TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Farewell Mr.
Kringle,” 8 and 10 p.m., Hallmark; also, 8 p.m. Sunday.
The standard TV-movie plot has a
skeptic (often a reporter, of course) visit a small town, gradually
being seduced by its holiday quirks.
Hallmark says that happens here, but
not really. Christine Taylor brings such warmth that skepticism
vanishes instantly. She (and we) are instantly charmed by this town
and the man who has been its Santa for 50 years; “Farewell” waits
until the final third of the film to introduce some arbitrary
Still, we have no gripes. Taylor and W.
Morgan Sheppard are perfect as the reporter and the Santa; Kevin
Connor has directed a feel-good movie that really does make us feel
TODAY'S MIGHT-SEE: Football, all day.
On the eve of the bowl-game selections,
we can catch conference championship games.
At 4 p.m. ET, CBS has the SEC, with Auburn
and South Carolina. At 7:45, ESPN has the ACC, with Florida State and
Virginia Tech. At 8, ABC has an Oklahoma-Nebraska collision in the
TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE: “Losing Lennon –
Countdown to Murder,” 8 p.m., CNN; repeats at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.,
then at the same times Sunday.
On one hand, there was zero need for
another film about the tragedy that will have its 30th
anniversary on Wednesday. At times, John King uses language as
overwrought as this documentary's title.
On the other, we admire King's
diligence. He talks to many of the people who were there the day John
Lennon was killed, including a cop, a record producer, a radio man
and a fan. He has a brief interview with Lennon's widow and a longer
one with his elder son. He adds tapes of the assassin and his wife,
plus the reflections of a biographer. He builds an hour that the
world still could have done without.
Other choices include:
– Harry Potter films, 9 a.m. to 11
p.m., ABC Family. Unrelated to the holiday, these epics are inserted
into “25 Days of Christmas.” The first (2001) airs at 9 a.m., the
second (2002) at 12:30 p.m., the third (2004) at 4:30, the fourth
(2005) at 7:30. On Sunday, they start at 7 a..m., leaving room for
– “The Christmas Shoes” (2002)
and “The Christmas Blessing” (2005), 7 and 9 p.m., Lifetime. The
first film – about a boy with a dying mother – feels contrived.
Its sequel – now with that boy grown and a doctor – is quite
good, thanks to Neil Patrick Harris and director Karen Arthur.
– “Evan Almighty” (2007), 8-10
p.m., CBS. God (Morgan Freeman) is back in this sequel, but Jim
Carrey is not. Now Steve Carell is taking orders; a newly elected
congressman, he must build an ark.
– “Celebrity Holiday Homes,” 8
p.m., HGTV. The makeovers – and the designers – vary. Michael
Russo beautifully sweeps Sherri Shepherd's Harlem brownstone back to
the Jazz Age. Brandon Branch brings out the Southern charm of Trisha
Yearwood's Nashville home. Sandra Espinet, alas, sometimes seems more
interested in her own hair and high heels than in Brooke Burke's
– “Sherlock” (2009), 8 p.m., HBO.
There's a great cast (led by Robert Downey Jr.,), but more action
than smarts. At 10:15, the “Boardwalk Empire” rerun sets up
– “Law & Order: Los Angeles,”
9 p.m., NBC. In a rerun, a female pro golfer is murdered and a male
pro golfer becomes a suspect.
– “Law & Order: Special Victims
Unit,” 10 p.m., NBC. In this rerun, Mischa Barton (“The O.C.”)
plays the lone survivor in a series of attacks on young prostitutes.
– “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29
p.m., NBC. Robert De Niro has surprised us with his ability to do
live comedy on “SNL.” Now comes his third time as host; the music
guest is Ditty-Dirty Money.