Tune in Tonight: ‘Artful Dodger’ arrives and ‘Slow Horses’ returns

Did Charles Dickens write the book on Christmas? Some think so. So what better time than the holidays to introduce the Australian series “The Artful Dodger”?

Streaming on Hulu, this new twist on “Oliver Twist” has been relocated to Sydney in the 1850s, where the former pickpocket Jack Dawkins (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, “Phineas and Ferb,” “Love Actually”) has established himself as a successful surgeon. He’s reacquainted with his sordid past when his old ringleader, Fagin (David Thewlis) pays a visit.

The limited material made available for review is sufficient to inform us that this update includes spunky young characters filled with 21st-century sass and a contemporary pop/rock score.

The most interesting aspect is the appearance of Thewlis, whose presence in the third season of FX’s “Fargo” was so filled with menace. He’s been around for some time. His first movie credit is also Dickensian, having appeared in a 1987 version of “Little Dorrit.”

— A spirit of Dickensian gloom also informs the atmosphere of the U.K. import espionage drama “Slow Horses,” streaming its third season on Apple TV+.

Adapted from the “Slough House” series of novels by Mick Herron, it concerns a holding pen for MI5 agents who have disgraced themselves by botching an operation in a public fashion. Or who at least appeared to have done so.

The Slow Horses are overseen by Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman). The phrase “role of a lifetime” rings particularly hollow when mentioned in proximity to Oldman, who has played everyone from Sid Vicious to George Smiley, Lee Harvey Oswald and Count Dracula. But Lamb is an astoundingly rude and unpleasant fellow, seen frequently in greasy clothes and unwashed hair, eating cheap and unhealthy food. That’s not to say he’s not intelligent or an asset to intelligence agencies.

He’s in frequent contact with Diana Taverner (Kristin Scott Thomas), MI5’s deputy director, who has a habit of using Lamb’s Horses as decoys when staging larger operations. This season centers around a group of rogue agents who have turned their training and weaponry on the Sceptered Isle.

“Horses” can be enjoyed for its bleak atmosphere, black comedy or Le Carre-level intrigue. My favorite scenes are between the slovenly Lamb and the posh Taverner. After decidedly unfriendly sparring, she always departs looking like she needs a shower.

— A holiday tradition now in its 91st year, “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) features appearances and performances by Chloe Bailey, Adam Blackstone, Cher, David Foster, Liz Gillies, Darlene Love, Seth MacFarlane, Barry Manilow, Katharine McPhee, Keke Palmer, Carly Pearce and Manuel Turizo.

Immediately following the dazzle of the Manhattan celebration, NBC introduces “Christmas at Graceland” (10 p.m., TV-PG). Scheduled performers include Kane Brown, Kacey Musgraves, John Legend, Lana Del Ray and Lainey Wilson.

More than 45 years removed from his premature demise in 1977, we have never really left the Elvis era behind. The past few years have seen Baz Luhrmann’s opulent biopic “Elvis,” and more recently, director Sofia Coppola explored his marriage in the 2023 drama “Priscilla.” Just this year, Paramount+ looked at the role of television in reviving his career in “Reinventing Elvis: the ‘68 Comeback.”

While Presley was dubbed “The King” and projected a larger-than-life image, his Graceland home remains rather modest and lived-in by celebrity mansion standards.

Look for vintage clips of Presley as well as an appearance by actress Riley Keough (“Daisy Jones & the Six”), for whom this Graceland special will involve a trip to Grandpa’s house.

— Freevee Streams season three of the Canadian police procedural “Pretty Hard Cases.”


— “NOVA” (9 p.m., PBS, r, TV-PG, check local listings) looks into mammoth remains discovered in Britain. David Attenborough hosts.


Have yourself a very Murray Christmas! “SNL” star Bill Murray plays an obsessed groundskeeper in the 1980 comedy “Caddyshack” (8 p.m., AMC, TV-14) and a cynical weatherman caught in a cosmic time warp in the 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day” (10 p.m., TV-PG). Drink to world peace!


“Survivor” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) … “The Masked Singer” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) … “Celebrity Jeopardy!” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) … David Spade hosts “Snake Oil” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) … “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) … “The Amazing Race” (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) … “The $100,000 Pyramid” (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).


Patrick Stewart and Jon Batiste are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS) … Jimmy Fallon welcomes Jacob Elordi, Julius Randle and Leslie Liao on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC, r) … John Pinette, Debi Gutierrez, Joe Clair and Kyle Cease appear on “Comics Unleashed With Byron Allen” (12:35 a.m., CBS, r).