“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 8 p.m., ABC.
Back in 1965, CBS
wanted a “Peanuts” special for Christmas. Time was tight; there
was no chance to meddle and make it bland. Charles Schulz and
director Bill Melendez could create greatness.
They chose a spare
style, with simple artwork and gentle, jazzy piano music. They used
real kids for the voices. They even mocked commercialism and added a
speck of Scripture. The result ranks with “Grinch” as two of TV's
finest moments. A seven-minute “Prep & Landing” rounds out
“25 Days of Christmas” start, 3:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Freeform.
Twenty years ago,
cable's Family Channel launched this holiday tradition. The channel
has changed its name three times, but the concept persists. It has
only one new show this year, but lots of fun reruns.
A few things –
including “Willy Wonka” (1971) at 3:30 – don't have much to do
with Christmas, but most do. Tonight has a cartoon (“The Year
Without a Santa Claus”) at 6, then two entertaining films -- Chevy
Chase's “Christmas Vacation” (1989) at 7:05, Tim Allen's “Santa
Clause” (1994) at 9:15. Also: “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
(1993) at 11:30 p.m., “Rudolph's Shiny New Year” at 12:55 a.m.
NON-ALTERNATIVE: Documentary, cable.
We had suggested “Enlighten Us,” a fascinating documentary that was supposed to make its TV debut at 9 and 10:55 p.m. ET. Alas, CNN is pondering a belated decision to delay it until Saturday.
At least, you can see it then (maybe). And if you get the Ovation channel, try "Picasso: A Museum Reborn" at 7 p.m. It views the re-opening of the Paris museum that owns more than 5,000 Pablo Picasso pieces; an intriguing portrait of the artis will air next Thursday.
“The Legends of
Tomorrow,” 8 p.m., CW. The all-star team is in place now, facing a
fierce opponent. Over the past three nights, The Flash has assembled
Supergirl, Green Arrow and the Legends team, to face the Dominators.
Stein has a plan to stop them ... but is distracted by an abberation
Christmas,” 8-10 p.m., Hallmark. Here's a rerun of Saturday's film
from the prestigious Hallmark Hall of Fame. When a self-centered
woman (Kristin Davis) dies, a mentor (Shirley MacLaine) tries to
teach her to be a guardian angel for a single dad (Eric McCormack).
Indoors,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. Jack has no idea how to help when Eddie,
his one real friend, is going through a divorce. Brooke must step in
as Eddie's interim best friend.
“Mom,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Now that they know that 12-year-old Roscoe is using drugs and
alcohol, the women (both recovering addicts) take opposite
approaches. Christy, his mom, is overprotective; Bonnie, his
grandmother, is in the unfamiliar position of being the calm one.
American Baking Show” season-opener, 9 and 10 p.m., ABC. Based on a
British show – and even borrowing its judge, Mary Berry – this
short-run competition is hosted by Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek
Wedding) and her husband Ian Gomez. Johnny Luzzini judges with Berry.
10 p.m., USA. A blackout brings together Taka and Tess, who havebeen
sharing parts of the same dream. Also, Burton finally learns that the
Woman in Red exists outside his dreams.