Happy Birthday! Mazel Tov, Qapla’ and Huzzah! Today the Syfy Channel celebrates two decades of award-winning programming. Launched in September 1992, the then branded Sci-Fi Channel began an original concept of programming and imaginative entertainment specifically for fans of the genre. The channel predominantly aired iconic sci-fi series such as classic “Doctor Who,” “Star Trek: The Original Series,” “Dark Shadows,” and animated series such as “Transformers.” Audiences also enjoyed original programming such as “Sci-fi Buzz” a science fiction, entertainment news show featuring commentaries by Harlan Ellison.
Since then, the channel has evolved into the Syfy we love to hate (completely said with love). Despite negative comments about too much reality television and wrestling, breakthrough dramas such as the reboot of “Battlestar Galactica,” “Haven,” and “Warehouse 13” have gained the respect and praise of science fiction fans across the universe. Syfy has even changed how the audience consumes entertainment with webseries like “Nuclear Family” and the upcoming transmedia experience “Defiance.”
More midseason finales this week and awards season is in full bloom. The television landscape isn’t as bleak as it seems. Each week we’ll countdown the best in sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal television for the viewer with discriminating tastes. Here is this week’s Watchlist for December 10 – 16.
Syfy 20th Anniversary Special (6 p.m., Syfy)
Looking back at 20 years of the Syfy Channel, and a peek ahead at what’s to come. The program showcases a mother lode of memorable clips which look back on the launch, evolution, and future through behind-the-scenes insights of the creative talent themselves. Among the series discussed by their cast and crew are “Alice”; “Alphas”; “Battlestar Galactica”; “Being Human”; “Caprica”; “Defiance”; “Dune”; “Eureka”; “Farscape”; “Haven”; “Lost Girl”; “Neverland”; “Sanctuary”; “Stargate: SG-1”; “Taken”; “Tin Man”; and “Warehouse 13” and more.
The special is narrated by Dean Cain (“Lois and Clark”) and includes interviews with the hosts of the hit unscripted programs “Destination Truth”, “Face Off”, “Ghost Hunters” and “Total Blackout.”
American Country Awards (8 p.m., Fox)
Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth host the third annual fan-voted event in Las Vegas. Performers include Jason Aldean; Lady Antebellum; Dierks Bentley; Luke Bryan; Little Big Town; Rascal Flatts; Kip Moore; and Jake Owen. Appearing: Lauren Alaina; Dustin Lynch; Miranda Lambert; Natasha Bedingfield; Ron White; and rodeo champion Trevor Brazile.
Leverage (10 p.m., TNT)
(“The Corkscrew Job”) The team travels into Oregon wine country to steal a rare bottle of wine as part of their current con.
A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (9 p.m., The CW)
When Gonzo accidentally diverts three letters to Santa, he talks Kermit and his friends into delivering them personally to the North Pole. Guest stars include Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman, Whoopi Goldberg and Jane Krakowski.
19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations (9 a.m., TNT)
Busy Philipps and Taye Diggs reveal the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations. The announcement will be telecast live on cable’s TNT network and webcast live on tntdrama.com and tbs.com websites. The awards will be handed out Jan. 27 at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles.
Arrow (8 p.m., The CW)
(“Year’s End”) Oliver discovers that after he and his father went missing, Moira and Thea stopped celebrating Christmas. Determined to make up for lost time and restore a sense of normalcy to the Queen household, Oliver decides to throw the family a Christmas party. Meanwhile, Tommy asks Laurel to spend Christmas with him but she points out that Christmas was also her sister Sara’s birthday and she needs to be with her father. Tommy suggests changing things up might be the best way for everyone to heal but Laurel isn’t sure her father is ready for that. Meanwhile, Diggle tells Oliver someone is murdering the people on his father’s list with arrows, which sends Oliver off to face his toughest adversary yet.
The Neighbors (8:30 p.m., ABC)
(“Juan of the Dead”) The alien community learns about death when their beloved gardener, Juan, unexpectedly dies. Even though Debbie and Marty try to explain that death is something all humans experience, Larry Bird is determined to solve that problem.
Dark Matters: Twisted But True (9 p.m., Science)
(“Pavlov’s Children, Raining Aliens, Glow Girls”) A Pavlov student repeats this experiment on orphans to prove that they are nothing more than animals. In 2001 red rain falls in India; it seems to be filled with biological cells. A glow in the dark paint used during WWI contains a deadly ingredient.
American Horror Story: Asylum (10 p.m., FX)
(“The Coat Hanger”) The Monsignor takes an unlikely convert under his wing. Lana secures a new piece of evidence that can exonerate Kit. Dr. Arden witnesses a miraculous return.
Deals from the Darkside (10 p.m., Syfy)
(“Harem Belt & Beheading Axe & Pear of Anguish”) Steve continues his quest for objects with a dark and mysterious past in the First Season finale. Rare Asian handcuffs and a Chinese cangue are appraised by an expert. Also, Steve asks a blacksmith to authenticate a 16th-century beheading ax.
Big Bang Theory (8 p.m., CBS)
(“The Santa Simulation”) In the Fall Season finale, the guys plan to play Dungeons and Dragons. The girls are not invited and this causes arguments among them. After playing for some time at the apartment, the girls show up dressed sexily for a girls’ night out and Raj goes with them to the nightclub. After striking out with a woman at the bar, Amy and Raj get to know each other better.
Last Resort (8 p.m., ABC)
(“Blue Water”) Kendal and King lead a rescue attempt in the Fall Season finale. Meanwhile, a Chinese diplomat proposes a deal to Chaplin.
The Vampire Diaries (8 p.m., The CW)
(“O Come, All Ye Faithful”) As a Winter Wonderland-themed party fills the streets of Mystic Falls, Stefan and Caroline find themselves at odds with Tyler over his plans for Klaus and his hybrids. When Caroline proposes a solution to their problem, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) finds a dramatic way to make it clear that she is not on board. Later, Klaus makes a discovery that leads to chaos and violence. Meanwhile, Elena and Damon retreat to the Gilbert Lake House to help Jeremy conquer some dangerous inner demons with the help of Bonnie and Professor Shane (David Alpay), who reveals a piece of ancient history that leaves them all speechless. Zach Roerig also stars in the Fall Season finale.
Beauty and the Beast (9 p.m., The CW)
(“Bridesmaid Up!”) When Catherine’s dad (Rob Stewart) gets remarried, the bride-to-be and her bridesmaids try to find the daughter-of-the-groom a date for the wedding. Uncomfortable with being set up, Cat reluctantly admits that she’s seeing somebody and confides to Vincent that she wishes he could be her date. At the wedding reception, Cat learns about a research grant that Evan received to study the mutant DNA cells found at local crime scenes. When she tells Vincent about Evan’s theory of how the cells are changing to become more animal-like and less human, she encounters an unexpected detour that could change the course of their relationship. Meanwhile, Tess and Joe cross the line romantically despite the fact that Joe is a married man. Fall Season finale.
Person of Interest (9 p.m., CBS)
(“Shadow Box”) As the FBI renews their hunt for Reese in the Fall Season finale, he tries to help a Person of Interest who is the wife of a dead soldier that he knew.
Elementary (10 p.m., CBS)
(“The Leviathan”) When a bank vault that is supposed to be impenetrable is breached, Sherlock is asked to investigate. Sherlock meets Watson’s family and, much to her delight, stands up for her decision to become a sober companion in the Fall Season finale.
Note: At 8 a.m. on Thursday morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announce its nominations for the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards. The ceremony will be telecast live at 8 p.m. Jan. 13 from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Fringe (9 p.m., Fox)
(“Black Blotter”) While Olivia and a recently-recovered Peter investigate a mysterious signal coming from a forest, Walter uses LSD to try and recall his memories of his plan to defeat the Observers.
Ghost Adventures (9 p.m., Travel)
(“Clinically Dead”) The team explores reports of paranormal activity at various hospitals, sanitariums and asylums.
The Dead Files (10 p.m., Travel)
(“Blood in the Bordello”) Steve and Amy investigate a bar in Columbus, Ohio; after hearing reports that an evil entity has attacked the owner’s wife and is scaring the staff.
A Haunting (10 p.m., Destination America)
(“Death’s Door”) The story of a New Mexico woman who escapes a near-death experience only to find herself unable to shake the feeling that a dark force is threatening her.
Haven (10 p.m., Syfy)
(“Reunion”) When a string of bodies leads back to long-buried resentments, the group is unwillingly pulled into a Haven High School Reunion. Adam Copeland (WWE Superstar Edge) and Laura Vandervoort guest star.
R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour (6 p.m., The Hub)
(“The Girl in the Painting”) Becky becomes obsessed with a girl in a painting. She begins to mirror the life and surrounds of the girl that is until strange things happen.
Celebrity Ghost Stories (9 p.m., Biography)
Celebrities recall their paranormal experiences. This episode includes paranormal tales from Tracy Scoggins, Fairuza Balk, Della Reese, and Patrick Muldoon
The Haunting of (10 p.m., Biography)
(“Michael Rapaport”) Michael Rapaport (“Prison Break”) and a long time friend revisit Erasmus High School where dead students once haunted them. Kim communicates with the spirits at the school to relay answers to Michael’s questions.
Dexter (9 p.m., Showtime)
(“Surprise Motherf**ker!”) In the Season Seven finale, LaGuerta is on the verge of exposing Dexter and his killer ways, while he does his best to cover for himself and Debra, and maintain the life he’s created.