor Oladipo, who’s known for basketball. Prior to an injury, he had six pro seasons. averaging 17.5 points a game and once leading the league in steals.
5) “Survivor” finale, 8-10 p.m. Wednesday, CBS; reunion at 10. The final six was suddenly trimmed to five when Dan Spiro – who had been accused of improper behavior with the women – was ejected. That leaves two men – Tommy Sheehan, 26, a 4th-grade teacher in New York, and Dean Kowalski, 29, a tech salesman in New York City – and three women. Lauren Beck, 30, is a nanny in California; Noura Salman, 37, is an entrepreneur in New York; and Janet Carbin, 60, is a chief lifeguard in Florida.
6) “The Resident,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, Fox. It’s the “fall finale” for the series, and it will leave viewers stunned and/or perplexed. Two plot shifts seem to tip the story upside-down. After starting as an OK show, this has become much better, despite two flaws – over-the-top villains and arbitrary shifts in characters. Dr. Bell, the chief medical officer, went from lethal fraud to hero; tonight, two more doctors (Devon and Mina), have out-of-character moments. Flaws and all, however, it’s an involving hour.
7) “Empire,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox. It’s another “fall finale,” with more shock waves. In the same hour, one character faces gunpoint three times … three couples have this-is-the-end arguments … and someone jolts people at a live ceremony. That last one happens a lot on “Empire”; so do Andre’s bipolar extremes: He envisions his late half-brother – who can control his actions. It’s a high-volume hour, with some joy – a triumph for trans singer-actress Alexandra Grey, as Melody – and deep pain.
8) “A Christmas Carol,” 7:30 to 10:45 p.m Thursday, FX. Isn’t this the cheery (eventually) story that’s been done by Mickey Mouse and the Muppets and countless school groups? Not this time. This digs out all the rage from Charles Dickens’ story, then adds layers more. There’s a mining disaster and a skating tragedy; there’s sexual abuse (implied, not shown) toward a boy and a woman. This is superbly acted by Guy Pearce and others, but it’s a gloomy ride, not really gripping us until the final hour or so.
9) “I Love Lucy Christmas Special,” 8 p.m. Friday, CBS. Each December, CBS stitches together two old episodes, with color added by computer. The first is always the same; its Christmas portions are so-so, but they enfold terrific flashbacks, including a masterpiece – taking Lucy to the hospital to have her baby. This year’s second episode takes everyone to Paris. It starts slowly, but leads to another brilliant bit – an interrogation scene that leaps wildly from French to German to Spanish to English and back.
10) More Christmas. Two great cartoons rerun Tuesday – “Grinch” at 7:30 p.m. on TNT and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at 8 on ABC. Two other cartoons, “Frosty” and “Rudolph,” rerun on Freeform, at 5:45 and 6:15 p.m. Friday and 12:55 and 1:25 p.m. Saturday. And music-based specials? The Hough siblings (Derek and Julianne) are 10 p.m. today on NBC … The “iHeartRadio Jingle Ball” is 8 p.m. Thursday on CW… and Idina Menzel hosts “A Home For the Holidays,” at 9 p.m. Sunday on CBS.