Archive for Thursday, December 24, 2009

It looks a lot like Christmas on TV

December 24, 2009


We’ve finally arrived at that marvelous time when I feel compelled by the spirit to write listings in rhyme.

Not every show or series fits my rhythmic parameters. It’s hard to cram “Disney Prep & Landing” (7 p.m., ABC) into iambic pentameter.

Some shows are repeated, following traditions quite solemn, so forgive me, dear readers, if I borrow from earlier columns.

In “It’s a Wonderful Life” (7 p.m., NBC), George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) imagines he’s never been born. That’s the dark, existential gist of this Frank Capra corn. He screams at his kids and gives his wife (Donna Reed) a good fright. But he also sings “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight.”

TBS is so certain of “A Christmas Story” (7 p.m., TBS) and its enchanting powers that it’s broadcasting nothing but for 24 hours. If you’ve never had the pleasure, you should give it a good try out. It’s a movie about a kid, a BB-gun and the folks who say, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

If you don’t think your holiday spirit could get any higher, you could always spend “Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

Not every Christmas movie has memorable things to say, but “Fred Claus” (7 p.m., Cinemax) seems a role Vince Vaughn was destined to play.

And while Tim Allen was funny as Santa way back in 1994, by the time of “Santa Claus 3” (7 p.m., Disney) it was funny no more.

If a marathon of “Deadliest Catch” (8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Discovery) proves a little too scary, there’s always “White Christmas” (7 p.m., AMC), starring George Clooney’s crooning aunt Rosemary.

In “Evan Almighty” (7 p.m., E!), Morgan Freeman plays God, a most powerful fella. Clint Eastwood recently cast him as Nelson Mandela. And Steve Carell plays Noah, without his “Office”-like bombast. After stinkers like “Evan,” it’s no wonder NBC-Universal was peddled to Comcast!

And while Donner and Blitzen are doing their prancing, drop in on the Catskills and all that “Dirty Dancing” (7 p.m., TV Guide).

It will take more than a critic to start to explain why so many Hallmark Christmas movies (11 a.m. through 11 a.m. Friday) feature Dean Cain.

For a soul-crushing break from Santas and saviors, there’s always “Jersey Shore” (8 p.m., MTV), showcasing repulsive behavior!

A lawyer holds a man’s fate in his leather valise on “CSI: NY” (7 p.m., CBS), the one with Gary Sinise.

“American Story” (7 p.m., MSNBC) salutes generous neighbors who think of their fellow man, and airs in the place of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”

Hawaii meets SMU with victory as their goal in a postseason contest called the Hawaii Bowl (7 p.m., ESPN).

I’ve run out of room if not out of rhyme and wish you the best at this holiday time. I hope the big day brings a heapin’ helping of hospitality. And let’s dare to dream that the New Year brings us better TV!

Tonight’s other highlights

• An undercover agent winds up dead on “CSI” (8 p.m., CBS).

• Traditions give way on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).

• A protected witness becomes a target on “The Mentalist” (9 p.m., CBS).

• A promotion and move throw several families into turmoil in the delightful “Gavin & Stacy Christmas Special” (9 p.m., BBC America). This smart and engaging comedy returns to BBC America next spring.


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