The It List: 'The Masked Singer' spinoff 'The Masked Dancer' premieres, 'Wonder Woman 1984' and 'Soul' debut, 'Dr. Pimple Popper' returns with holiday special and the best in pop culture the week of Dec. 21, 2020
The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. During the coronavirus pandemic, when most of us are staying at home, we’re going to spotlight things you can enjoy from your couch, whether solo or in small groups, and leave out the rest. With that in mind, here are our picks for Dec. 21-27, 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: The Masked Dancer is your new favorite TV face-off
If there’s anything we’ve learned this year, it’s that everything is better when you’re wearing a mask. And Fox’s The Masked Singer was totally ahead of the curve, enforcing face-covering, extreme sequestering and social-distancing back in 2018, long before such measures became pandemic safety precautions. For two bonkers seasons in the bonkers year that was 2020, The Masked Singer provided much-needed escapist entertainment… and now, as we head into an uncertain new year, the sure-to-be-bonkers spinoff series The Masked Dancer premieres Dec. 27 to keep us guessing. Ken “I Know Exactly Who This Is” Jeong returns as the main judge, although it’s unlikely that his guessing track record will improve, as it seems this show will be even tougher to figure out. But Jeong — along with veteran Fox faces Paula Abdul and Brian Austin Green (aka the Giraffe), plus Ashley Tisdale — will be giving it a go, scrutinizing the fancy footwork of every mystery contestant from the Disco Ball to the Sloth. At this rate, we’d gladly welcome other spinoffs like Masked Idol, America’s Next Top Mask, The Real Masked Housewives, The Masklorette, RuPaul’s Masked Race or The Great British Masking Show in 2021. — Lyndsey Parker
The Masked Dancer premieres Sunday, Dec. 27 on Fox.
WATCH IT: Tom Hanks makes the Best Western of 2020 with News of the World
Patience rewards in this slow-building Western drama about a traveling news reader and battle vet (Tom Hanks) who must transport a young girl (Helena Zengel) across a treacherous frontier in post-Civil War Texas. Once the bond forms between our two travelers and the stakes rise higher, it’s an increasingly emotionally rich and agonizingly taut tale from Bourne, United 93 and Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass. Check out an exclusive clip from the film above. — Kevin Polowy
News of the World opens in theaters Friday, Dec. 25; check Fandango for ticket and showtime information.
DRINK IT: Highland Park’s The Light Whisky is perhaps the most welcoming Scotch you’ll ever come across
If the mission of this drink was to bridge the gap between Irish Whisky drinkers and Scotch drinkers, they have succeeded. The Light is bottled at 52.9 percent ABV, a higher alcohol than its name may imply.
Limited to less than 30,000 bottles globally and less than 5,000 in the U.S., Highland Park’s The Light Single Malt is something of a rarity in the whisky world. A collectible item, even among connoisseurs. It’s a 17-year-old single malt Scotch, matured exclusively in refill American oak casks.
Poured over ice, notes of summer pear tickle the nose before drinking. The taste of vanilla reveals itself upon first sip with a dash of nutmeg. With each taste, this Scotch gets smoother.
Packaged in a lovely wooden case, the Highland Park Light is the perfect whisky for a celebration. Graduations, wedding rehearsals or simply Christmas dinner would all be perfect occasions to crack open a bottle.
The Light is uniquely smooth for a Scotch. Crafted for anyone above the age of 21 to drink and enjoy. This drink would compliment a slice of chocolate cake splendidly, as its light nature makes for a lovely pairing with desserts. — Jason Peters
Shop Highland Park The Light Whisky at drizly.com.
WATCH/STREAM IT: On the big screen or small, Wonder Woman 1984 tops its 2017 predecessor
Somewhat lost in the hullabaloo over Warner Bros.’ decision to unleash the highly anticipated, six months-delayed sequel on HBO Max the same day as in theaters (the first of many in a controversial and shocking move from the AT&T conglomerate) is this delightful revelation: Wonder Woman 1984 is a major improvement over 2017’s Wonder Woman. Maybe even by battlefield leaps and bounds. With all that exposition out of the way, Patty Jenkins crafts a roundly entertaining ‘80s-set sequel that’s thrilling, awe-inspiring in its aerial scenes, funny in a dare-we-say Marvel-esque fashion (all hail Kristen Wiig), and features one of DC’s best villain turns not named Joker (all hail Pedro Pascal, who trots around the globe with the frenetic, sweat energy Adam Sandler did in Uncut Gems). It’s too long and there are some third act issues, but welcome to superhero moviemaking. Jenkins deserves all the biggest gigs. — K.P.
Wonder Woman 1984 debuts Friday, Dec. 25 in theaters (visit Fandango for ticket and showtime information) and on HBO Max.
STREAM IT: Shonda Rhimes makes her Netflix debut with addictive period piece Bridgerton
What if Gossip Girl was set in Regency-era England and narrated by Julie Andrews? That’s the set-up for Bridgerton, hitmaker Shonda Rhimes’s first series for Netflix and your perfect post-Crown Christmastime binge. Adapted from Julia Quinn’s bestselling romance series, the show follows the various affairs, scandals and trysts of several intertwined London families. In a bold decision that departs from period romance norms, Rhimes and her regular collaborators, Betsy Beers and Chris Van Dusen, pursued a color-blind approach to casting. And Quinn, for one, cheered that decision. “I am utterly in love with every single casting choice,” the author told fans, singling out British-Zimbabwean star, Regé-Jean Page — who plays the show’s dashing male lead, Simon Basset — for particular praise. “He is every piece of Simon that matters.” (For the record, Page has already won Twitter’s approval.) The eight-episode first season features a mixture of rising stars like Phoebe Dynevor as Simon’s love interest, Daphne Bridgerton, alongside TV favorites like Rome’s always-delightful Polly Walker. Andrews’s droll voiceover provides the perfect cherry on top of this immaculately decorated cake. — Ethan Alter
Bridgerton premieres Friday, Dec. 25 on Netflix.
STREAM IT: Soul marks yet another deep and soulful gem from Pixar
The folks at Pixar will be the first to tell you their first Black-lead adventure is long overdue. But beyond the cultural significance of their 23rd feature — which follows a down-and-out middle school music teacher (Jamie Foxx) who falls through a manhole and ventures to The Great Beyond the same day he finally scores the jazz club gig of his dreams — the animation giants have also delivered one of their most thought-provoking, life affirming, inventive and amusing entries, a testament to living every minute to the fullest. Bonus points for the pizza rat cameo and taking jazz back from Ryan Gosling. — K.P.
Soul premieres Friday, Dec. 25 on Disney+.
STREAM IT: Tessa Thompson falls for Nnamdi Asomugha’s jazzman in Sylvie’s Love
Speaking of movies taking jazz back from Ryan Gosling (see Soul), it’s a big week for America’s original art form in film. In writer-director Eugene Ashe’s Sundance 2020 premiere Sylvie’s Love, the always-enchanting Tessa Thompson (Sorry to Bother You, Thor: Ragnarok) plays a woman working at a 1950s Harlem record shop who falls for an aspiring saxophone player (Nnamdi Asomugha, best known as a producer on films like Beasts of No Nation and Harriet). Thompson’s titular character also later scores a gig working on a televised cooking show, which will explain the exchange she has with Wendi McLendon-Covey in the exclusive clip above. — K.P.
Sylvie’s Love premieres Wednesday, Dec. 23 on Amazon Prime Video.
WATCH IT: Dr. Pimple Popper: Season’s Squeezings delivers Christmas miracles
Look, Dr. Sandra Lee’s work helping patients struggling with skin issues isn’t pretty, but it’s necessary — and surprisingly addictive to watch. As loyal viewers know, Lee’s expertise in diagnosing and treating uncomfortable and unsightly conditions can be life-changing. The show has been in reruns, but it returns with this new holiday-themed special, which features Dr. Lee treating a woman who wants the bump on her forehead to go away in time for family photos. Her other clients include her youngest patient ever, an 8-year-old with psoriasis, and a man who’s developed bumps all over his body. — Raechal Shewfelt
Dr. Pimple Popper: Season's Squeezings airs Monday, Dec. 21 at 9 p.m. on TLC.
STREAM IT: Kevin Costner’s underrated political drama, Thirteen Days, celebrates its 20th anniversary
It’s not mentioned as often as Bull Durham, Dances With Wolves or Waterworld, but Thirteen Days ranks among Kevin Costner’s best movies, and a great dramatization of inside-the-White House history. Chronicling the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis from inside the Oval Office, director Roger Donaldson brings the past to thrilling life thanks to David Self’s excellent screenplay, and a terrific ensemble headed up by Costner as Kenneth O’Donnell and Bruce Greenwood as President John F. Kennedy. (There’s a reason why Greenwood so often tops the list of best big-screen JFKs.) Keeping the action largely restricted to the Oval Office, Donaldson — who previously directed Costner in the 1987 Washington D.C. thriller No Way Out — puts the audience in the same position the Kennedy administration was throughout the crisis: making impossible choices on limited information with the future of the world on the line. — E.A.
Thirteen Days is available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Redbox.
WATCH IT: Restaurant Hustle 2020: All on the Line spotlights COVID-19’s effect on restaurants
Executive produced by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host Guy Fieri, this doc is what he describes as “a real and intimate first-hand look” at the story of four restaurateurs — Maneet Chauhan, Antonia Lofaso, Christian Petroni and Marcus Samuelsson — struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve faced obstacles such as restaurant closures, layoffs and changing guidelines of what is and isn’t allowed in the past year. Fieri, of course, had an up-close look at it all, as the founder of the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The organization has raised more than $21.5 million for restaurant workers since March, and they’ve approved more than 43,000 servers, cooks and others for $500 grants. — R.S.
Restaurant Hustle 2020: All on the Line premieres Sunday, Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. on Food Network.
READ IT: Dance, magic, dance with a new Labyrinth one-shot comic book
One of the most famous sequences in the Jim Henson 1986 favorite, Labyrinth, gets the comic book treatment in Labyrinth: Masquerade, a super-sized one-shot from Boom! Studios. Penned by celebrated fantasy author Lara Elena Donnelly, the story picks up after the film’s heroine Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) shatters Goblin King’s manufactured illusion of a lavish masquerade ball. As she races off to her next adventure, one of the partygoers left behind slowly awakens to the fact that she’s also part of Jareth’s fantasy. With the movie’s 35th anniversary coming up next year, Labyrinth: Masquerade will get you in the mood to celebrate. — E.A.
Labyrinth: Masquerade is available Wednesday, Dec. 23 on Comixology.
BOOK IT: Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies plot the return of the TCM Big Screen Classics series in 2021
As Hollywood studios slowly plan a return to movie theaters next year, Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies are planting a flag for the theatrical experience with the 2021 edition of TCM Big Screen Classics series. Starting in January, the companies will spend the next 12 months celebrating the anniversaries of a slew of cinematic favorites, from The Maltese Falcon and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to Boyz n the Hood and Fried Green Tomatoes. Each film will be shown on the big screen in crisp digital projection, and will be accompanied by introductions from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz. No golden tickets required. — E.A.
Tickets for the first TCM Big Screen Classics entry are available on the Fathom Events website.
— Video produced by Jon San and edited by John Santo