And so the calendar closes on yet another TV year. As critics start to assemble year-end best lists and look forward to what the next 12 months might have in store, there’s still a final flurry of new original programming to sift through before 2018 fades away.
Per usual, these are spread out across broadcast, cable, and subscription services, this time with an extra peppering of original films debuting on TV airtime. With plenty of other options to juggle as 2018 closes, allow this one final collection to cap off the bunch.
(We do this roundup of new shows pretty much every month — if you missed any of those previous picks, here are some notable TV premieres from February, March, April, May, June, July, August, October, November, and our giant fall preview.)
“Nightflyers” (December 2, Syfy)
Joining the ever-growing sci-fi subgenre of “Hey, space is probably not the best place to go with people you don’t completely know!” is this new adaptation of the George R.R. Martin novella of the same name. Gretchen Mol, Angus Sampson, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Maya Eshet lead this galaxy-crossing ensemble. “Another Earth” director Mike Cahill directed the pilot, and three episodes in the ten-episode season were written by showrunner Jeff Buhler.
“Life Size 2” (December 2, Freeform)
Of all the original movies to air in ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney” Sunday night block, the one with the most inexplicable staying power has been “Life Size,” the story of a doll (Tyra Banks) who takes human form. Now, 18 years later, the sequel features Banks in a similar role, this time with a Christmas twist. (Fingers crossed this also means Tony Danza will get a chance to reprise his role from “The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon.”)
“Finding Joy” (December 3, Acorn)
This six-part comedy, which originally premiered in Ireland, stars Amy Huberman as the title character, who’s trying to deal with unexpected fame right after a breakup. Another point in the show’s favor: Joy has a dog named Canine Aidan. That’s almost worth tuning in all by itself.
“Icebox” (December 7, HBO)
Daniel Sawka’s chronicle of a teenage boy’s (Anthony Gonzalez) travels through the U.S. Border Patrol detainment system premiered earlier this year at the Toronto International Film Festival. Based on Sawka’s short of the same name, this feature-length version co-stars Genesis Rodriguez, Omar Leyva, Johnny Ortiz, Matthew Moreno, and Jessica Juarez.
“The Shivering Truth” (December 9, Adult Swim)
Adult Swim’s stop-motion series is an otherwise unclassifiable anthology series about the more bizarre corners of the human psyche. Voiced by an impressive ensemble of comedy favorites (including Jordan Peele, Maria Bamford, Andy Daly, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, Jon Glaser, Trey Parker, Peter Serafinowicz, and Julio Torres), the six-part series will air in the traditional AS quarter-hour installments.
“Champaign Ill” (December 12, YouTube Premium)
Pair up Sam Richardson and Adam Pally and they’ll make anything borderline-essential viewing all by themselves. Putting them together as former entourage members trying to figure out what to do in the wake of losing their famous rapper friend (Jay Pharoah)? With former “Happy Ending” boss David Caspe also as a co-writer on the series, YouTube Premium’s biggest venture into the comedy world has plenty of the right ingredients.
“LOL: Last One Laughing” (December 14, Amazon)
Megastar host Eugenio Derbez headlines this reality competition series in which comedians test of their ability to be funny against people trying their hardest not to laugh. The one who can stay silent the longest walks away with a cash prize. The show is based on a Japanese series with a similar premise.
“Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean” (December 15, HBO)
In advance of Season 3 of “Crashing,” the series partly drawn from his own rise through the stand-up comedy world, Pete Holmes stays in the HBO family with this hourlong special, his first since 2016’s “Faces and Sounds.”
“Timeless” (December 20, NBC)
Not so much a “new” show (or really a “movie,” so much as a two-part finale). But it is one last testament to a vocal fanbase that this NBC series about a small group of time-traveling compatriots got one final extension to wrap up its various loose ends.
“Vanity Fair” (December 24, Amazon)
William Makepeace Thackeray’s mid-19th century English social novel has spawned a bevy of adaptations over the decades. The latest is this Olivia Cooke-starring series from veteran British TV director James Strong (“Broadchurch,” “Downton Abbey,” “Doctor Who”). The seven-part series also features Simon Russell Beale, Johnny Flynn, and the great Michael Palin as Thackeray.