“CMA Country Christmas,” 8-10 p.m., ABC.
Each December, TV
re-discovers music. Now there will be at least one special on each of
the next five days; the first one – despite the title – isn't
confined to country.
Menzel performs; so does pop's Lucy Hale and contemporary-Christian
star Michael W. Smith. Rock's Steven Tyler jams with Brad Pasley, a
country guy with a hot guitar. Other country people incluce Carrie
Underwood, Alan Jackson, Jennifer Nettles (who hosts), Hunter Hayes,
LeAnn Rimes, Sara Evans, Brett Eldredge, the Dan + Shay duo and the
Little Big Town group.
II: “Sleepy Hollow,” 9 p.m., Fox.
Each week, this
ambitious show tries to deliver a movie-style look and feel. After
tonight's episode – the 11th straight new one – it
will take a break before new episodes return Jan. 5.
Fox is saying little
about this hour, except that sacrifices will be made and loyalties
will be tested. It follows an 8 p.m. rerun of the lush “Gotham”
pilot, making our TV sets look like movie screens.
ALTERNATIVE: “The Normal Heart” (2014), 8 p.m., HBO; and “The
Last One” (2014), 8:30 p.m., Showtime.
On World AIDS Day,
the two pay-cable giants have films showing the desperate early
efforts to get awareness. For Showtime, that involves the history of
the AIDS quilt, which now has more than 48,000 patches ... a small
sampling of the reported 30 million people who have died from AIDS
HBO reruns the film
it made from a seething, 1985 play. “Normal Heart” suffers from
its character's counter-productive rage, but it's superbly crafted.
It won the best-movie Emmy, with nominations for Mark Ruffalo, Julia
Roberts, Albert Molina, Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer and Joe Mantello.
ALTERNATIVE II: Movies, 6 p.m. to midnight, ABC Family.
Now for something
completely different: Dec. 1 also starts the annual “25 Days of
Christmas” for ABC Family, which stockpiles many of the best
holiday shows. It starts with a dandy triple-feature.
At 6 p.m.,
“Christmas Vacation” (1989) has Chevy Chase as a dad taking it
all to excess; at 10, “The Santa Clause” (1994) has Tim Allen as
a dad suddenly drafted into North Pole duty. In between is “Elf”
(2003) at 8 p.m., with Will Ferrell – suddenly realizing he's not
an elf -- trying the real world. Its great supporting cast includes
Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, James Caan and then-newcomer Zooey Deschanel.
8-10:01 p.m., NBC. The final eight singers perform and viewers vote.
Next week, this edition has its semi-finals, with its final five.
Molly,” 8-10 p.m., CBS. Next week, this show has its delayed
season-opener, bumping the cancelled “The Millers.” First, it
reruns four episodes from last season, starting with guest shots by
Oscar-winners Kathy Bates (as Peggy's childhood friend) and Susan
Sarandon (as Molly's literary hero). At 9 p.m., Molly gets a spot in
a writers' camp; at 9:30, she reluctantly agrees to see a therapist.
Commercials Countdown,” 9 p.m., CW. The network pauses for light
Christmas specials – a cartoon rerun (“Grandma Got Run Over by a
Reindeer”) and this now one. Don't fret; “Jane the Virgin” will
be back on the next two Mondays, before taking a mid-season break.
9 p.m. and midnight, NatGeo Wild. With an ancient fort as the
backdrop, tiger sisters compete for control of a territory. That's
surrounded by big-cat reruns, from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Affairs,” 10 p.m., NBC. The president (Alfre Woodard) gives
Charleston (Katherine Heigl) a near-impossible task: Rescue 21
kidnapped Nigerian girls, with no one knowing the U.S. was there.
p.m., ABC. The star of Castle's favorite 1980s action movie has been