Sunday December 2 is the mid-season finale for many popular shows as they go on hiatus. As a child of the ’80s, I’m always confused by this new marketing ploy—the fake-out finale. It’s not the season finale but I still don’t get new episodes? Ugh. The best part about going back to school in the fall was that your favorite shows were back on the air to get you through the academic year. Cold weather equals new TV to my Pavlovian TV brain.
But time and television march on. Now we have a big fall cliffhanger, an interminable break, and a brief return that is essentially one drawn-out finale special. I end up Googling, “Is Grey’s Anatomy new tonight?” a lot.
So you don’t have to Google, here’s a list of shows that are going on break Sunday, when they’ll be back, and suggestions for occupying yourself in the meantime.
Boardwalk Empire, HBO 9pm EST (Return Date Unknown)
So this one is technically a genuine season finale, since the return date is TBD at this point. HBO has renewed the series for a fourth season, but when that will premier has yet to be announced. So, treat the showdown of Nucky and Gyp like the last, at least for a while.
Check out a teaser here. While you wait for the show’s return, we suggest getting your Prohibition fix by reading The Beautiful and the Damned, Fitzgerald’s lush 1922, second novel of alcohol, jazz, and destruction in glamorous post-war New York.
The Walking Dead, AMC 9pm EST (Mid February Return)
The comic book based, post-zombie apocalypse tale is going into hibernation for a few months and then will be reanimated (ha) in mid February. Check out the teaser of the bloody Woodbury showdown.
To help you get through the next few months, VH1 has helpfully compiled this list of best parodies and WD supercuts. Make sure to check out number five, the Mad Men/Walking Dead mashup mockery where Don Draper must pitch a client a snazzy new product, “braaaaains.”
Once Upon a Time, ABC 8pm EST (Returns in Two Weeks)
This is an even weirder new trick network shows are into these days, the itty-bitty mid-season break. This allows the shows to come back just in time for Christmas and New Year’s specials. This Sunday, in a very signature Once plot twist, where half of the fun is seeing how many fantasy world boundaries can be crossed, Captain Hook will meet the Queen of Hearts. “Off with his (other) hand?”
To keep yourself busy during this fortnight, tear through Neil Gaiman’s urban gothic, American Gods. Religious figures, Norse demi-gods, Greek mythology heroes, Old-World goblins, and modern objects of worship like Commerce and Technology battle for American reverence. You’ll also be ahead of the curve for the upcoming HBO adaption, which is being hyped as the next Game of Thrones.
Revenge, ABC 9pm EST (Returns in Two Weeks)
Like its other ABC Sunday counterpart, Revenge is only gone for a few weeks, but we’ll still miss Emily's killer stink-eye and awesome outfits. “Nolan must face an element from his past” is the teaser for this installment. The AV Club says, “An element, eh? Like from the periodic table? Noted noble-gas enthusiast Carrie Raisler hopes it’s Argon.” PolicyMic is rooting for francium. If we’re talking about Nolan, clearly it has to be the unstable one.
To keep occupied before the holiday episode return, do some seasonal shopping anywhere but with sponsors Target and Neiman Marcus, whose odd product placement “The Gift of Revenge” show-within-a-show commercial series completely fell flat. Do we get free murder with that gift-wrap? So confused.