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Archive for Friday, December 2, 2011

‘Charlie’ goes on the road; John Walsh returns

December 2, 2011

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A botched family vacation offers fodder for the holiday movie-length special “Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas” (7 p.m., Disney), featuring the cast of the Disney Channel favorite, “Good Luck Charlie.”

An impetuous decision strands mom (Leigh-Allyn Baker) and daughter (Bridgit Mendler) without a plane ticket and miles from their planned Palm Springs vacation. What better excuse for a quickie homage to “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” without the wit or chemistry of John Candy and Steve Martin?

The holiday theme might strike some as a tad tenuous at best. Like many Disney offerings, “Charlie” doesn’t need Christmas as an excuse to be loud, bright and aggressively cheerful.

• Television legend John Walsh is back on a different night and network as “America’s Most Wanted” (8 p.m., Lifetime) returns to the regular schedule. Since its debut on the fledgling Fox Network back in 1988, “Wanted” has contributed to the apprehension of more than 1,100 fugitives in the United States and 30 foreign countries, including 17 on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

• The new series “Starving Secrets With Tracey Gold” (9 p.m., Lifetime) follows. The “Growing Pains” star discusses her battle with eating disorders while helping others who are bulimic or anorexic.

• Mixing ultra-violence and family dynamics, the four-episode British miniseries “The Take” (8 p.m., Encore, TV-MA) is a must for fans of gangster films from “Goodfellas” to “Scarface.” An appreciation of “The Long Good Friday” wouldn’t hurt.

Tom Hardy (”Warrior”) stars as Freddie Jackson, a common criminal released from prison in 1984 and eager to catch up with music, pop culture and everything else he’s missed out on during his stint behind bars. This includes time with his wife and any number of other women, married and single.

His ambition and manic impulsiveness are rather breathtaking as he takes his younger cousin Jimmy (Shaun Evans) along for a very bloody ride. Speaking of “bloody,” “The Take” features the slang and near-incomprehensible accents of London’s East End. It may require some effort to keep up, but Freddie has a brutally effective way of making himself understood.

• “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” (9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., TBS) was the second-most-watched cable series last Friday, next to Discovery’s “Gold Rush.”

Tonight’s other highlights

• The battle for the Republic continues on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (7 p.m., Cartoon Network).

• Ronald Reagan plays a doomed football star and the subject of Pat O’Brien’s “Win one for the Gipper” speech in the 1940 sports biography “Knute Rockne, All American” (7 p.m., TCM).

• Cupid’s arrow lands near Porcupine Creek on “Gold Rush” (8 p.m., Discovery).

• A crook offers sound information on “Blue Bloods” (9 p.m., CBS).

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