Mystery abounds as Netflix offers up a story of a miracle in “The OA,” and a couple of outlaws abduct a child wanted by religious extremists in “Midnight Special.” And Casey Affleck takes the “Saturday Night Live” stage.
THE OA on Netflix. A young woman who vanished seven years earlier reappears at a hospital with strange scars on her back and no explanation for where she has been. And though she was blind before, she can now see. Brit Marling stars in this mysterious new series with spiritual undertones, which she wrote with its director, Zal Batmanglij — and which has landed from Netflix seemingly out of the blue. “We all died more times than I can count,” she says to the police when they ask about her whereabouts and those she said she existed with.
What’s on TV
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (2016) 8 p.m. on HBO. A pair of heavily armed outlaws (Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton) abduct a boy (Jaeden Lieberher) with a piercing gaze, or so it seems. Soon they’re being hunted by religious extremists and the F.B.I. — and just maybe that kidnapping is actually a rescue. Especially after it turns out that the boy is the godhead of a flock and somehow has access to top-secret government information. Jeff Nichols’s sci-fi thriller is “a heartfelt look at the challenges involved in loving and possibly losing an extraordinary child,” A. O. Scott wrote in The New York Times.
GUITAR GODS MARATHON 1:30 p.m. on AXS TV. Wailing strings from Joe Walsh, the Allman Brothers Band and Eric Clapton who, at 9 p.m., joins his musical hero, J. J. Cale, in “Anyway the Wind Blows,” “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” in a 2007 San Diego concert.
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW: CHRISTMAS MASTERCLASS 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood share their recipes for holiday yummies like stollen, mincemeat streusel, Scottish black bun and Boxing Day pie, the better to use up the leftovers from Christmas dinner.
MILES AHEAD (2016) 9 p.m. on Starz. Don Cheadle brings his portrait of Miles Davis, the jazz trumpeter and composer brought down by drugs and fury, to cable. “Purists may howl, but they’ll also miss the pleasure and point of this playfully impressionistic movie,” Manohla Dargis wrote in The Times.
48 HOURS 10 p.m. on CBS. A day care worker serving a 31-year sentence for the murder of a child under her watch tries to have her conviction overturned after new evidence suggests that a pathologist was not truthful at the trial.
WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954) 10:30 p.m. on AMC. The classic, with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney as crooners in a Vermont inn, set to Irving Berlin’s musical gold. “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947), with David Niven as an Episcopal bishop praying for a new cathedral and Cary Grant as the angel who hears his plea, follows at 1:15 a.m.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE 11:30 p.m. NBC. Casey Affleck, now starring in “Manchester by the Sea,” makes his debut as host; Chance the Rapper is the musical guest.