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The It List: 'Cats' arrives on the big screen, the Skywalker saga concludes, Eddie Murphy makes his long-awaited return to 'SNL' and the best in pop culture the week of Dec. 16, 2019

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  • Eddie Murphy
    Eddie Murphy
    American comedian
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
    Andrew Lloyd Webber
    English composer and impresario of musical theatre (born 1948)
  • Taylor Swift
    Taylor Swift
    American singer-songwriter

The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. Here are our picks for Dec.16-22, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)

WATCH IT: Have no fear — Cats is here!

Ever since the first trailer dropped in July, Cats fever has swept across social media leaving the general public alternately delighted and terrified by Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway blockbuster. This week, our biggest hopes — and fears — are realized when all the Jellicle cats, from Taylor Swift’s Bombalurina to Steven McRae’s Skimbleshanks, parade into multiplexes in all their digital-fur enhanced glory. Like the stage version, the film understands that the key to Cats is to go big on spectacle, and light on story. All you really need to know about the plot is that the Jellicles are assembling to decide which of them gets to ascend to the mythical Heaviside Lair, where one lucky cat can be reborn. Will it be old theatre cat Gus (Ian McKellen)? Or maybe outcast cat Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson)? Each of those felines, and many more, audition for their one-way trip to resurrection via elaborate song-and-dance numbers accompanied by an awesomely bombastic Webber score. If you didn’t grow up with Cats, it’s perfectly understandable that you’d look at the trailers for the film and ask yourself, “What’s a Jellicle cat?” But ‘80s Broadway babies and fans of out-there movie musicals like The Apple, will find lots to love in the movie version of Cats, which is as dementedly over-the-top as its stage companion. It’s also just as entertaining.

Cats opens in theaters on Dec. 20; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.

WATCH IT: Eddie Murphy makes his long-awaited return to his Saturday Night Live stomping grounds

Live from New York — it’s Eddie Murphy! Some 35 years after leaving Saturday Night Live, the 58-year-old comedy legend and former cast member is back. Murphy, who was just 19 when he exploded onto the Studio 8H scene, has hinted that he’ll reprise trademark characters like Gumby, Buckwheat and Mr. Robinson when he hosts the Dec. 21 episode, featuring Lizzo as musical guest. But it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he’ll announce “Live from New York, it’s the Eddie Murphy Show!” like he did in December 1982, when he had the distinction of being the only regular cast member to serve as host (thanks to 48 Hrs. co-star Nick Nolte being too sick to do the honors). — Erin Donnelly

Saturday Night Live airs on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.

WATCH IT: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker wraps up a four decade-long saga

This is the end, our beautiful friends. Honestly, it feels like just yesterday that we first peeped that black-and-white photo introducing the leads of the third and final trilogy in The Skywalker Saga that was first launched with 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac have all expectedly become major stars in their own right, and of course we've fallen in love with their respective heroes Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron over the course of the last four years. With J.J. Abrams stepping back into the saddle to helm The Rise of Skywalker after Rian Johnson guided The Last Jedi, expect the trio to embark on a rousing adventure (together!) to take down the First Order in what promises to be an exciting, surprising and potentially tear-soaked final chapter. — Kevin Polowy

Get tickets for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (if there's any still left) on Fandango.

WATCH IT: Rottweilers and Flamingos and Foxes, oh my! The Masked Singer crowns a new champ

America’s most bonkers TV guessing game got even weirder in Season 2 — and a lot tougher, with tighter “military-grade” security and vaguer clues. However, we do feel confident that we have the final three cosplaying mystery celebrities all figured out. Now we’re rooting for top dawg the Rottweiler — who is most likely someone who shockingly stalled in fourth place on another Fox Network singing competition 13 years ago — to take home the Golden Mask on Wednesday. But “it’s not over” (heh) just yet. — Lyndsey Parker

The Masked Singer 2-hour season finale airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Fox.

WATCH IT: Live in Front of a Studio Audience brings back the Good Times

ABC is once again staging two episodes of producer Norman Lear’s hit sitcoms. This go round, Viola Davis, Tiffany Haddish, and Andre Brauer star in Good Times. Look for Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharaoh to take on the role of J.J. Walker and the catchphrase “dyn-o-mite!” On All in the Family, Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei and Ike Barinholtz will reprise the roles they played when the network first recreated the show back in May. — Raechal Shewfelt

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and Good Times airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

WATCH IT: Miss America 2.0 2020 ditches AC for Connecticut, and is "no longer judging on physical beauty"

We've come a long way, baby... but seriously, have we? To find out, you'll just have to tune in to the second-annual Miss America 2.0 — the rebranded effort to keep this 94-year-old contest on life support, come hell or high-profile scandals. Last year brought the controversial end of the swimsuit competition, much to the chagrin of the hardcore pageant community. And this year, producers are going even further, "no longer judging on physical beauty," according to press materials, but on the contestant's worthiness of "advancing her chosen social impact initiative at a national level." Also happening this year is the event's move from one casino town to another — from its historic home in Atlantic City, N.J., to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. While the host has not yet been announced, celebrity judges include Lauren Ash, Kelly Rowland and the now-mononymous Karamo (née Brown), with Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin passing on the crown. It could be a spectacular refresh or an epic disaster, but either way, it's probably worth a look-see. — Beth Greenfield

Miss America 2.0 2020 airs live on Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

STREAM IT: Ryan Reynolds and Michael Bay team up for Netflix’s globetrotting action movie 6 Underground… and there’s not a giant robot in sight

The Transformers franchise might be in Michael Bay’s rearview, but the premiere purveyor of Bayhem hasn’t lost his taste for larger-than-life action. The director’s newest film, 6 Underground, premiered on Netflix over the weekend, and if you’re a fan of his pre-giant robot movies like Bad Boys, The Rock and Armageddon, it’s a must-stream movie. Ryan Reynolds plays the leader of a group of corporeal “ghosts” — individuals with specific sets of skills (think parkour or driving fast cars) who have convinced the rest of the world that they’re dead so they can carry out top-secret missions that make Earth a better place. Case in point: Their latest mission involves overthrowing a tyrannical dictator, which takes them from the streets of Florence, Italy to a Hong Kong high-rise to a boat in the Middle East. Corey Hawkins plays the team’s newest recruit, who frequently challenges Reynolds on his leadership. “It gets pretty testy, but they find a respect for each other,” the actor said in a recent BUILD interview. (Watch the clip above.) But off-screen, the Deadpool star was the ideal leader. “Ryan was like a big brother for us,” Hawkins says. “He held it down.” — E.A.

6 Underground is currently streaming on Netflix.

WATCH IT: Abominable drops on Blu-ray and other home entertainment formats

It may have been somewhat lost in the shadows of higher profile flicks like Frozen 2, Toy Story 4 and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, but this fall release is a super-solid entry in the canon of 2019 animation. It's the heartwarming and fun tale of three teenagers charged with helping a Yeti return home with some malicious forces on his tail (note to self: search if Yeti have tails). A bonus you can enjoy for renting, buying or streaming this one for your kids? Hearing them pronounce "Abominable.” — K.P.

Get Abominable on 4K Ultra HD, DVD or digital on Amazon.

STREAM IT: Finish off your Slings & Arrows re-watch with the release of the third and final season on Acorn TV

Before Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience came along, Slings & Arrows were the funniest words in Canadian comedy. Lasting only three glorious seasons, which aired between 2003 and 2006, the series unfolded at a Shakespeare festival populated by a delightfully eccentric ensemble of actors... including a “before she was famous” Rachel McAdams. (The future Mean Girls star left after the first season, though.) Each season used a classic play by the Immortal Bard — Season 1 was Hamlet, Season 2 was the Scottish Play and the third and final year was, naturally, King Lear — as a jumping-off point for a thoughtful and deeply hilarious portrait of the power of theater and the strength of a community of artists. Long unavailable to stream, Acorn TV recently acquired Slings & Arrows for viewers to re-discover or discover for the first time. The first two seasons are streaming now, and the third debuts on Dec. 16. Be warned: When you get to the last episode, parting will be such sweet sorrow, but the good news is you can start watching it from the beginning all over again. — E.A.

All three seasons of Slings & Arrows can be streamed on AcornTV.

WATCH IT: Cozy up to A Very Brady Renovation: Holiday Edition

Brady Bunch fans already obsessed with HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation, which premiered in September, will appreciate this holiday special. It features Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Susan Olsen and their TV siblings partnering with the Food Network’s “Pioneer Woman” Renee Drummond, for one, to create decorations and ‘70s-era treats. They’ll make fondue-style potatoes, a gelatin fruit salad and “santapes,” a take on canapés. — R.S.

A Very Brady Renovation: Holiday Edition premieres Monday at 10 p.m. on HGTV.

STREAM IT: Henry Cavill transforms into a mutated monster hunter in The Witcher

The Superman actor really gets into character as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher, based on a series of books by Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski. Geralt is on a mission to battle demons in the fictional land of The Continent — which, in all honesty, could stand in for any location in the Game of Thrones universe. But what is this sword-wielding Witcher all about? According to Cavill, "He isn't simply a white knight. He isn't simply a harsh monster. He's an incredible blend of the two." Intrigued? Yes! And If the show hasn't grabbed your full attention let us remind you there's a bathtub scene featuring Geralt. The Witcher has already been greenlit for a second season, so there's lots more Cavill in our future. — Gisselle Bances

The Witcher premieres Friday, Dec. 20 on Netflix.

HEAR IT: The claws, and stars, come out for Cats

Will Cats be 2019’s most hyped movie, most hated movie, or both? The bizarre, nightmare-fueling trailers have already gone viral for all the wrong reasons, and early screeners apparently didn’t impress Golden Globes voters. But the film does feature furry-costumed pop A-listers like Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo and, of course, known kitty aficionado Taylor Swift, who contributes a new tune, “Beautiful Ghosts,” to the soundtrack that comes out Friday. — L.P.

Download on iTunes; buy on CD/vinyl at Amazon.

WATCH IT: Live it up Lady Mary-style with the Downton Abbey film on DVD

Never mind the popcorn — you’ll feel like polishing the silverware and slipping on your finest pearls for this movie night. The first (and hopefully not last) big-screen follow-up to the beloved British period drama saw the Crawley household in a tizzy over a visit from the king and queen, with romance, intrigue and inheritance disputes ensuing. But if the prospect of even more tiaras doesn’t tempt your inner marchioness, try this: Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess is as delightfully acid-tongued as ever. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll contemplate buying a castle. — E.D.

Downton Abbey is available on DVD and Blu-ray on Amazon.