Archive for Saturday, December 24, 2011

The schedule unwraps traditions and marathons

December 24, 2011


Christmas may be upon us, but Hallmark’s more than 1,300 hours of holiday programming will continue until New Year’s Day and beyond.

Typical of Hallmark’s offerings is the 2006 tearjerker “The Christmas Card” (5 p.m. Saturday), starring John Newton (”Desperate Housewives”). He’s a soldier stationed in Afghanistan who receives an unsigned Christmas card. Moved by the anonymous missive, he hunts down the sender (Alice Evans) after he returns from his tour of duty. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s smitten. Ed Asner and Lois Nettleton co-star.

• Those looking for a less saccharine view of the holiday are likely anticipating the 15th anniversary of the 24-hour marathon of “A Christmas Story” (7 p.m. Saturday to 7 p.m. Sunday, TBS). Are you wondering whatever happened to Peter Billingsley, the child actor who played Ralphie? Over the past three decades, he has continued to act, produce and direct. He directed the romantic comedy “Couples Retreat,” starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. Billingsley’s association with those actors also includes small parts in “Elf” (directed by Favreau) and “Four Christmases,” starring Vaughn and Favreau. It looks like Ralphie has grown up to become a “Swinger.”

Saturday’s highlights

• A spunky novitiate woos a widower away from a baroness in the 1965 musical “The Sound of Music” (6 p.m., ABC).

• A young Natalie Wood stars in the 1947 holiday favorite “Miracle on 34th Street” (7 p.m., TCM).

• “The Nerdist: Year in Review” (8 p.m., BBC America) counts down the year’s geekiest events.

• Two hours of murder on “48 Hours Mystery” (8 p.m., CBS).

• Matt Smith, Russell Kane and the Military Wives Choir appear on the Christmas special episode of “The Graham Norton Show” (9 p.m., BBC America).

• Eugene Mirman, Hannibal Buress, Mo Rocca and Andrea Rosen ponder on “Would You Rather? With Graham Norton” (10 p.m., BBC America).

Cult choice

Judy Garland sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in the 1944 melodrama “Meet Me in St. Louis” (5 p.m. Saturday, TCM), directed by Vincente Minnelli, who married Garland the next year. Tinged with longing and sadness, the song, written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, would be used in other, much darker films, including “The Victors,” ‘‘The Godfather” and “Donnie Brasco.”

Saturday series

A kidnapped girl’s druggy boyfriend becomes a suspect on “Blue Bloods” (7 p.m., CBS) ... A meteorite scrambles technology on “Terra Nova” (7 p.m., Fox).


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