TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Chuck,” 8
On its best days – which are frequent
– “Chuck” is a zesty brew of action, humor and humanity. This
terrific episode is a prime example, catching all the pieces of
At the core, he's a nerd from the Buy
More store. He and his friends fight a fierce computer virus.
Still, he's also married to a sleek and
sexy spy; she's held captive and has trouble fighting her way out.
And he's a good brother, determined to give his sister's family a
TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Shrek the
Halls” etc., 8 p.m., ABC.
The “Shrek” special is so-so, but
it starts a string of four animated shows, most of them quite good.
At 8:30 is “Phineas and Ferb
Christmas Vacation,” a shortened version of an excellent Disney
Channel special; with Dr. Doofenshmirtz wielding his naughty-inator.
At 9 is “Prop & Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice,” a fun tale of a
hacker getting Santa's list. And at 9:30 is “Kung Fu Panda Holiday
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Take”
finale, 9 p.m., Encore.
We hated the first half of this
four-week series, filled with brutal and random violence by Freddie,
an ex-con. Still, that set up this fierce finale, which is well-made.
Ruling a crime operation from prison,
Ozzy put Jimmy (Freddie's cousin) in charge. Freddie fumed and raped
Jimmy's wife Maggie; she hasn't told anyone that young Jimmy was
sired by Freddie.
Last week ended with Freddie's jealous
son suffocating young Jimmy. Tonight starts there and builds. Its
plot may be too close to “The Godfather,” but there are brilliant
performances – especially from Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley (who
became engaged in real life) as Freddie and Maggie.
Other choices include:
– “The “Bee Movie” (2007), 7
and 9 p.m., Bravo. Jerry Seinfeld co-wrote this fairly entertaining,
animated film. He stars as a bee whose ambitions go beyond the hive.
– “Olive, the Other Reindeer” and
“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” 8 and 9 p.m., CW. Yes, it's
a crowded animation night. It's lucky that kids know how to run VCR's
– “A Gifted Man,” 8 p.m., CBS.
This rerun introduced Rachelle Lefevre as the new clinic director.
Michael hires her; he also does emergency surgery, without having
time for an exact diagnosis.
– “Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me!”
8 p.m., BBC America. This National Public Radio series is ostensibly
a quiz show, but mostly a launching point for clever people. Now BBC
America has financed a year-end special for TV (also running this
weekend on radio). Host Peter Sagal has Alonzo Bodden (the witty
“Last Comic Standing” champ) and Paula Poundstone; as a nod to
the BBC, he also has Nick Hancock and several questions about British
news. The result is sometimes hilarious
– “Fringe,” 9 p.m., Fox. In a
rerun, two bullies are dead and decomposing quickly.
– “CSI: NY,” 9 p.m., CBS. Some
shows try for sweet holiday episodes; this one has a department-store
manager killed and put in his own window display. It's a rerun of the
150th episode, last December.
– “A Christmas Carol” (1999),
9-11 p.m., TNT. A superb Scrooge (Patrick Stewart) leads a strong
– “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS. In
a rerun, an undercover agent was shot after infiltrating a terrorist
cell. Frank (Tom Selleck) feels the only cop he can trust in the
situation is his son (Donnie Wahlberg).