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TV picks: A ‘Timeless’ farewell, ‘Springsteen on Broadway,’ ‘Vanity Fair’ and more

What's new or noteworthy on television for the week of Dec. 16.

"Timeless" stars Abigail Spencer, Malcolm Barrett (center) and Matt Lanter. The time-travel series will end with a two-hour finale, "The Miracle of Christmas," on Thursday, Dec. 20.
"Timeless" stars Abigail Spencer, Malcolm Barrett (center) and Matt Lanter. The time-travel series will end with a two-hour finale, "The Miracle of Christmas," on Thursday, Dec. 20.Read moreDarren Michaels/Sony/NBC / Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC

Springsteen on Broadway. Didn’t manage to get tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s pricey Broadway run? Me neither. But music critic Dan DeLuca saw it twice and says the Netflix version, which becomes available to subscribers just as the Boss ends his theatrical run this weekend, is a better show than the ones he saw, even if it’s not as exclusive an experience. And if you already have Netflix, you can’t beat the price. Midnight Saturday, Netflix.

Coins for Christmas. Essence Atkins (Marlon) and Stephen Bishop (Being Mary Jane) star in a holiday movie in which Atkins plays a single mother who’s fallen on hard times and goes to work for a former professional football player (Bishop). 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, TV One.

The Year in Memoriam 2018. Robin Roberts hosts a celebration of some of the famous people who died this year, featuring stories told by those who knew them. Philadelphia’s Patti LaBelle will be among those paying tribute to Aretha Franklin. 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, ABC.

Independent Lens: Man on Fire. Film tells the story of Charles Moore, a 79-year-old white Methodist minister who set himself on fire in 2014 in his hometown of Grand Saline, Texas, to protest racism. Why would anyone do something like that? “He felt it was his mission to erase inequality wherever he saw it,” one of his former congregants says in this film of Moore’s passion for social justice on many fronts. “And apparently he felt it was his mission to erase all of it.” Filmmaker Joel Fendelman goes back to Grand Saline, long known to African Americans in the area as a place they weren’t welcome, to see what, if anything, has changed since Moore’s death shined a harsh light on the town. 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, WHYY12.

Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable. She wasn’t always just a wildly popular daytime host. DeGeneres returns to stand-up comedy after 15 years' absence in this special, filmed in Seattle. Tuesday, Dec. 18, Netflix.

Timeless. Fans of the beloved but apparently underwatched time-travel series get to say goodbye in this two-hour finale, “The Miracle of Christmas.” 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, NBC.

Murphy Brown. Season finale jumps ahead to New Year’s Eve. With Murphy’s son, Avery (Jake McDorman), on assignment in Afghanistan, her colleagues try to distract her with an anniversary celebration at Phil’s Bar. Charles Kimbrough makes another guest appearance as the retired Jim Dial, and NBC correspondent (and Penn grad) Andrea Mitchell appears as herself, along with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, CBS.

Vanity Fair. The appearance of Michael Palin as author William Makepeace Thackeray, introducing the latest adaptation of his most famous work to the accompaniment of “All Along the Watchtower,” should be your first indication that this isn’t just another costume drama. Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) stars as that irresistible orphaned schemer, Becky Sharp, striving for what Thackeray insists is not worth having in a spirited, if sometimes anachronistic, adaptation by Gwyneth Hughes (Miss Austen Regrets). Seven-part mini-series is a joint production of Amazon and Britain’s ITV. Friday, Dec. 21, Amazon.