TV Talk: 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,' other 'Peanuts' specials back on PBS this year (2024)

Fans of Charlie Brown and “Peanuts,” rejoice: The three most popular “Peanuts” TV specials will be available on PBS and PBS Kids as well as at their new home on Apple TV+.

Last year the “Great Pumpkin” didn’t air on broadcast TV but after an uproar, Apple shared the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials with PBS.

Pittsburgh’s WQED-TV will air the seasonal specials in pattern with PBS with “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” airing at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19.

In addition, Apple TV+ will debut a new “Peanuts” holiday special, “For Auld Lang Syne,” on the subscription streaming service Dec. 10. Here’s how Apple describes the new special: “After the Peanuts gang experience a disappointing Christmas because Grandma can’t visit, Lucy resolves to throw herself the best New Year’s Eve party ever, while Charlie Brown struggles to accomplish just one of his resolutions before the clock strikes twelve.”

‘Dopesick’

There are really three different series happening at once in Hulu’s “Dopesick,” a chronicle of America’s opioid epidemic driven by over-prescription and lies about the addictive nature of Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin.

Streaming Wednesday, the eight-episode limited series, starring Pittsburgh native Michael Keaton, tells multiple stories we can separate into: The scheming executives of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, the government investigation into Oxy and the small-town story of Keaton’s salt-of-the-earth Dr. Sammuel Finnix and his coal miner patients who become Oxy addicts.

With a few quibbles, the first two stories are consistently compelling; the third story, while more intimate, sometimes feels generic and like it’s going through the paces: Mining accident, miner Betsy (an excellent-as-always Kaitlyn Dever, “Unbelievable”) comes out and her parents reject her, etc.

But even if some elements of “Dopesick” feel too pat, the story as a whole is a worthwhile indictment of a government regulation system that allowed Purdue to operate for years with impunity, ruining the lives of thousands of Americans.

Writer Danny Strong delivers a thoughtful process piece along the lines of his past HBO political movies (2008’s “Recount,” 2012’s “Game Change”) but “Dopesick” does get marred by time hops that require strict attention and a good memory (taking notes wouldn’t hurt either). This is not a series to text through but you also won’t want to: “Dopesick” dives deep, offering too-crazy-to-be-true-but-surely-are-after-lawyers-vetted-the-script anecdotes (when Purdue keeps bumping up the dosage of Oxy, the pill goes from round to oblong because the 160 for 160 mg won’t fit on a round pill).

Keaton is terrific throughout but particularly in later episodes.

The truth is about to unfold. #DopesickHulu premieres October 13. pic.twitter.com/EfsJ7PQoke

— Dopesick On Hulu (@DopesickOnHulu) September 15, 2021

Michael Stuhlbarg plays Oxy mastermind Richard Sackler with a creepy moroseness that’s off-putting to the point of seeming contrived. Where’s the mustache for him to twirl? And seven episodes into “Dopesick” and I’ve yet to figure out why the show spends so much time on the home life of Rosario Dawson’s DEA agent.

WQED-TV special

PBS’s “American Masters” debuts a new documentary about the life, work and impact of the world-famous activist in “Becoming Helen Keller” (9 p.m. Oct. 19, WQED-TV) about how the deaf and blind Keller used her celebrity to advocate for social justice.

WQED-TV has created an 11-minute digital short, “Love What You Do: Shy’s Story” (online Oct. 18 at www.wqed.org/shysstory and on TV at 7:30 p.m. that same day), about Pittsburgh pianist and vocalist Shailen “Shy” Abram, who has been blind since birth and is on the autism spectrum. The station will host an advance virtual screening event at 10 a.m. Oct. 18. To join, register at https://bit.ly/3ifQhVh.

Kept/canceled/spun off

HBO Max renewed “The Other Two” for a third season.

Apple TV+ renewed “Foundation” for season two.

Netflix canceled “Dash Lily” after one season.

The upcoming fifth season of FX’s “Better Things” will be its last.

A “WandaVision” spin-off centered on Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) is in development at Disney+.

Netflix ordered “That ‘90s Show,” a spin-off from “That ‘70s Show,” with Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith reprising their roles as Kitty and Red Forman whose granddaughter comes to live with them in Wisconsin for the summer.

Premiere dates

Season two of “Hightown” debuts on Starz at 9 p.m. Sunday. … HBO documentary “Four Hours at the Capitol” (9-10:30 p.m. Oct. 20) chronicles the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. … Season two of “Love Life” streams Oct. 28 on HBO Max. … “Thomas Friends: All Engines Go” debuts on Netflix Oct. 29. … Season 13 of “Doctor Who” debuts Oct. 31 on BBC America. … Animated series “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” debuts at 12 a.m. Nov. 13 on Adult Swim. … “Psych 3: This is Gus” streams Nov. 18 on Peaco*ck. … “The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles” drops on Paramount+ on Nov. 24, the same day season two of “Hanna” rolls out on Amazon. . …A “Nash Bridges” reunion movie starring Don Johnson and Cheech Marin debuts on USA at 9 p.m. Nov. 27. … The sixth and final season of “The Expanse” premieres on Amazon’s Prime Video Dec. 10.

Of local note

Western Pennsylvania native Erika Stanish is now a full-time freelance reporter at KDKA-TV. The 2010 Uniontown High School grad studied communications at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and interned at 970 AM and 105.9 FM. Early career stops included WFMJ-TV in Youngstown and WJAC-TV in Johnstown prior to her most recent stint at KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City from December 2018 to July 2021. … KDKA’s Turkey Fund celebrates 40 years of helping local families – and raising $19 million — when it kicks off Wednesday. Donations can be made at any PNC Bank branch office, by texting KDTURKEY to 50155, by sending a check to KDKA Turkey Fund, P.O. Box Thanks, Pittsburgh PA 15230 or by donating online at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/turfun. … The latest Mister Rogers statue will be unveiled at his alma mater, Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., on Oct. 28.

You can reach TV writer Rob Owen at rowen@triblive.com or 412-380-8559. Follow Rob on Twitter or Facebook. Ask TV questions by email or phone. Please include your first name and location.

You can reach TV writer Rob Owen at rowen@triblive.com or 412-380-8559. Follow @RobOwenTV on Threads, X, Bluesky and Facebook. Ask TV questions by email or phone. Please include your first name and location.

TV Talk: 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,' other 'Peanuts' specials back on PBS this year (2024)
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