“A Heavenly Christmas,” 8 p.m., Hallmark; Hallmark Movies &
Mysteries. Back in 1951, “Hallmark Hall of Fame” was launched
with high ambitions. An original mini-opera (“Amahl and the Night
Visitors”) was first; then came three Shakespearean plays, followed
by Lewis Carroll abnd George Bernard Shaw; TV used to be like.
Over the last 65
years, the “Hall” subjects have become less British and more
accessible; still, the lush production values have continued, winning
81 Emmys. This newest film has Shirley MacLaine trying to convert a
self-centered woman (Kristin Davis) into a guardian angel for a dad
II: “Robbie the Reindeer” and its sequel, 8 and 8:30 p.m., CBS.
Sure, a lot of shows
(including “Hallmark Hall of Fame”) have squeezed out the British
touches. Still, let's not take that too far: “Robbie” started as
a delightfully droll and dry cartoon for English TV. When it moved to
the U.S., those voices were stripped out and Americans were inserted.
The token Englishman
is Hugh Grant as the evil Blitzen. In the opener, he tries to stop
Robbie (Ben Stiller) from joining Santa's sleigh; in the sequel, he
wants to start a reindeer theme park. Other voices include Britney
Spears, Jim Belushi, Brad Garrett, Leah Remini, James Woods and Jerry
ALTERNATIVE: “Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency,” 9 p.m.,
Now for British
whimsy at its extreme. Yes, this was filmed in Canada, with an
American star (Elijah Wood); but at the core are novels by the
bizarrely brilliant Douglas Adams (“Hitchhiker's Guide”).
The good news is
that this has just been renewed for next season. The bad is that
tonight has a dark, stark episode. Dirk has found the machine
everyone covets, but Todd (Wood) must confess to his sister: He faked
an illness and drained the family's money ... leaving nothing, now
that she has a real illness.
(2003), 6 and 9 p.m., E. Here's another clever British writer
(Richard Curtis), linking (barely) some charming Christmastime tales.
Other movies deliver great action – the second and third Indiana
Jones” movies (1984 and 1989) at 5:29 and 8:05 p.m. on Syfy – and
Dustin Hoffman's best work, with “Tootsie” (1982) and “Rain
Man” (1988), at 8 and 10:15 p.m. ET on Turner Classic Movies.
Christmas,” 7 p.m., UP, rerunning at 9. This is the second in the
cable channel's string of three straight new holiday films. An
injured figure-skating champion is sent to a snowy rehab retreat. As
you may have assumed, she meets a handsome local guy there.
Football, 7:30 p.m.
ET Fox and 8 p.m. ABC. These could both be good match-ups: Fox has
Utah (ranked No. 12) at Colorado (No. 10); ABC has Florida (No. 23)
at Florida State (No. 17). There's much more on cable, includiing
Clemson (No. 4) hosting South Carolina, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Show,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. Here's a quick rerun of Thursday's event.
movies, 8 p.m., cable. TV One has “The Christmas Swap,” with
Dondre Whitfield as a single dad who scuttled his dreams to care for
his mother. Lifetime has “All I Want for Christmas”; told she
doesn't understand people, a young woman is given a pin that lets her
hear their thoughts.
“The Story of
Santa Claus,” 9-10 p.m., CBS. It's the 20th anniversary
for this cartoon, which has an elderly toymaker and his wife (Ed
Asner and Betty White) deciding to give away the toys.
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. After a long string of new episodes, here's
a rerun. Donald Trump won't be tempted to start any new Twitter