TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “A Charlie Brown
Christmas,” 8 p.m., ABC.
An odd thing happened back in 1965:
Everyone was in a hurry. There wasn't time for network supervision;
there wasn't time to make it bland.
Rushing to meet a Christmas deadline,
producers could break all the rules. They had kid actors … and
simple animation ….and a spare, jazzy score … and even a bit of
Yes, a Christmas show actually
mentioned (albeit briefly) the first Christmas. Simple and
passionate, this is a classic. Rounding out the hour is the
seven-minute “Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa.”
TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Christmas in
Rockefeller Center,” 8 p.m., NBC.
Now for something new and noisy. At the
core is the lighting of the mega-tree, hosted by Al Roker and
Savannah Guthrie; alongside that will be lots of music.
Performers range from Victoria Jackson
and Scotty McCreery, both 19, to Rod Stewart, 66, and Tony Bennett,
86. They include Mariah Carey, CeeLo Green, Trace Adkins, Chris Mann
and Il Volo.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Hour”
season-opener, 9 p.m., BBC America, rerunning at 10:15.
The first season began in 1956.
England's stodgy and stagnant news world energized by a new TV show,
sparked by smart producer Bel (Romola Garai) and intense writer
Freddie (Ben Whishaw).
Now it's1957. Freddie is gone, Bel is
struggling and her anchor Hector (Dominic West) is drinking and
lusting, while ignoring meetings and his rich wife (Ooona Chaplin,
who is Geraldine's daughter, Charlie's granddaughter and Eugene
Into this chaos steps a new news
director and fresh crises involving a crime surge and nuclear scares.
This first hour is packed with surprises, with tougher twists coming
next week. It's a great start.
Other choices include:
– “The X Factor,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.
Last week, two of Britney Spears' teens – Beatrice Miller and Arin
Ray – were ousted. That evens things up, with each judging having
– “Arrow,” 8 p.m., CW. This hour
(which reruns Friday) sets up a logical link – Arrow (Oliver's
alter-ego) and The Huntress. She's new in town and he's smitten;
she's also the daughter of a Mob boss.
– “SNL Christmas,” 9-11 p.m.,
NBC. In a late change, NBC rests two shows (“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit” and “Chicago Fire”) and inserts its
annual collection of “Saturday Night Live” sketches.
– “Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.
There are some hilarious moments on all sides. Cam protests to save a
tree … then gets Mitchell as a reluctant ally. Gloria suffers from
what she calls “pregnancy brain.” Haley, freshly expelled from
college, hesitantly returns to family life.
– “Suburgatory,” 9:31 p.m., ABC.
George's suburban makeover is mocked by his city friends.
– “Nashville,” 10 p.m., ABC. On
one side, Peggy (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) forces Teddy to tell the
truth to his wife Rayna. On the other, Rayna is pressured to work an
event with her nemesis Juliette.
– “Hot in Cleveland”
season-opener, 10 p.m., TV Land. Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli) gets a
public-relations job offer; Elka (Betty White) seeks the upper hand
over Pierre (Regis Philbin).