TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “How the Grinch
Stole Christmas,” 8 p.m., ABC.
For ABC, today brings pure Americana –
a parade, basketball and then a cartoon classic.
That's the great “Grinch.” It
started with Dr. Seuss' funny-yet-warm story, then was brilliantly
animated by Chuck Jones;.he hired Boris Karloff to narrate, Thurl
Ravenscroft to sing and June Foray as Cindy Lou Who. A masterpiece
had the voices of Frankenstein's monster, Tony the Tiger and Rocky
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Leverage,”
10 p.m., TNT.
At its best, this drama has been smart,
passionate and relentless. Bitter about the insurance company that
let his son die, Nate (Timothy Hutton) has led a clever crew to cheat
At its worst, the plots gets
far-fetched. Still, we'd bet this is one of the good ones. Producers
assume it will be the final new hour after a five-year run; they've
scheduled what can function as the finale, with going back to the
people who doomed his son.
TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE: “Christmas Day
Parade,” 10 a.m. to noon, ABC (check local listings).
For 29 years, this special has offered
an upbeat backdrop for post-Santa families. Cheery parade scenes are
sandwiched between pre-recorded music numbers.
Two of the top country acts (Lady
Antebellum and Brad Paisley) perform, plus Christian-music people
(Yolanda Adams, TobyMac) and lots of pop people.There's Colbie
Caillat, the Backstreet Boys, “American Idol” winner Phillip
Phillips and “Austin & Ally” star Ross Lynch.
Other choices include:
– Jim Carrey overload. Carrey starts
and ends this holiday as two of its most famous villains. That's in
“A Christmas Carol” (2009) at 7 a.m. on ABC Family and “How the
Grinch Stole Christmas” movie (2000), at 9 p.m. on ABC. In between?
“Carol” reruns at 5 p.m. on ABC Family; also, Carrey voices the
title role in “Horton Hears a Who” 2008, at 8 p.m. on NBC.
– More movies, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.,
ABC Family. The final day of “25 Days of Christmas” has Tim
Allen's “Santa Clause” trilogy at 11 a.m. (1994) 1 p.m. (2002)
and 3 p.m. (2006). That's followed by; Carrey's “Carol” at 5
p.m., “Home Alone” (1990) at 7 p.m. and “ChristmasVacation”
(1989) at 9.
– Basketball, all day. By switching
channels, the obsessed can catch five games with the NBA's top teams.
ESPN has Celtics-Nets at noon, Rockets-Bulls at 8 p.m. and
Nuggets-Clippers at 10:30. ABC has Knicks-Lakers at 3 p.m. and
Thunder-Heat (which sounds like a weather warning) at 5:30.
– “New Girl,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. The
first two reruns involve Schmidt's office party and a holiday-party
overload. The third has Schmidt on strike from chores; in the fourth,
Jess faces a school bully.
– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun
from last December, the team races on Christmas Eve to find and
protect the pregnant woman whose companion, a Navy captain, was
– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. This rerun has two imposing and important tasks: Sam seeks a
tough-to-find Christmas gift for his daughter; the team seeks a
device that could destroy Los Angeles.
– “Vegas,” 10 p.m., CBS. This
starts an arc of episodes with a Chicago mobster (Jonathan Banks of
“Breaking Bad”) who gives Savino (Michael Chiklis) fresh fears.
– “Blake Shelton's Not-So-Family
Christmas,” 10 p.m., NBC. This rerun links Shelton with strong
female voices – Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Reba McEntire
and his wife, Miranda Lambert.